Thursday, September 19

Chapter 7

Lyrist nose was overtaken, by the different fragrances of planted flowers, from daisies, carnations, violets, and roses. Regardless of the rain trying to delude their scent, he could still smell them as plain as day. 

And yet there is one plant, that they should all be weary of. Only ordinary eyes would perceive the plant to be parsley, but in reality, it was much more than that.

"It's a Sleepy Lily; a highly poisonous plant, which causes a person to fall into a fatal sleep. Lyrist explained, "The sleep is harmless, but it looks fatal, because it makes your heart beat very faintly. Most would presume the person is dead, when they're, in fact, alive. The sap is released, whenever a plant is bruised or removed. It may be deposited by direct skin contact, or by the plant itself, having contact with objects or even clothing. Little doses can cause minor effects of sleeping, for basically an hour or two, but in higher doses, it can render someone unconscious for days."

"Are you sure?" Leon questioned, "Why would they have such a dangerous plant in their garden?"

"That I do not know of, but I reassure you, I have seen the likes~ of its kind before." He replied. 

Then out of the corner of his glowing green hue, he noticed a hatch cellar, that's attached to the back of the house. 

Leon followed his gaze and approached the cellar. Then he yanked the door wide open, so both of them could proceed down the stairs until they eventually reached the bottom, where the floor has been left in its natural state; just plain old dirt. And above them, is a dimly lit lantern, hanging from the ceiling, slowly swaying from one side to the other. 

This wasn't any ordinary cellar from what Leon can tell. Since cellars are usually used for storing root crops, squash, and other homegrown produce. But this didn't have any at all actually. Although there were varieties of cutting tools hanging off from the walls.

Lyrist instantly became overwhelmed by a horrible stench. It's an unforgettable smell, that he recognized right away. Clenching his hand tightly over the front of his nose, he looked around, trying to locate the source. 

Leon noticed a shift of change in Lyrist's behavior. "What's the matter?" He asked him. 

"There's something in here and it's rotting." Lyrist exclaimed. 

Then unexpectedly, the door of the cellar, had slammed shut. 

-----

The first hint of any sort of emotion flickered behind Blazerine's eyes. She glanced at Maria, rather dismissively, then focused again on Charles, who came limping her way. 

"Should I poison her next?" Maria asked.

"It's okay, she won't scream, she's not the type, I know her type," Charles said, "She's my type." 

"What do you want?" Blazerine demands. 

"What do I want?" Charles looked briefly up at the ceiling now, "What do I WANT? I wanted you, but that Templar told me, I couldn't have you. Nobody tells me what I can or can't have. I always get what I want!" His voice was mild mannered and almost soft spoken, but there was a venomous undertone that couldn't be shaken.

Blazerine eyes darted across the room, in search for something to defend herself with. Unfortunately, there was none, and Fauna was still out for the count, leaving her with only one option left. She knew the others were outside, near the garden. 

(All, I have to do, is get their attention...) 

Immediately after that thought, she grabbed the back legs of the nightstand and lifted it as high as she could. Then she hurled it, straight through the window, shattering its glass. Panicking, she looked down, trying to find Leon and Lyrist, but they were nowhere in sight. 

A cry escaped her lips, when Charles reached forward and grabbed a handful of hair to yank her backward into him. She fell back against his chest, and there he held her in place, by pressing his staff up against her throat. 

He softly whispered into her ear, "You know, a woman’s heart is like a delicate flower, so beautiful and vulnerable. Anybody can just walk over and PLUCK their little insufficient life away." 

"Let me go!" Blazerine struggled, "You're fucking insane!" 

"No, no, no, my precious little flower. Simmer down, simmer down." Charles couldn't help but let a loose smile spread across his face. 

"Nobody in their right mind would want you!" She disgustedly muttered. 

"WHAT are the odds? My sister told me the exact same thing. You know I would do anything for family, my FAMILY. The first time I killed a man, it was for her. But then, there came a time, when she started asking me to do OTHER things. THINGS that would change a man's heart forever, but NO. It still wasn't enough! No, no, no... Charles had enough, so today, TODAY it was going to be either ME or HER."  He disparagingly said as he stared humorously. 

Suddenly Blazerine kicked the heel of her boot upward, right in between Charles legs, from behind. The second his grip loosen, she launched forward, causing her body to sprawl out on the floor. There she scrambled through the broken shards of glass, trying to climb back to her feet, but it was too wet and slippery, from the onslaught of the rain pouring through the window. 

Just for a mere second, she saw her reflection amongst the shards. Her small body was shivering almost uncontrollably, and her clothes had been soaked through. Then she saw Charles coming from behind, ready to swing his staff.

Quickly she rolled over and raised her arm to embrace against the blow. Although the staff didn't hit its target, instead it hits another, the ruby on the bracelet of falsity. 

Fauna angrily arises from the deadest of sleep, only to reveal a pair of fiery eyes. The appearance of her hair was an aura of red and yellow, as if she was fire itself. It radiated strongly from her. The flames didn't start until she climbed out of bed. 

"Fauna, their attacking Fen - Frederick!" Blazerine shouted. 

Fauna pointed in their direction, then yelled, "Get away from my husband or I'll burn you all to ashes!" 

She was full of rage... and the thought of them harming her husband, fueled her ever so more. Furiously, she leaped forth toward, both Charles and Maria. 

Charles further backed off, but what he did next, not only surprised Blazerine, but Maria. He shoved Maria right to Fauna and fled the scene.

Now within Fauna's rage, she grabbed Maria's face with a vice grip. Slowly the flames spun a rapid burst from her hand, marking her face begin to melt from the deadly temperature that crawled out of her hand. Her facial hair began to sear - caught ablaze but the worst was her very face started to burn and melt from the flames, the pain was too great. Screams of nothing but pure murder could be heard. 

Fauna merely looked at her handy work, while the woman screamed for mercy. Once she felt it was enough to let go, she did. The woman's face was reduced to nothing but a skull. The corpse fell onto the floor. The skull was burnt and charred black, thanks to the flames that erupted from her hand.

Blazerine rushed to Fenix's side to see if he was alright. "Wake up." She said, trying to nudge him awake. 

A crowd of the brothel girls were seen running down the stairs, after witnessing the horrifying scene.

Exiting the room, Fauna began to walk down the stairs slowly. Each step made the old wood burn, creek, and smoke. While the intense fire, she radiated within her cause the wood to catch on fire. This did not disturb her for the fire was her friend and ally. The sight was beautiful yet chaotic. 

Charles catches a glimpse of her through the window. To him it was as if the goddess of chaos herself descended down to protect her friends, but to her enemies, she is the angel of death; who has come down to smite him. As she reached the final step the entire stairs and beyond that was burning on fire, the greedy flames steep further, eating hungrily. 

"I'll be back for my flower, just you wait." He sneered. 

Back upstairs, Blazerine realized there was no way of getting down to the first floor because everything was on fire. Then she looked down at the bracelet of falsity, before pressing down onto the blue sapphire. Right after, a white mystical veil of energy vibrates off her arm and fed Fauna's collar. 

Suddenly Fauna felt sad from killing the woman in cold blood. She never thought she could ever do such a thing, and more so... the tavern was on fire. Why did she have to repeat the past again? Slowly her hair wavers into a watery blue; like the beautiful sea. 

Closing her watery hues half way, an aura of sadness flows from her. Stretching her hands upward and slowly, the water begins to drip down from the ceiling, for what seemed to be any empty void. 

Soon she realized this and thought of even more thoughts, causing the small rain to become a miniature waterfall. The water only stopped flowing, the moment her thoughts did. Then she swung her hand toward the blazing fire and it obeys. With all the sad thoughts overwhelming, she twirled her body and hands, continuing the flow of water while it obeys her every whim. And thus each time, the water swept the flames, until it eventually had put all the fire out. 

Right afterward, she fell to her knees, making the water lose its life as well, by splashing into the floorboards below. 

Leon drew his blade pushed to the side, above where the lock is. He had an idea; he lifts his leg and struck it down like a lightning bolt onto the naked blade like a hammer hitting a nail. The power sent the blade down onto the lock cutting it. He withdrew the blade and kicked the door open. He smirks to congratulate himself that the idea finally worked. Then out they went, only to discover that the Inn is covered in smoke. 

"There's been a fire." Lyrist said. 

Both of them made their way back into the Inn, and found Fauna sitting on the floor, all by herself.

"Stay with her, I'm going to check upstairs." Leon instructed, before struggling to make his way up of what was left of the stairs. 

Leon checked every room he passed, since he had forgotten the one they were in. It took him just minutes to find them. However, what he saw was completely shocking. It wasn't the scorned body, he had avoided stepping on. It was Blazerine... She was standing by the window, and when the lightning struck, it lit up her face, revealing the cold rain slithering down her cheeks, only to be mixed with her own tears.

"I should punch that helmet of yours in." She announced, "You said everything was going to be alright..." Her voice was obviously flustered, although the actions she spoke of, she never did follow through with them. 

Leon immediately assumed the worst, so he removed his helmet, and dropped it to the floor, before he approached any closer. Then without saying a single word, he puts his arms around her. 

She feared that even if she had wanted to move. There was some instinct that went much deeper than that, and it begged her to stay.  These feelings were not only alien to her, but for him as well. She knew she wouldn't be able to continue living with the feeling of utter emptiness, or loneliness this time around. It would break her, and she would never be able to survive this so called life, she has been forced into. 

In the end, it turned out Mary Sue had been butchering her customers, after putting them on the effects of the Sleepy Lily. Blazerine thought there much be a bigger reason behind all of this because people just don't turn randomly towards cannibalism. It's usually a result of some sort of major mental illness. Sometimes religion; like a cult, or maybe it's just a practice of a sexual fetish. 

Leon and Lyrist had found the bones of their victims, that they had kept as souvenirs in the cellar, along with severed heads. Amongst the heads... Gallet was confirmed. For some reason, Leon didn't ever say anything about it to Blazerine. Even when she brought up the fact that they didn't ever find him. He just told her, that it's no longer needed. 

Most of the brothel girls were caught, trying to flee the town. Although the oddest thing was, is Mary Sue was found stabbed to death, and Charles was nowhere to be found. 

-----

The next day; it was finally sunny, and the marketplace was noisy of raucous affairs. Some merchants were standing outside of their shops, yelling to those who pass by about their wares. Blazerine witnessed one of the merchants get fined by a guard, for forcibly trying to grab a hold of somebody who had been just walking nearby. 

The town crier rings a bell and announced, "Leon Shields the Templar from Norman Church has brought the murders of The Mournful Moon Inn to justice! Come tomorrow at dusk to watch them be hung in the gallows for their crimes!"

Every now and then onlookers called out Leon's name, praising him from afar. Gifts were given to him, but Leon refused to take any, but it didn't stop Fauna and Fenix from accepting them for him.  

Fauna finally got some decent attire. An embroidered white dress decorated with tiny beads. Plus a drawstring to adjust the neckline fullness. The waistline has a ribbon that can be tied in either the front or the back of a bow, which also can act as a belt to adjust the size. The Last but not least, a pair of white leather boots. 

Blazerine stopped, only after hearing the familiar noise. From the distance, there was a clanking. The first thought, that struck her mind, was Gallet. Quickly she hurried through the crowd and followed the sound, which led her to a shop. 

The smell of fire and heated metal was instant, the moment she opened the door. Armor, swords, spears and many arms of steel were all over the place. The forge was located towards the back, where, where... Gallet could be crafting.

Momentarily the man lifted his head, when the sound of her footsteps had finally reached his ears.

"Gallet?" She quietly asked. 

"If you're looking for my Master Wallner then I assumed you haven't heard of his recent passing." He replied. 

"Recent passing?" She vacantly repeated. 


"They never found his body." He explained, "Only his head in a pot; well that's what I've heard. Anyway, I'm his apprentice Quintus. If you're here to purchase that rare sword of his, you're going to have to throw a hefty amount of coin my way. Go ahead and take a look at it. It's over there on the shelf."

Blazerine stood there, stunned, watching him clash his hammer, frequently on the banded iron cuirass resting on his work table. Using it to pound the iron bolts that would hold the leather straps in place, the other end of the leather strip would also get the same treatment, and thus the two halves of the cuirass would be one completed suit. 

The leather straps were also easily adjustable, while still sturdy, this way providing the perfect comfort fit for whoever this armor cuirass was for. Every minute, he would put the hammer down, and make sure to check on the iron ingots he had rested in the forge. They were almost ready to be pulled so they could be fashioned into the appropriate pieces.

"You know, it's such a shame." Quintus mentioned, "Gallet showed me a lot, even if it was in such a short time. How crafting is like any other skill. It can be as difficult and complex as you want to make it. For some, it's harder than learning how to walk for the first time. And for other's it's like riding a horse for the millionth time. For Gallet, it came easy. It was like second nature for him, and he had a very passionate skill for it, even at an early age."  

Blazerine wasn't entirely sure why Quintus said the things he did, but it made her feel more upset. If only their paths had never crossed, for none of this would have ever happened. It's her fault, she's the reason why Gallet is dead. 

Shortly her attention was diverted, by somebody who rushed in through the door like a madman. Although he was covered in dirt from head to toe, Quintus recognized him right away. 

"You again?" Quintus sighed, "Chase I told you last time. I'm not taking any petty offers." 

When Chase shoved past Blazerine, she witnessed tears falling from those swollen brown eyes of his, as raced towards the wooden sword, that is mounted on the wall. The moment his hand touched the sword, Quintus yelled for the guards, but Chase paid no mind, and snatched the sword, before he ran out the door. 

Lyrist noticed the commotion up ahead. From what he can tell, a man was fleeing the scene, by pushing and shoving anyone who crossed his path, out of the way.  He knew it wouldn't be wise; to further entangle himself with more human affairs, but this was different. The man was carrying no ordinary wooden sword. 

That's when Blazerine stepped outside the shop and saw Lyrist sprint past.  This caused her eyebrow to rise in mild surprise."Is he going after the guy...?" She quietly asked herself. 

She trekked forward, until she heard, "Precious flower..." Slowly she turned to the direction of the voice, allowing her eyes to dance as they peered through the crowd of onlookers, but she did not see him; Charles. Did she only imagine it? The question probably would have dwelled in her mind for the longest of time, if Fauna and Fenix hadn't approached her. 

"What the hell is the matter with you?" Fenix bellowed, "You didn't hear us yelling for you?" 

He cocked his brow when she didn't respond immediately, opting instead to ignore him. But he couldn't say he was surprised by it. 

"No I guess not." Blazerine shrugged, "Sorry."

"What do you mean sorry?" He kept yelling, "You're wandering around aimlessly like a dead person. So why don't you do all of us a favor by wiping those dark circles out from beneath your eyes and WAKE the hell up!" 

Unbeknownst to Fauna, her hair had turned completely white, while Fenix continued to raise his voice in an angry manner. As he spat a few more words, he soon realized he no longer could be heard. He panicked for a moment, wondering how he lost his voice so suddenly. 

He opened his mouth to speak once more, but the words still wouldn't come. The most he could do is motion towards Blazerine's wrist, signaling her to use the bracelet.

Blazerine looked surpassed him and noticed Fauna's change of hair color. It was the third time this has happened already. Whenever Fenix loses his temper, Fauna has the tendency of stealing his voice away. Although she found it quite funny, it still was something Fauna needed to learn how to control, especially if she accidently does it to somebody else; other than them. Considering... it would be bad to push their luck, since Leon made up some sort of lie, so nobody would be concern about Fauna's hair flipping colors. In this world, a Templar's word is law, even though they enforce religion upon everyone and outlaw magic. But the people here are probably just letting it slide because he put an end to the murderers wraith. Otherwise, we'll probably have to keep it under wraps. 

Blazerine pressed her thumb down against the diamond and watched as the veil of white mystical energy vibrates from the bracelet to feed Fauna's collar. In a matter of seconds, Fauna's hair transforms to a see through color; similar to glass. 

Once Fenix's voice returned, he asked, "Where did that cat run off to anyway?" 

"Lyrist? He's chasing after some guy who stole a sword from the blacksmith." She replied. 

"Why in the hell would he do that?" He wondered, "Well whatever, let's go bring his dumbass back here." 

"What about Leon?" She questioned, "Shouldn't we let him know?" 

"He's busy writing some sort of an apology letter back to his church." He laughed, "We should leave him to it." 

----

Fauna enjoyed going about barefooted. It made her feel more connected with the earth while she trend along the rocky slopes, located south of Ansell Fiore.  She rounded a corner and came to an abrupt halt, when she saw a couple of guards.  

But, unfortunately, the halt was more of a skid, that sent her flying off the side of the path, expanding the transformation of her white hair throughout the air. Down the steeper part of the hill, she tumbled before landing flat on her rump, surrounded in a cloud of dirt. 

Blazerine immediately begins to panic, allowing her irrational thoughts to surface. "Oh god, we literally let the mentally ill go off the edge." 

She swallowed her saliva hard, trying to summon up enough courage to look down at the catastrophe. The second when she does, Fauna appeared to be okay, expect her brightest features had become incredibly dark. 

"My dress... it ripped. " Fauna depressingly muttered as negative waves of pulsing black energy, shot off from her body.

Once she raised her head enough to glimpse back up at them. Both Blazerine and Fenix were surprised by what they saw. Fauna's eyes were nothing but an empty black void. 

Fenix pulled Blazerine a bit further back from the ledge, trying to prevent her from falling too. 

"You okay gal?" Fenix voice shook when he spoke. 

He was feeling far too intimidated by Fauna's new appearance. And he still had his arm around Blazerine protectively, but to her it felt like he was holding on for his own comfort, while he cowers. 

"Do I feel okay?" Fauna pondered, "Not amazing, not great, not best, not good, just okay?" 

"What the hell is she talkin' bout?" Fenix quietly asked Blazerine. 

"How am I suppose to know? Just go down there and get her." Blazerine eagerly insisted once the guards started to approach them. 

"Alright, alright, calm your tits woman!" Fenix said, right before he carefully skidded himself down the ledge until he lands right in front of Fauna.

There he knelt down upon one knee and extended his hand out to her. His actions reminded Fauna of a prince kneeling down in the presence of a princess. She couldn't help but buried her face in her hands. Since the mere thought of it made her feel incredibly shy suddenly. 

Fenix wasn't sure what to think when she vanished completely out of his sight. He knew she was still there, even though she's not visible to the naked eye. The sound of her breathing was the dead giveaway. Slowly he reached further out to see if any physical contact could still be made. He’s not sure what part of her body he had touched, but whatever part he did, made a ripple through the scenery, almost as if he had touched water itself. It was one of the most fascinating things he's ever encountered before. 

(Blazerine; She’s able to camouflage herself. )

"You there!" The guard called out from his chainmail coif. "I recognized you. You're one of the folks traveling with that Templar from Norman, aren't you?"

She bit her lip hesitantly before giving a response. "Yeah..." 

"Well, I'm not quite sure how to put this." He wearily said, "Um - let me think. Okay - let's say a member of your party has followed the thief all the way to that there - that cavern over there." He paused only momentarily to point. "But... there's - there's - a dragon." 

"Dragon?" Blazerine repeated, "You mean that reptilian lizard thing with wings?" She questionably flapped her hands slightly to indicate flight. 

"That be what I said." The guard replied. 

-----

Back at Ansell Fiore;

"Just haul it in the back." The thin cart driver nodded down at Jeryd and pointed to the four barrels in the cart. With a smile and a nod, Jeryd rolled his sleeves up then climbed into the cart, fishing out the two boards he'd need to roll the barrels down to the street. 

Propping each board against the cart, he tipped the first barrel over as the thin man reached the back to help roll them down. 

"We'll get 'em to the street, lad. You get 'em inside," A more stocky man said to Jeryd. 

With another nod, Jeryd took the barrel he had and rolled it down the alley and to the back of the Ironclad. After several knocks, the back door unlatched and swung open. The man at the door pointed to where the barrels would be stood upright and in Jeryd went. As he reached the destination for the barrels, he could begin to hear some sort of commotion coming from the bar room. Alas, Jeryd's curiosity had to be stifled for the moment. There were three barrels to go.

It didn't take long to get the barrels where they needed to go. When offered a few coins for his help, he simply declined and offered to take a handshake instead. With the permission of the man inside, Jeryd passed through the back of the building and soon entered the bar room, where many men were drinking and heartily cheering on whatever performance was working. 'A woman, no doubt,' Jeryd thought with a smile. 

It took him a bit of shifting through the crowd to see what they were all looking at, but when he saw her, he immediately understood why all the men were so excited. Hells, even the serving girls were dancing. 

(Just as I suspected. Quite a gem, too. She's quite a sight, indeed.)

Jeryd failed to find a seat for himself amongst the crowd of men, so he remained standing as he watched the performance with eager eyes, waiting to see what tricks this woman had up her sleeve.

Aniyah had the place jumping with excitement and dancing all eyes were on her and the waitresses twirling around the tables. Aniyah knew she would need a big finale to please this crowd otherwise; they would be left disappointed. Jumping up onto a table she, danced there for a moment, waiting for the right time to jump once more. When she's sure most of the patrons of the bar were aware of her movement, she jumped as high as she could, barely reaching the chandelier above them.

The wooden frame swayed as she locked onto it, and her body swung back and forth. With a twist of her feet, the chandelier spun slowly, not wanting it to go too fast. After all she didn't want the chain to break. Once she was sure she had the right momentum, she let go and twisted her body into a tucking flip. One turn, two, three and four. There she goes, landing on the table, upright with a flourishing end. Then she bowed in reaction of the applause, ignoring the glares of the owner, mentally counting the coins that clinked freely into her metal pan. She would be eating well tonight. 

Jeryd gave a slight applause, before he indirectly looked at the Templar; who is sitting in the furthest corner. He appeared to be rather frustrated as he wrote away on a parchment. 

He knew most people didn't write. Literacy wasn't as astoundingly rare as a lot of people think, most people could read their names and a few simple words, but actually writing letters to people was the exclusive province of the rich and powerful. These were always hand delivered, either by somebody hired to do so or by paying someone who was going to be in the area. 

Genevieve; an elderly woman made her way into the Ironclad slowly. And anybody, who looked at her, could tell she was tired. It was not only visible on her form, but her eyes carried dark circles as well. She scanned the bar in search of the Templar. 

Eventually, Leon could feel there were eyes upon him. Softly he sighed to himself, before taking a long sip of apple cider from his mug. Although he didn't say a single word, regardless of the fact that he's aware of her presence. 

"Excuse me Templar..." Genevieve approached even closer, "My - my boy Chase needs your help." With a shaky hand, she reached into the pocket of her heavy gray cloak and took out five copper coins, which she had laid them neatly let them rest in the palm of her hand. 

Leon reached on over with his gauntlet, only to enclosed her hand shut, concealing the coins she held inside. "I cannot accept your money." He said. "However I can accept your request." 

"A couple days ago my grandson went missing up in those mountains nearby Feyerlun Cavern; a nesting ground for a ferocious dragon." She softly weeps, "My son Chase believes he's still alive, somewhere in that cavern, but nobody was brave enough to search inside with him. 

Every day he went to the blacksmith, begging to use his rare sword against the dragon. The blacksmiths apprentice refused, only wanting a hefty amount of coin. Offer after offer... he was declined, so today he snatched the sword and ran off."  

"He's preparing to fight the dragon himself." Leon thought out loud.

She cupped her unsteady hands around his gauntlet and pleaded, "It's bad enough my grandson is dead. I can accept that, but I cannot accept letting my boy run blindly to his own death." 

"I'll do what I can." Leon reassured her. 

"I gratefully appreciated it. If there's anything I can do for you in return, please let me know." Genevieve offered. 

"There's one thing." Leon said upon gathering his letter. "Do you mind finding somebody to deliver my message back to Norman Church? It's important." 

"Of course!" Genevieve accepted the letter. "If that's the most I can do for you."

Then right away afterward, Leon excused himself before making his departure. 

Left behind, Genevieve stood there, staring at the letter in her hands. It wasn't long until a softly sounded voice crept up. She didn't notice it because she wasn't too great of hearing. Then a hand landed on her shoulder, causing her to jump in surprise. 

"Yes? What?" She turned to ask, "Do you need something?" 

"Do I need something?" Jeryd repeated, "No but I think you do." 

"Well - well I do need to send this letter off to Norman Church." She uttered rather in distraught. 

"Oh really?" He mischievously said, "I can get it there for you safe and sound..." 

----- 

Leon made record time, reaching the rocky slopes by horse. However, he climbed off, once he's within range of his companions. Who appeared to be getting interrogated by three fellow guards of Ansell Fiore. He wasn't quite sure why they were all the way out here. Perhaps they have something to do with the incident? 

Two of the guards in the front crisscross their spears over one another to block their path. They were exchanging small chatter but stopped the moment they saw Leon; the Templar. His very presence was rather imitating for these inexperienced fighters, that don't even know what the true meaning of battle is yet. 

"What's going on?" Leon asked Fenix.

"Lyrist follows some thief into that cavern over there, and these idiots won't let us go in after him." Fenix replied.

The second guard stuttered, "W-we can't let any-anybody pass beyond this point, it's too dangerous!" 

Leon concealed his laughter behind a smile. Luckily for him they couldn't see it through that helmet of his. "You have no authority here, this is out of your district, but if you insist breaking the law." 

Sheer panic erupted throughout their group, when he reached to unsheathe his sword.

The first guard cowardly backed up, while pleading, "Hey-hey there's no need for violence!" 

He was shaking like a leaf, and barely had much grip on his spear now. It made the situation not only dangerous for them, but also for his allies. The guards disburse the second he tripped over his own two feet. 

The third guard looked at his fellow comrades and yelled, "You good for nothings should be ashamed of yourselves; allowing the enemy to know you're afraid! How pathetic... Fortunately, for you he is not our enemy." 

Then he continued to speak, while looking back at Leon. "Look Templar we've chased the thief all the way to this location. And he might as well be good as dead for all we know." 

"Did I ask for your opinion?" Leon sneered, "Go back to where you belong; back in town to uphold justice and secure the town folk's safety." 

"Fine be that way." He said, "I won't stand in the way. If you want to just throw your lives foolishly away. But remember, if by some miraculous miracle you're able to save him. He's still ours to deal with, unless you can return the sword he stole." 

"Tell me something I don't already know." Leon murmured quietly under his breath. 

Blazerine grumbled when one of the guards bumped passed her. It wasn't something she was expecting, and she cursed herself for not paying better attention to her surroundings. Then as soon as she started to follow behind, Leon grabbed her by the back of her trench coat collar, to prevent her from going any further. 

"What!" She whined, "I'm not really much of a dragon kind of person." 

"It's uncertain whether or not the dragon resides inside. So you and Fauna will be our lookouts." He explained. 

The vibrated blond haired Fauna giggled excitedly, "Dragons are almost cute as a piggy being roasted on an open fire! Don't you think?" 

Nobody ever did answer her. Instead, she’s only acknowledged by an oncoming of clueless faces. "W-what isn't she?" She pointed behind them, so they could pass the judgment themselves. 

Once they turned around, all their faces changed into a mismatch of mixed emotions, which include shock and fear. 

She rose, winged salvage and beautiful. Her scaly skin glistens like onyx and cobalt jewels, which had scratches from previous battles. Upon closer inspection, the dragon did, in fact, have jewels embedded in her. What a beautiful creature it was.... beautiful yet deadly. 

She leaned in closer, exposing the saliva dripping hungrily from her mouth, ready for the next course. And those pale intelligent eyes of her were locked right onto them.  

"I never signed up for this shit!" Blazerine cried. 

Leon reacted quickly by throwing his helmet right into the dragon's face, for a temporary distraction. He knows this will give them the opportunity to at least have a head start in the long run. 

Fenix snatched Fauna up into his arms then took off running, while yelling, "Why didn't you tell us it was right there! That's very vital INFORMATION, you know!?" 

Fauna was kicking and screaming, nearly on the verge of tears now. She was whining about wanting to keep the dragon as a pet. 

Blazerine chased after them, bellowing, "How the fuck did that thing sneak up on us anyway!?" 

The dragon was gaining ground way too fast. And Leon knows there's no way they're going to be able to escape its wrath so easily. The idea to lure the dragon away crossed his mind, but it's doubtful... He probably wouldn't even make it that far, especially with his armor weighing him down. The only choice, he had left, was to face the dragon head on. Although its most likely a battle he wouldn't ever win, he's still willingly to sacrifice himself in hopes of giving the others - no his friends a better chance of survivable. 

"Keep moving!" He commanded. 

That's when he turned around, clattering his steel boots against the rocks below, charging straight for the dragon, with his sword unsheathed. But the dragon sunk down low; like a lion would do once its prey has already been captured. And almost in a blink of an eye, she swayed her neck toward one of his legs. 

Once Leon realized it was too late, the dragon swiftly bit right above his knee; where the chainmail had fortunately, still covered his legs. Shockingly, he watched a fang deeply penetrated him. Although he never once cried out in pain, for he felt nothing, because adrenaline was a natural pain killer. 

Instinctively he swung his sword as hard as he could. Successfully he cut the dragon's snout, but it wasn't a deep enough gash to kill or heavily injure it. He watched as the beast angrily roared, releasing a puff of sulfurous smoke from her maw while shaking her head in minor pain, which created a swing of momentum, that took Leon with it. A loud crackling is heard by a large piece of chainmail being ripped away. Although it freed him in the process, he still couldn't let down his guard.  Since this fight was far from over and adrenaline was the only thing keeping him from going limp. Whatever move he planned to make next was going to have to be quick, because he’s losing too much blood. And it won't be long now before he collapses.  




© Tiffany Ann Adkins 2015 - 2019