|The Ancient Prophecy
Pt. XIa: Waltz with the Demon's Pet 1
by Viper ©
was split into 8 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
"Two battalions of my handpicked Goblin warriors I've personally trained for six months, and you've just wasted them all in fifteen minutes!!" The Dark Lord howled. "What a feat!!"
"Forgive me, my Master, but my plot is working!" The woman claimed.
"Your failed plot is working! I should think twice before trusting you to plan the next move!"
The sound of the howling woman from below was heard. The Goblins were certainly toying with the latest prisoner, torturing and raping her. The scream reminded her of her own safety if she failed again. This time she had gone too far.
"No, Master, please give me one more chance! I promise you won't be disappointed!"
"I'd better not." He answered coldly. "Your petty life depends on it."
"All right, people, this is what we're going to do!" Atrus barked. "Aurelia and Holgreb, you're going to patrol around the area with Agar! Report any sightings you can find, but don't fight Kastor! Retreat if you encounter it. Got that?!"
"No problem!" The Dwarf and Elf chorused.
"Lynn and Calem, get the rest of the villagers and move them to the shrine!" He said. "And Lynn, go on and set your wings free!"
"Yes, O Prophet of the Guardian!" She winked.
"And the last thing..." He turned to the crowds behind him. "I want you all to build emergency fortification around this shrine! Cut trees and make walls! I want this shrine fortified by noon!" Then he turned to the new guy. "Sir Falstoff, could you supervise this?"
He blinked. "You want me to supervise?"
"Can you do it?!" Atrus said impatiently.
He hesitated, then smiled. "Sure."
"Good! We're counting on you. Let's go people! Let's move!"
The crowds dispersed immediately. The Elf summoned Agar, the great gold dragon, and another lesser dragon for Holgreb. They climbed their mounts and lifted off. Calem and Lynn were gone already, using dimension portal to travel to the city. Falstoff began to round the men and led them to the nearby forest. Everything went well... for now.
"What should I do, Master?" Maya asked.
"Make lunch." He answered. "Tons of them. These people will be starving after the work. Ask the priestesses in the shrine to help you as well." The girl bowed, then left.
"Come, Anna." Atrus said to his companion. "We'll have a serious talk with your mother."
The priestess nodded and followed him inside the shrine and along the winding hallways to the high priestess' room. Priestesses and civilians ran wildly along the hallways, either looking for refuge or helping with the operation outside. Atrus quickly found the auditorium and proceeded to the door. The door, however, opened slowly before he could knock. The high priestess was there, smiling at him.
"Atrus, Adriana, please come in." She said softly.
The two entered the bedroom, with Anna closing the door. Atrus stood nervously in the room. He knew, from her eyes, that the high priestess knew what he was trying to say.
"I suppose you know what I want to ask." He said gravely.
"Atrus!" Anna warned, but the high priestess ignored her.
She smiled. "Which one, Atrus?"
"The island." He replied. "The dragon mentioned about the island. Do you know anything about this?"
"And what makes you think I know the answer?"
He thought for a while before answering. "They don't make you the high priestess for nothing."
She nodded. "I suppose the time has come, indeed. The time is near."
"What do you mean?"
"The Champion of the Guardian is near." She said seriously. "Northeast of this continent, near the land of the Mages, there was a lone island in the middle of the sea, the Paradise Island, the island of the Gods."
"The island of the Gods?" Anna frowned.
"The legend claims that the island was once the link to the Paradise. The island, however, was unreachable from the land, since it was surrounded by constant storm of the Northern Sea. A lone wizard was also rumored to be guarding the island for centuries, keeping an impenetrable force field over the island."
He frowned. "Then what's so special about the rumor?"
"The island is the final resting place for the Sword of Faith, the weapon of the Gods. Those weapons will aid the future Champion of the Guardian in defeating evil. Even you don't know who the particular person might be, the Island of Paradise is his final destination."
"That's why Kastor the dragon is guarding it." Anna muttered. "If he can't penetrate the force field, he will prevent the Champion to do the same."
"And if the Champion fails to fulfill his destiny, all will be lost." Atrus added. "Is there any chance for commoners to enter the island?"
"The wizard of the island is a servant of the Gods. He will admit only those affiliated to the Champion. The only way to get there is by magic. If, however, a wrong person enters the island, the force field will devour him to dust."
"Quite a risk." Atrus claimed. "We have several Warriors of the Guardian. They might be able to get inside."
"I must warn you, Atrus, although the wizard would probably do the same. Do not touch ANYTHING!" The high priestess said. "The Sword of Faith is the weapon of the Gods. The legend says that only a person with divine heritage could touch it. If mortals, even the Warriors of the Guardian, touch it, the person will be burnt to dust. The sword itself was jammed to stone acting as a seal of destiny. Only the Champion can pull it out, and he can do that only if all of the Warriors of the Guardian are present."
Atrus looked at Anna nervously. "We're short of one person..."
"But we can't waste anymore time!" Anna insisted. "If we don't act now..."
She paused when she saw the wince in her mother's face. "Mother, what's wrong?"
"A powerful force of evil..." She said silently. "It's here and near, in this shrine."
Atrus frowned. "Could it be it's the one that collapsed the magic barrier yesterday?" He turned to Anna. "You can clear your name!"
"Mother, please let me look for it!" Anna pleaded.
"Then go! Take Atrus with you." The high priestess nodded.
The two quickly headed toward the door.
Anna stopped just before the door and looked back at her mother.
"Please be careful." The high priestess said.
Anna was quite startled by the kind words and nodded. "I will, mother."
And they left the room.
"Be very careful..."
Maya sighed again; her hand tirelessly mixed the soup in the cauldron. The strong scent of the soup invited murmurs from the crowds around her. She shook her head. All the questions in her head were clear now.
Fifteen minutes ago she had come to the kitchen, asking for help to make lunch for the volunteers working outside. Fifteen minutes later, she was holding a lecture for the priestesses of Lycra in how to make simple cream vegetable soup. She couldn't believe it. That really made her mistress' image better in her mind. At least Mistress Anna can cut potatoes without trembling...
"So let me get this straight..." One priestess asked for the sixth time. "You put the spices in after you cut the... uh... leaf-thing?"
"No, you put the cut spices in after you put the rest of the vegetables in." Maya growled. "And it's celery, not leaf-thing."
"And it's two cups of salt and three spoonful of milk, right?"
"No, it's two cups of milk and three spoonful of salt. And you remember to use full cream milk, don't you?"
"Oh, of course I remember!"
I doubt it...
Suddenly all her senses snapped into attention. What was that?! She thought she heard a scream from somewhere outside the kitchen.
"Did you hear that scream?" She asked.
"I don't think so..." The priestess said. "If it is, Sister Ursula is gathering the people in the sanctuary. Some of them are probably crying from grief."
Another scream was heard. It was very faint, but her involvement in Atrus' cause had granted her part of his talent. The same talent also told her that the scream was in distress.
"I don't care, but I'm going to check." Maya walked to the counter and picked her combat belt. "Anybody wants to join me?"
"But the soup...! Who's taking care of the soup?!"
"Keep on mixing!" Maya growled. "You can't screw up. Not at this point."
"B...but... how if it explodes?!"
"Oh, that's a good tip." Maya said when she reached the door. "Stay away from the oil."
"Ah!" The priestess nodded as Maya disappeared. "Wait a minute... which oil?!"
Falstoff drew his sword. The dark metal emitted strong magical energy. Even years after mastering the blade, he still couldn't understand the magic beneath the surface of the sword. Then again, he didn't care as long as it did its purpose. He eyed the tree before him carefully. He didn't really need to do that, but dozens of eyes were staring at him right now. The tree trunk was small, but firm enough, perfect for making barrier walls. He raised his sword and made a quick, diagonal cut across the trunk, cutting it in half and leaving a sharp tip on the upper part. The tree fell down and crashed on the ground.
He turned back and faced the crowds behind him. "That's how you do it! Any questions?!"
The crowds murmured to each other, but no one said no. Most of them were swinging their swords experimentally. He sighed. He couldn't believe these people didn't know how to use a sword, except for the ones used to cut the fish. Then again, they're fishermen, not soldiers.
"So we'll pick the logs and place them around the shrine, with the sharp tip facing outside. That should provide enough protection until help arrives." He continued.
The crowd's eyes lighted up at the mention of the coming help. They were refugees, weary and worn out by the war. They could use some encouragement that they would survive the war after all.
"Well, get started, people! We haven't got all day!" He barked. "And be careful with them!"
The crowds began to pick their trees and started cutting. It didn't work quite well, but they were learning. Falstoff could only saw three actual saws among the tools. Again he sighed. The town of Tymm was a coastal town, but they didn't make their own boats. The shipyards were located in other cities to the east, now probably lying in ruins. Using swords, especially curved swords to cut trees was a stupid idea, but it had to be done. I can't betray the trust my friends have put in me...
He couldn't remember the last time he felt like this. He'd never felt secure among his friends before. He'd always been a loner, capable of dealing with anything himself. He'd had no friends, no families, no one to rely on. Now he knew how good it felt to know someone was relying on him. He grinned at the thought of her. Lynn had showed it all to him. She had pulled him out of his world of isolation. He owed her too much. He had been foolish last night. After the war he would approach her again, and when the time came, she would be his.
But then again, they didn't have forever. He raised his sword and cut the next tree.
Agar extended its wings, making a nice level pass through the air. Aurelia held her hair-band, not willing to lose it. The wind was incredibly strong. She'd heard about the famous stormy Northern Sea, but having lived most of her life in the forest she'd had no idea how bad it could be. Now they were in the middle of the ocean, and the storm could struck anytime now. But Agar flew fearlessly, and she knew that with it she wouldn't need to fear anything...
But the red dragon... They'd been scouting for hours, but there was no sign of Kastor. The initial scout was horrible. They'd flown over the coast, watching one devastated village after another. The villages had been reduced to a field of craters, presumably from the dragon's fire breath. She shook her head. It was too late to mourn for the dead.
A groan for nearby shifted her attention to the accompanying dragon. Holgreb, riding a lesser dragon, was pointing at the horizon. A cluster of dark clouds covered the section of the sky. They'd wandered too far from the city. The choice was clear. She should either resume the search or retreat.
And she'd made the decision. "We're going in!" She cried.
"The storm can hit anytime!" Holgreb replied.
"Then wait for me! I'll just make a short pass near those clouds!"
Agar flew low to avoid strong wind current. The Elf held the dragon's spikes tightly, making sure she wouldn't lose her grip. The ocean wave was strong today that she had to shield her eyes to keep the salt water away. The dragon flew contently, skimming over the water and toward the thick clouds.
Then the attack came. Three massive balls of fire were shot out from beneath the clouds. Agar banked to the side, carrying the screaming Elf as fireballs splashed on the water and exploded seconds later. Another trio fireballs soared, missing the dragon just barely. Agar returned fire with its energy ball, but hitting anything beneath the thick cover of clouds was near impossible.
"No, we can't win! Retreat now!" The Elf said frantically.
Agar made a race away from the clouds, trailed by numerous underwater explosions from the fireballs. Holgreb's lesser dragon was already spitting smaller energy balls to cover their retreat. Aurelia could hear the loud roar from the clouds. But the attack finally ceased as she approached Holgreb's position. She was lucky Kastor didn't pursue her. In fact, they'd been pushing their luck too far.
"We're pulling back!" Aurelia ordered. "Return to the shrine now!"
was split into 8 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Viper.|
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