You can find all previous chapters under “An Elusive Hero”.
After a quick glance backwards, I saw Seraphina make the movement to conjure a shield in front of us. I had gotten used to see the air shimmering in front of me during dangerous situations. Seraphina however didn’t look exhausted the least bit. She seemed reenergized by the determination to get to Laurenar. The five of us stared at our counterparts silently, before one of the bandits spoke up.
“Hand over your weapons and come with us!”
The woman spoke with conviction and seemed convinced that her words would be enough to keep us from fighting back. Drake just shook his head and Seraphina answered:
“I’m afraid that won’t be possible. Why don’t you just let us pass?”
I felt Michelle tighten her grip on the reins. The air was shimmering before us and I felt strangely safe. My rapier was hanging by my side. I wondered if this would be the first time I actually used it in an actual fight. The bandits seemed to get nervous as they saw the riders who were following us, get closer and closer. They didn’t want to share their prize.
Seraphina looked over to Drake and gave the captain a curt nod. Then she turned to Michelle and smiled. Michelle did not respond in any way. The woman, who had demanded us to follow them, repeated her demand:
“Drop your defenses and follow us.”
Her crossbow was firmly aimed at Seraphina’s head. But the sorceress just looked at her, her hands folded neatly in her lap. I noticed she had let go of the reins and could get knocked off any second now. But she was also murmuring something, barely audible and invisible to anybody more than five feet away. Standing right to her horse, I could feel the ground heating up. I wondered what was going to happen next and it was Drake, who answered the woman next:
“Like we’ve said before. Let us pass and nothing bad will happen.”
The answer didn’t surprise the woman, who kept her crossbow aimed at Seraphina but took a second to check how far our followers had come. That second was all Seraphina needed. In an instant, a line of fire ignited the ground and proceeded to travel towards the barricades with extreme velocity.
One of the figures shouted and they frantically tried to get their crossbow shots off. Three of them managed. The first bolt hit the shield and fell to the ground listlessly, the second one managed to damage it and the third one punctured the shield, but missed Tyler by a meter.
The line of fire had now reached their wooden barricades, which caught fire immediately. Our enemies were struggling with the new events, but two of them had managed to pull out their swords. They stormed towards Tyler and Drake, who jumped of their horses elegantly. Especially Drake, armed with his impressive two swords, parried the first blows almost effortlessly. I didn’t know what to follow as I heard Seraphina panting next to me. She was still commanding the line of fire, which had shot past the barricades and now circled back to the remaining figures, who were reloading their crossbows.
Michelle tried to position our horse behind Seraphina’s shield, but the next round of bolts managed to dissolve the shield, leaving us vulnerable to attacks. With a swift movement, she took her bow of her back and fired an arrow towards the woman who had spoken. Without watching if her shot had connected she looked over to Tyler and Drake, who were locked in a battle with the two swordsmen. Their attackers moved in-sync and were trained in fighting as a team, making it difficult for my friends to defend themselves. Drake tried to attack them, bringing his left sword down in a swerving motion, only to be parried time and time again.
The smell of burnt wood now filled the air. The sounds of battle masked the approaching steps. The next round of bolts was fired and this time the attackers finally hit. Michelle was knocked back by the hit and I fell off our horse with her. I cushioned my fall with my hands and immediately screamed in pain as my shoulder injury wasn’t ready for the impact the fall caused. But I ignored it. I scrambled to Michelle immediately to see that the bolt had hit the heavily armored part of her clothing. But her fall had knocked her out. I pulled out my rapier and surveyed the situation, which did not look great.
Seraphina was still commanding her fire, but it has already lost a considerate amount of speed compared to the initial attack. The flames had defeated two of the foes. But on the other side, Tyler was standing behind Drake after being disarmed. Fighting against the two swordsmen, the former captain was overmatched, even though he managed to land a few blows. I turned to see our followers closing in on us.
A loud cry forced me to focus on the fighting again. Attacking from both sides, the two swordsmen danced around Tyler and Drake. Just as one of them wanted to attack, Tyler broke out of his defensive position to land a devastating punch knocking his opponent out cleanly. Seeing his companion fall however enraged the fighter still standing. With furious attacks he evaded Drakes blows, striking the captain in the side before finally puncturing his armor. Drake dropped his swords and fell to his knees.
Before I could react, I looked to my left so see Seraphina’s horse take off in a wild gallop. The sorceress was slumped over the animal, clutching its reins tightly. But it was clear she had exhausted herself and was in no position to do anymore. The horse jumped over the burning barricade and the startled woman. It didn’t look back.
With Drake and Michelle injured and Tyler disarmed, the only person left standing was I.
My rapier was sitting in my hand uselessly. I stared at it and stared at the two opponents still standing before me. Just as I decided to go out with a bang, a voice from the back stopped my movements:
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Our followers, three of them all clad in the grey armor we had seen at the Lion’s den and on the Island, had finally caught up to us.
“You’ll need to come with us.”
I stared at the person, a young man with dark hair and clean-shaven face. Bushy eyebrows framed his green eyes and an arrogant smirk appeared as he saw my surrender. Seraphina was gone, my friends hurt, Laurenar taken and I was completely lost.
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