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Read Legends of Cobalt from the beginning:
Fang and Sword
Nellie got to her feet and smiled at us. The other three children dropped their playthings and followed Nellie.
“Are you here for our mama?” The youngest girl asked.
The four of us spread into a loose line. Phebes stood on my left and Fayaad on my right outside of my peripheral vision. Bucephalus crept up on my extreme right.
“You sissy is sick,” Bucephalus replied. “My friends and I are here to take her to get better.”
“You’re not taking her from us,” A boy on the edge of puberty declared. ‘You won’t let them take her, right big brother?”
“You’ll see her again,” I assured the children. “We want Nellie to be healthy.”
“No! You’re not taking our mama!” A second girl a year or two younger than the boy balled up her fists. “Mama takes care of us. She gives us food and makes sure we’re safe. You’re not taking her.”
“We’ve got other friends who can take care of you until your mama is better.” Phebes’s hand twitched over the hilt of her sword. “I know what it’s like to grow up without anything. If you let us help you and your mama, you can have even more than you do now. Trust us.”
“Are you finished lying to the children yet?” Nellie stepped off the dais. The older two children flanked her and the youngest ran behind a support pillar. “I’m not leaving here with you. I do have an offer for you though. The elf girl and the human can leave.”
Bucephalus unslung his shield. “What about Percy and I? What happens to us with your offer?”
“I kill you where you stand.”
“That won’t happen either.” Phebes pulled her sword free. The ruby gem set in the pommel glowed with an internal fire and the blade quivered in her hand.
Nellie shrugged. “I beat you before, and there were more of you then. Why do you think you can win this time?”
“We know what we’re up against this time.” I drew my sword and angled myself toward Nellie.
Nellie giggled, “You still don’t know.”
Sharp piercing pain drove into my kidney. I screamed in pain and fell to one knee. I used my sword as a crutch to stay on my feet. The pain in my back receded with a wet squelch. Warm blood welled from the wound and ran down the back of my leg.
“Did I do okay, mama?” Fayaad stepped over me. “Weell you make me like my brother and seesters now?”
Nellie lifted Fayaad’s dagger to her lips and licked my blood from the blade. “Kill them, then I’ll think about it.”
Fayaad turned back to me, hunger in his eyes. He raised his dagger to plunge it into my neck. I rolled my weight off my sword and thrust the point toward Fayaad’s legs. My back erupted in pain. The point of my sword sliced through Fayaad’s thigh, missing his femur. Fayaad yelped and lashed toward my throat.
Bucephalus blindsided the assassin with an angry moo. Fayaad bounced across the floor. A hole in his abdomen from Bucephalus’s horns spattered a trail of blood behind him. The two older children jumped at Bucephalus. Phebes rushed in with a wide, backhanded slash. The tip of her sword connected with the girl and cut her from hip to elbow. The girl jumped back and hissed. The boy bunched Phebes with a loud crack. Phebes cried out and thrust her sword into the boy’s chest, missing his heart by a hair’s breadth.
Bucephalus hauled me to my feet and held me there. The pain in my back desperately tried to force me down. “Go after Nellie.” The platinum dragon head pendant around his neck glowed. The river of septic fluid draining from my back slowed, then stopped. “We can take care of the children. You’re the only one who has managed to hurt her. We’ll help you as soon as we can.”
The girl swiped at Bucephalus again with razor-sharp claws. He brought his shield up and the girl’s claws snagged in the wood. Bucephalus unhooked his war hammer with practised ease and swung the hammer into the lithe girl’s ribs.
I sank to my knees. Blood soaked my trousers. I took a deep breath and forced my mind to the beach in my dreams. I remembered the way the sun warmed the sand and the ocean cooled it again. The whisper of the wind in the leaves and the chatter of the animals. The babbling of the cascading waterfall. Radiant warmth bubbled within me. I opened my eyes and jumped to my feet. Glittering wings of light flowed out of my back.
“That won’t save you this time.” Nellie’s nails elongated and sharpened into points. The tips of her fangs glistened as she spoke. Fear danced in her eyes.
Fayaad limped at me as fast as he could. I ducked his first attack and cleaved through both of his legs in one motion. Fayaad screamed as he slid off his kneecaps. My sword at my side, I rocketed into the air.
Nellie screamed and jumped into the air after me. She slashed at me with her claws. I dodged the first strike and parried the second. She stole an opening and buried her fangs in my neck. A pang of necrotic energy flooded my system. Liquor-like warmth coursed through my veins, searing away the icy necrosis. Nellie kicked away and hissed.
I dove at her. My wings pressed to my sides and my sword in front of me like the tip of a lance. The sword punctured Nellie’s chest. She screamed and hissed and wrestled to get the blade free. Light flashed from the edges of her wound. The smell of searing flesh filled my nostrils. Nellie screamed louder as I pushed my sword up to its crossguard. I punched her with my off-hand. Bone cracked beneath my fist. Nellie’s head jerked back. I followed up with a spinning heel kick and yanked my sword free. Nellie fell out of the air and bounced off the floor.
The heavy yew doors at the entrance to the hall exploded off their hinges. Two bear sized wolves bounded across the wreckage.
Nellie jumped back up and slashed me twice across the chest and climbed for my throat. Blood ran down my torso.
I caught her on the edge of my sword. Nellie hissed and tried to get away. Locking my hand around her throat, I hurled her back to the ground. The wolves watched her land and sprinted toward her.
The smaller wolf got to Nellie first. It clamped its jaw around her arm and shoulder. Nellie hissed at the wolf. She buried her claws in the wolf’s side and pulled. The wolf yelped and let go. Nellie hefted the beast over her head and tossed it away before jumping into the air again.
The larger wolf hopped on its hind legs and caught Nellie by the foot. It pulled her back to the ground. Nellie balanced on one leg and battered the wolf’s head, neck and face. It didn’t let go.
I landed behind the vampire and slashed her twice across the back. Nellie screeched and lashed out at me. The wolf tugged her off balance. Her claws scratched down my thigh. She landed on her face. Nellie rolled onto her back. The wolf pounced and clamped onto her throat. Nellie clawed at the wolf, each blow weaker than the last. The power and rage in her eyes faded. I spun my sword into a reverse grip and plunged it through Nellie’s forehead. All emotion ran from her eyes. Her limbs fell still. Nellie’s body shrank away and became mist.
The smaller wolf bounded toward us. Midstep, its body shifted and changed into Olivia. Five angry slash marks dripped blood from her right breast to her left hip. Modesty forgotten, Olivia held up her hands. She chanted a few words in the arcane tongue. Light as bright and warm as the noonday sun on the solstice flowered over my head. The mist recoiled and burned away. Olivia ran two more steps and slumped to her knees.
The story will conclude, December 17th, 2020.
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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)
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