Macabre Song Part 2

“Get off of me!” Alexa yelled. A severe wind rose, pushing the corpse away from her, but there were many more. Ranging from freshly killed, possibly the team that had come before, to completely skeletal.

Alexa ran over to Katelyn. With a gesture, the skeletons that were clawing against her were pushed back.

“We’re flying,” Alexa said. She grabbed Katelyn and took to the air. “You okay?”

“Just some small cuts,” Katelyn said. “No worries.”

“Still, what power does she have?” Alexa wondered. “To control that many bodies…”

“How should I know?” Katelyn countered. “What, do you wanna ask her? Possibly offer her a sweet to cooperate?”

“If Yuni were over here she’d probably try,” Alexa muttered. “At least we’re safe in the air.”

“You may wanna rethink that,” Katelyn said, pointing downward.

Alexa followed her fingers. The singing girl was fashioning rose petals into crude wings. Her dead army was taking to the air.

“How the hell do the aerodynamics for that work?” Alexa asked.

“Totally not the question to be asking right now,” Katelyn said. “We really need to figure out how to get to the radio.”

“You say that like you have a plan,” Alexa said.

“Well, holy artifacts are supposed to work against the undead so I’ll just use my star of David to stun em,” Katelyn said.

“Not the time for jokes,” Alexa said.

“Just set me down and keep them off of me for thirty seconds,” Katelyn said.

“Roger,” Alexa agreed. She swooped down, maneuvering past the airborne enemies. She set down, immediately hurling winds in all directions to push the zombies back on all sides.

Katelyn gestured towards the radio and it rose from the ground towards her. The girl tried to grab it, Katelyn noticed that some of the dead bodies collapsed momentarily as she did so, but she missed. It flew directly into Katelyn’s waiting hand.

“Sirvanna, get your ass over here, now!” Katelyn called.

You found the perp?” 

“No, I think you got me pregnant. Yes, we found the damn perp!” There was a touch of panic in her voice as she spoke.

On our way. 

“Little help,” Alexa said. Several of the walking corpses had broken through her winds and were grabbing and clawing at her.

Katelyn tried to push them back, a few were thrown a couple metres, but most just stumbled slightly.

“Not as effective as I’d hoped,” Katelyn muttered. “Hey, Alexa.”


“Stop pushing them back for a couple seconds,” Katelyn kept her words low. Then we both push them back as hard as we can.”

“Could work,” Alexa said. “But if it doesn’t…”

“I know,” Katelyn said. “But if we don’t get them back they’re going to get through regardless.”

Alexa’s winds died down. She and Katelyn moved close together while the corpses lumbered closer and closer.

“Now!” Alexa declared.

Katelyn’s telekinesis and Alexa’s winds started up simultaneously. Katelyn watched their young opponent. She was visibly taken aback by their counter-offensive and the corpses were thrown back. The girl’s face contorted as she concentrated. It only took a few seconds for the bodies to get back up and start moving towards them.

Crimson lightning rained into the corpses behind them, shattering several of them to pieces.

In front of them, a beam of bright light cut through several more. They heard a rush of air.

“Yo,” Ines said. “Sorry we’re late.”

“Is… is that child really the enemy?” Yuni asked.

“Yeah,” Katelyn said. “I think she’s using a very powerful kind of psychic ability to make the corpses rise.”

“But… but she’s so little,” Yuni protested. “How could she have… killed so many?”

“My name is Sirvanna Reyes, leader of the special forces Omicron unit!” Sirvanna called. “If you surrender now we’ll take you in quietly. Please, don’t force us to hurt you.”

“I don’t think she speaks English,” Alexa said.

“Por favor, rendirse pacíficamente,” Sirvanna said. “No quiero hacerte daño usted.”

“You tell her, Mi amor,” Ines said.

Los Muertos Los Muertos. The girl sang in a loud, clear voice. Vas a unir con los muertos.

The corpses began moving around them, closing in.

“I take it that wasn’t a surrender,” Katelyn said.

“Nope,” Ines said. “She wants us to join her little crew.”

“I hate to beat up a kid,” Sirvanna said. “But there’s no choice. Yuni, stay down and don’t use your powers for a moment. Ines, Alena, run past the corpses and bring her down.”

“We’ll knock her out with speed and precision,” Ines said.

The two ran, directly past the swarm of animated bodies, knocking some over in their wake. The girl pushed her hands out towards them. Both Ines and Alena froze in place, mere centimetres away from her.

The girl grunted and gestured. The two women were pushed back into the horde of walking corpses, crashing into the ground.



Sirvanna and Yuni both ran into the horde, blasting their way through the bodies in their way. Both getting clawed by the undead as they passed and both shrugging off the blows in a desperate bid to reach their wives.

“And now the blondes are bleeding everywhere,” Alexa said. “We have to stop that girl before she kills us. Push the ones behind us back. I’ll fly after her.”

“No, you won’t,” Katelyn said. “You aren’t as fast as Ines or Alena. She’ll just knock you back too. I’ll go after her.”

“Think you can reach her?” Alexa asked.

“My mind can,” Katelyn said. “Just trust me on this one.”

“Fine,” Alexa said. “Just don’t fuck up or we’re all dead.”

“And you wonder why I get stressed out,” Katelyn muttered. “Relax, I’ve got it.”

She broke into a run, heading towards the girl. The girl’s powers were definitely stronger than hers. She would have one shot. She ignored the dead around her. She ignored their skeletal fingers clawing through her clothes and into her flesh. She didn’t even bother looking at the wounds. She had to run on sheer adrenaline while it lasted.

As she got closer, more and more of them ripped into her. She stopped not far from the girl. She turned her telekinesis on a skeleton behind the girl. The girl countered the gesture, fighting to keep control. Katelyn smirked.

“Got you!” She hurled the radio as hard as she could, while the girl’s powers were preoccupied. It slammed into the kid’s forehead and she fell backwards onto the ground.

Katelyn’s body stung everywhere. Blood dripped from her forehead into her eyes. Her leg gave out from under her, causing her to fall to her knee. Had she hurt her leg badly? She looked down. Her stomach was slashed open, her left leg had been cut open on both ends, leaving little intact flesh below the knee. She was vaguely aware of someone calling her name when she lost consciousness.


Katelyn saw light. It was vague at first and then more defined. She was in bed. Her body was throbbing a bit, still. But it felt much better. The walls were a pale muted colour. A feeder tube was going into her arm. Was she in the hospital?

“Oh, good you’re awake.”

“Well, well,” Katelyn said. “Hello, Nurse. It’s been a while.”

“I’ve told you, call me Doctor,” Florence said. “How are you feeling?”

“Like I survived the zombie apocalypse,” Katelyn said. “I know it’s not paradise because I still ache everywhere and you’re wearing clothes.”

“You almost did die,” Florence said. “You were slashed open everywhere when you were brought here. If Ines hadn’t personally run you in you wouldn’t have made it.”

“She ran me all the way to Deutschland?” Katelyn asked.

“No,” Florence answered. “We’re in Matagalpa. I got teleported out here to oversee your care.”

“Because you finally realised how much you love me?” Katelyn asked.

“No,” Florence stated. “Because I’m in charge of caring for the special forces and you’re currently in the most need of care.”

“You’re as little fun as ever,” Katelyn muttered. “So, when can I get out of here and treat you to the most romantic evening ever?”

“You’ll be bed-ridden for a couple weeks yet,” Florence said. “And I’m not going on a date with you. Keep resting, I’ll call your team to let them know you’re up.”

“Why, how long was I out?” Katelyn asked.

“You slept for five days,” Florence answered. “I promised Sirvanna I’d call as soon as you woke up.”

“You sure you don’t want to sponge me down first?” Katelyn asked. Florence shook her head and took off.

Katelyn waited around in bed, wondering what her comrades would say when they arrived. Trying to think up snarky responses for everything. Somehow, she fell into a fitful sleep while waiting. She woke up hearing the door opening.

“Katelyn!” Yuni cried. She knelt over the bed and hugged her. “I’m so happy you’re okay. When I saw your injuries I… I thought you were…”

“Injuries like that are nothing,” Katelyn said. “There’s no way they could kill me. I’m just sorry I can’t come back to work for a while.”

“It’s nothing to be concerned about,” Sirvanna said. “You saved us all back there. You deserve some time off.”

“An unorthodox strategy,” Alena said. “But effective.”

Katelyn shrugged, immediately regretting it when her shoulders flared up. “Well, I figured she would be so busy worrying about my powers and maintaining her little corpse army that I could hit her with something heavy enough to bring her down. And all I had was the radio. And I bet you thought the only way to cause pain with a radio was to play crappy boy bands.” Katelyn settled back into the bed. “So, what happened to the kid? They execute her?”

“Of course not,” Sirvanna said. “There’s no way they’d give the death penalty to a minor. No, right now she’s in an asylum. Her powers have been sealed and she’s getting intense psychiatric help.”

“They say her powers drove her insane,” Yuni said. “Poor thing.”

“That ‘poor thing’ almost killed us,” Alexa snapped.

“Now, now,” Katelyn said. “Don’t fight you two. Tongue kiss and make up.”

Yuni looked at Alexa and blushed, quickly turning away. “I’m married… and you have Anya… so… can we just shake hands?”

“She was joking,” Alena said.

“Oh, thank goodness,” Yuni said.

“So, you did get back together with Anya,” Katelyn said. “I knew it.”

“Well, after a mission like that you realise how important it is to not let the little things bother you,” Alexa said.

The six of them spent some more time talking and Yuni showed Katelyn pictures of her new puppy, Mister Fluffers. After a couple hours they left and Katelyn was left alone.

Florence came in to check on her in the morning.

“Good morning, Doctor,” Katelyn said.

“Oh, that’s a surprise,” Florence said. “Not in a joking mood today?”

“It’s not that,” Katelyn said. “I just wanted you to know that I’m being serious. The truth is, Doctor, I really do like you. Is there any way you’d consider going out with me, even just once?”

“You really are persistent,” Florence stated. “Fine. After you recover we can go to lunch together. But it’s only a one time thing, understand?”

“And, if you fall for me too?” Katelyn asked. “Then will it just be a one time thing?”

“That isn’t going to happen,” Florence said. “Well, probably not.”

Katelyn winked. “I’ve beaten the odds before.”

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Macabre Song : Part 1

“So, what does she want?”

“We’ll find out when we get there.”

The six women strode out of the vehicle and proceeded up the steps.

“Maybe we’re going to be given free puppies for our awesomeness.”

“Can I have a scruffy mutt?”

“Katelyn, stop getting Yuni’s hopes up.”

“Oh, was that a joke? But I really wanted a scruffy little mutt.”

“We can get one after the mission.”

“Really? I love you, Alena!”

“Let’s just get this over with.”

“What’s eating you, Alexa?”

“I just don’t want to see her is all,” Alexa answered.

“Are you and Anya fighting again?” Katelyn asked.

“This time it’s really over,” Alexa said.

“That’s what you said last time,” Katelyn said.

“And the seven times before that,” Ines added.

“They must have the best make up sex ever,” Katelyn said.

“Keep it down,” Sirvanna said. “We’re here.” She opened the door to the well furnished office.

“Omicron, welcome,” Jenny said. “I’d love to sit and chat with all of you, but I’m afraid that I didn’t call you for social reasons.”

Sirvanna, Katelyn, Alena, & Yuni took seats. Alexa leaned against the wall and Ines moved around the room.

“So, what kind of mission is it?” Sirvanna asked.

“A strange one,” Jenny answered. She flipped a switch and a holographic map appeared. “We’ve lost a city.”

“Did you check behind the couch?” Katelyn asked.

“Shhh,” Sirvanna hissed. “And Ines, could you please sit down and stop running around the room?”

“Kay,” Ines said. Within seconds she was seated in Sirvanna’s lap.

“Oh, lucky,” Yuni said. She looked over at Alena. Alena looked back at her and gestured at her lap. Yuni smiled and nestled into Alena’s lap.

“Could it be a gifted perp with teleportation abilities?” Sirvanna asked.

“It could be,” Jenny said. “Anyway, the specifics are as follows. At roughly 13:00 yesterday, central time we received a call saying that no one had heard or seen anyone in this area for days. Everyone who had gone to the area on business or to investigate had vanished. We dispatched an investigative team of our own into the area. At 17:02 we received a message from one of the girls in the team. The message was badly garbled and most of it was inaudible. At 17:06 the call was cut and contact with the team was lost. I’ll play what we got for you.”

The recording was badly mangled by static. Bzzzt Target point Bzzzt hanging from the trees Bzzzt can’t Bzzzt Wait, someone’s here Bzzzt from the ground Bzzzt Immediate evac! Bzzzt. 

“Zhao is trying to fix the recording to see if we can get anymore from it,” Jenny said. “She also made some radios that she guarantees will work within five hundred metres, regardless of any interference. We won’t be able to hear you, but at least you’ll have no problem reaching each other.”

“So, you’re sending us to check the area and see if we can find out what happened to the team and the townspeople, correct?” Sirvanna asked.

“Correct,” Jenny said. “Just be careful. I would hate to lose you guys too.”

“How powerful was the first team you sent?” Alena asked.

“They were strong, but inexperienced,” Jenny said. “Only one of them had actually fought during the war. I… I thought that it would be an easy assignment for them to to start with.”

“I’m sure everyone’s fine,” Yuni said. “The team and the townspeople. We’ll get there and find out they were just kidnapped or something. You’ll see.”

“I hope so,” Jenny said. “In either case, you’ll leave for Nicaragua immediately. Stay alert and stay safe.”


“We’re about to set down,” Sirvanna noted. “We should be able to reach target by foot in ten minutes.”

“Or I could just run over there in seconds,” Ines said. “Figure out what’s up and finish things in time to visit my aunt and uncle in El Salvador while you’re filling out the report.”

“Don’t you dare!” Sirvanna cried. “If something were to happen to you I’d… Well, just don’t try it, okay?”

The group strode towards the mission site.

“That smell…” Sirvanna muttered.

“Blood,” Alena said.

They moved more closely together and took their first step into the town. The buildings had been smeared with blood. Entrails lined the trees like twisted decorations.

“Looks like a football match got out of hand,” Katelyn whispered.

“Katelyn!” Sirvanna cried. “This is not the time.”

“If I don’t joke about this I’m going to freak out,” Katelyn said.

“Still, who would do something like this?” Yuni asked.

“I don’t know,” Sirvanna said. “Whoever it is, we have to find and bring them to justice. Ines and I will check the west. Yuni and Alena go east. Katelyn and Alexa head south.”

“Because splitting up is the best thing to do in this situation,” Sirvanna explained. “Use your radios at the first sign of trouble. Fight defensively until everyone else gets there. Don’t try to bring anyone in by yourself.”

The group split into pairs. Katelyn and Alexa moved further in. Katelyn looked around. Someone had decorated a shrine with a looped necklace crudely fashioned from bones and bits of brain matter. Further in, they saw what appeared to be a walkway fashioned from marigold petals.

“Alexa to Sirvanna,” Alexa said, grabbing the radio.

Sirvanna here. Have you found someone?

“No, but we’ve found something strange,” Alexa reported. “A carpet of marigolds. I think it may be trying to lead us somewhere.”

Well, let us know the instant you see anyone. At least… anyone alive. 

“Understood,” Alexa said. She and Katelyn walked over the marigolds. They reached a picnic table where a vase had been left. It had mostly white roses with a few human skulls accenting the piece.

Further in still, they found several corpses propped up in seating positions. They were surrounding a book. Alexa went to pick it up.

“The Necronomicon?” Katelyn asked.

Alexa shook her head. “A collection of Keats poems.”

Moving further along they heard a soft singing voice.

Los Muertos, Los Muertos

“Call Sirvanna,” Katelyn whispered. “Now, Please.”

“Not yet,” Alexa whispered back. “It could be a recording. We’ll check it out first.”

The two moved carefully forward towards the sound of the voice.

Tienen Belleza

“Do you speak Spanish?” Katelyn asked.

Alexa shook her head.

Los Muertos, Los Muertos.

The two moved past an obelisk that had been adorned with intestines.

Adoro los muertos.

They were getting closer to the voice. It was very soft and high-pitched. Almost like a child’s.

Ellos no juzgan. 

“It’s coming from that Mausoleum,” Alexa whispered. “I’m calling Sirvanna.” She reached for the radio but it was gone.

“Did you drop it?” Katelyn asked, looking back.

“No!” Alexa declared. “It’s… How the hell?”

The two looked forward. Their radio was in front of the Mausoleum.

Solamente Juegan. 

A young girl danced out of the Mausoleum. She was wearing a blood-stained white dress with a garland of bones on her head.

“I’ll push her back, you go for the radio,” Katelyn whispered.

Alexa nodded.

The girl looked at them and smiled. Katelyn felt pressure against her legs. Looking down, she saw skeletal arms reaching from the ground and pulling against her. Alexa tried to take to the air, but a half-rotted corpse tackled her to the ground. While they struggled, the girl continued her song.

Los Muertos, Los Muertos. 

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Brief Announcement

Hello Everyone. I hope you’re all having a lovely October. I’ll keep this quick and to the point. There will not be a new Purification next week. Instead, I’ll be posting a short, somewhat Halloween/Day of the Dead related, story in two parts.

This is the first time I’ve tried something like this and I do hope you all enjoy it. If it works out okay I might write and post more short stories on rare occasions. If it doesn’t work out then it’ll just be this one time. Either way, don’t worry about Purification. I promise that it will return on November 4th unless something really unforeseen happens and I can’t get on the Net for whatever reason.

That’s it I hope you enjoy the short story and I shall converse with you all later.

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Purification episode 65: Needed Respite

Axra carried Twila the rest of the way up the steps. By the time they’d reached the top, she was feeling really worn down, her arms aching. Lilly had offered to carry Twila for a while at one point, but Axra had turned her down. She was determined to finish the job she’d started. Especially since Twila had it even worse.

Axra hadn’t noticed how much of an effort spell casting took before. But after maintaining the energy bridge long enough for everyone to cross Twila would be sweating and she’d quickly go limp. She even fell asleep for nearly an hour at one point.

They’d finally reached the top and Twila was using her phasing spells on small groups. Sending them through one by one.

“Do you need to rest for a bit?” Axra asked.

“I’m fine,” Twila said. “I’ll rest after we get through.”

“You sure?”

Twila nodded. “It’s too dangerous to linger here right now. The reapers may return or the psyrens could try to stop us from getting more through.”

Twila continued her work. Lilly and Lysara kept guard around the entrance, watching for any signs whatsoever of danger. Bonnie, Velvet and Reginald watched the rear, slowly but surely approaching the others. Fang flew around above.

Eventually, the eight of them were all that remained. They’d gotten the dark elves through.

“Do we have to rest up here?” Lysara asked.

“It’ll be for the best,” Bonnie answered. “I don’t think either Twila or Axra is in any shape to climb back down today.”

“I know, but it’s so… creepy up here,” Lysara said. “It feels like there could be a rock-slide and we’d all just fall.”

“Would’ve happened already if it was going to,” Bonnie assured her. “You have nothing to fear.”

“Will you catch me if I look like I’m going to fall?” Lysara asked.

“Well, yes,” Bonnie said.

“Because you love me,” Lysara stated.

“Well, no,” Bonnie said. “I’d do the same for any comrade.”

“Terribly sorry to interrupt,” Twila said. “But we have to go through too. I need to drop the books the elder gave me off with my aunt. We can rest on the other side and come back through after we’ve rested.”

“In short, gather round because she’s only using the spell once more today,” Axra said.

With difficulty, Twila managed to get them phased. They hurried through the rocks. Axra quickly found moving forward difficult. It hadn’t been that bad before, but she had been well rested and not carrying all that much. She trudged on, making it out right before the spell wore off.

Derry and Elaine were watching as they emerged. The rest of Derry’s group were preparing for the final leg of their journey. A couple soldiers were standing a respectful distance from Elaine, while watching everything near her.

“Thank you all so much,” Derry said. “On behalf of all of us. You can visit us as honoured guests at anytime.”

“Our sisters are going to be living down one of the more rural tunnels,” Elaine explained. “It’s relatively free of the main city, but close enough to be offered our protection. They’ll get a few seats on the council to be decided by their own methods. It will certainly take some adjustment for all of us.”

Derry nodded. “At least we’re free to explore this strange but magnificent surface world of yours.”

“I’m happy for you,” Twila said.

“Do you want to come back to the city with us or are you going to camp here and leave as soon as you can?” Elaine inquired.

“We’ll camp,” Twila answered. “Our business with the old city really is pressing.”

“Figured you’d say that,” Elaine said. “Good fortune to you all. Since you aren’t coming along I’ll grab those books before we head out.”

“They’re in my bag,” Twila said. With an effort, she unlatched it and handed it to her aunt.

“I’ll return it shortly,” Elaine promised. She looked back at Axra. “Do you intend to hold my niece all night or are you going to let her down to sleep?”

Axra put Twila gently down.


“Excuse me, Mister.”

Velvet yawned and looked over. “Yeah, Kid?”

The young girl moved right up to his face. “You know, you saved me and mommy in there.”

Velvet studied her briefly. “Was that you? Well, you’re welcome.”

“And, you know something else,” she continued. “Someday, I’m gonna work really hard and be super strong like you!”

“That’ll be a sight to see,” Velvet muttered. He lazily reached up and ruffled her hair. “You do that.”

“Blome, don’t bother the nice gentleman.” The girl’s mother approached. “Sorry about that. We are truly grateful for your heroism though.”

“well, you’re welcome,” Velvet said. “But I really didn’t do anything except what I had to.”

“Yes you did,” she insisted. “And we won’t forget it.”


“Will you look at that,” Reginald said. “She’s practically fawning over him.”

“He did save her life,” Bonnie said.

“Even so,” Reginald said. “You’d think the rest of us hadn’t done anything.”

Bonnie shrugged. “We all did our parts. He’s just getting extra recognition from her because he’s the one who personally carried her to safety. It’s not a big deal.”


Elaine grabbed the books from Twila’s bag, returned it to her, hugged Twila goodbye and marched out with Derry and her group following behind.

Bonnie and Reginald got their tents up while Lilly did the cooking. Twila and Axra were resting side by side and Velvet had fallen asleep on the ground.

“Bon!” Lysara called in a sing-song voice. She skipped over and grabbed Bonnie’s hand. “Come over here, just for a bit, okay?”

“Well, since we are safe for the moment I guess I can,” Bonnie said. She let Lysara lead her away.

Lysara led her down an empty tunnel away from the others. “You know,” she began. “I had a talk with Twila while her aunt was getting the books.”

“I see,” Bonnie said, looking nervously back the way they’d come.

“I told her I was giving up on her,” Lysara said. “I hope I didn’t hurt her, but I have to be true to myself, you know?”

“Really?” Bonnie was shocked to hear that. Her head swiveled around. Lysara was standing really close to her. Bonnie felt her cheeks flush.

Lysara nodded. “I thought about it a lot and I realised something.” She was circling around Bonnie as she spoke. “I was grateful to Twila and I thought she was cute, but all it was was a crush. What I feel for you…” Lysara stopped and gazed directly into Bonnie’s eyes. “It’s so much more.”

Bonnie couldn’t bring herself to respond. Her heart was beating far too fast. Was this really happening?

“Bon… Bon,” Lysara said. “Would… would it be okay if…”

“I’m sorry?” Bonnie asked. “I didn’t catch all of that.”

Lysara took a deep breath and spoke louder and more clearly. “Would it be okay if I kiss you right now?”

Bonnie nearly jumped backwards. She studied Lysara’s face for any signs that she was joking. Lysara looked back at her, with a face filled with longing.

“I’ve never with anyone before,” Bonnie whispered. “But… but if it’s you, I’ll allow it.”

Lysara smiled widely and stepped forward. She leaned her head towards Bonnie’s. Without thinking, Bonnie leaned towards her as well and it was in that moment that their lips met.

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Purification episode 64: Twila Wakens

Axra patrolled the front line. Lysara and Lilly were waiting with Twila in between them, but she wasn’t all that confident with their abilities to respond if more flying skeleton monsters, whatever they were called, showed up.

She was brought to attention by a faint murmur.

“Wh… what happened? Why can’t I see?”

“Just stay still, okay,” Lilly said. “You collapsed. You’ve been out for a little while.”

“We were so worried,” Lysara added.

“I hate to ask, but are you okay to cast more spells?” Axra inquired. “If you aren’t we can wait around for a bit more, but…”

“I know,” Twila said. “We should get moving. I’ll be okay. I’m sorry, I worried you all. Really, I’m all right. We’re more than halfway there, so I should be able to make it. I just need to start with the darkvision spell. Lilly, Lysara, stay close to me. I’ll get all three of us at once.”

She hurriedly cast the spell. Lysara and Lilly squinted for a moment.

“It’s weird being able to see after experiencing just how dark it is down here,” Lysara noted. “Isn’t it?”

“I… I suppose it is, a little,” Lilly agreed.

“Now then,” Twila said, shakily getting back to her feet. “I’d better get Bonnie and Reginald taken care of too.”

“Hold up,” Axra said.

“What is it?” Twila asked.

“I don’t really know much about magic,” Axra began, scratching her head, “but the toll it takes is pretty physical, right? You know, a strain on the body?”

“Well, yeah,” Twila answered.

“So, would it help ease the strain a bit if you could relax your body?” Axra asked. “Like how Velvet travels by getting pulled around by his dogs most of the time?”

“It would probably help somewhat,” Twila said. “But I don’t have trained dogs. So…”

“Then, let me ease your burden,” Axra interrupted. She lifted Twila in her arms, cradling her. “I’ll carry you.”

“This isn’t…” Twila began. She looked up into Axra’s eyes. “Okay, just until we get them through the rock wall.”

Axra nodded. “Okay, I’ll take you to Bonnie. You two, watch the front while we’re gone.”

“Y… you can count on us,” Lilly said. She and Lysara watched the two fade into the crowd.

“What is with that girl and carrying others around?” Lysara asked. “First it was carrying you over the gaps. Now it’s Twila. Shouldn’t a princess be more, I dunno, used to being pampered?”

“W… well, Axra’s dads never spoi… They… they always encouraged her to exercise,” Lilly explained. “She used to spar with them and everything. So… she isn’t really used to being spoiled… in that way.”

“Is that so?” Lysara asked.


Axra carried Twila through the crowd as quickly as she could. “Hey,” Axra said. “I know that you’re strong and you don’t like to burden others, but don’t try to carry it all on you own. I care about you and I’ll do whatever I can to help you out. Lysara and Lilly too. So, don’t try to do it on your own. If you’re tired or need help, you can tell us and we’ll do everything we can.”

“Because we’re friends?” Twila asked.

“Oh, yeah. That’s exactly it,” Axra said.

“I guess I’m not used to having friends like that,” Twila said. “When I was younger… well, I spent so much time studying that I didn’t really make any friends. The only ones I could count on were my family and teachers. But, I’ll try to remember that. For next time.”

The two found Bonnie with a blindfold covering her face. Reginald was taking a nap.

“Hey,” Velvet said.

“I keep telling you to look sharp,” Bonnie said. “You’re the only one who can see.”

“Yeah, but the princess is here,” Velvet stated. “And she brought Twila.”

“Princess!” Bonnie stood and saluted, surprisingly in the right direction. “I’m sorry that you had to see me in this state.”

“Cut the formalities,” Axra said. “What’s with the blindfold anyway?”

“I put it on to stop my lack of sight from being too distracting,” Bonnie said.

“Well, take it off,” Axra said. “Twila’s going to recast darkvision on you and Reginald. Then we’ll get back to the front and get moving to the top.”

“I understand,” Bonnie said.

Twila cast the spell on Bonnie first and then Reginald.

“That should do it,” Twila said. “Now we’ll be prepared in case something attacks us. Incidentally, was there anything like that while I was out?”

Axra’s gaze met hers and she noticed, for the first time, that she was holding Twila close enough that their lips could meet with a slight tilt and craning of the neck.

“Well, there were some flying skeleton things,” Axra answered, shaking her head slightly to dismiss the thought. “It was weird too. A couple of them broke off and made directly for you. Almost like they were targeting you. Thankfully, Lilly was able to handle them, even though she was blinded at the time.”

“Flying skeletons?” Twila asked. “Bat-like wings?”

Axra nodded. “Yeah. I’ve never heard of anything like them.”

“I have,” Twila said. “In some ancient texts. They were called Reapers. Supposedly they were artificially created magic creatures used to hunt mages. They prolong their lives by feeding off of mages. Draining their lives and magic.”

“So, someone sent those things after us?” Bonnie asked.

“Probably,” Twila answered. “It doesn’t seem likely that they survived down here all this time naturally. The question is who and why.” She looked up at Axra. “Keep your guard up.”

“No worries,” Axra said. “If more show up I’ll crush them in not time at all.”

“Whoever sent them is targeting Twila,” Bonnie said. “Fight defensively to keep them away from her and you should be fine.”

Axra nodded. “Got it.”

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Purification episode 63: Battle in the Dark

Axra held onto her blade and waited. Waited for the flying monsters to come into her range. Lysara had her chakram out and waited by her side. The creatures lined up in the air, forming a circle.

“Looks like they’re trying to surround us,” Axra noted. “We’ll have to really go back to back.” She and Lysara pushed their backs together.

“Never thought I’d be entrusting my back to you,” Axra said. “I’m counting on you, Lysara.”

“Don’t worry,” Lysara stated “I won’t let you down. We both have a precious person to protect, after all.”

The monsters hovered above them and swooped. Axra brought up her blade to block their weapons, keeping her thrusts and swings controlled. She managed to bring one down with a counter-swing and pull her blade back in time to block a spear thrust.

Lysara swung her chakram around wildly at everything that came near her. Miraculously managing to deflect all of their attacks.

“Keep calm!” Axra declared. “Don’t waste so much energy on unnecessary movements. Look at where they’re coming from and guard those spots. Look for a chance to counter-attack while doing it.”

“Okay,” Lysara said. “I’ll… I’ll try.”

Axra took a quick stock of the creatures encircling them. Eleven. “Dammit!” Axra exclaimed. “Two of them are missing.” She glanced quickly above them. Nothing.

“Over there,” Lysara said. “They’re heading for Lilly.”

“No choice,” Axra said. “We have to break through and get to her. On three. One, two, break.”

The two hurriedly moved away from each other and swung into the oncoming creatures.

Lysara jumped to evade a mace swing and her chakram sliced open one of the creature’s skulls. She hurriedly moved backwards to avoid two more of the creatures. Their blade and spear hitting the ground where she was heading.

Unfortunately, she couldn’t control her landing and had to hurriedly get back up, while the creatures were making their move.

She was saved only by Fang’s arrival into the fray. The tiny dragon hurled fire at the two beasts heading for her, slowing them enough for Lysara to regain her feet. She ran at the alight creatures, chakram flashing on both sides. Two skulls separated from their bodies.

Axra strode carefully, but quickly through the mass of enemies. He initial swing had brought down one while injuring another. Five more moved to block her way.

Was this a distraction? Were these ones sacrifices to let the others reach Twila? It did make sense, strategically. After all, without Twila’s magic they were trapped down here. But… were these creatures really that smart?

She cut down another creature, but had to pull back. The other four had built a pretty solid defense. If she only had time…

That’s when she heard a scream. “My eyes! I can’t see!”

She glanced over at Lysara. The other woman was flailing around at nothing. Two of the creatures had landed behind her and were creeping up behind her.

“Behind you!” Axra yelled. “One to your left, the other dead centre!”

Lysara turned and swung at the areas that Axra had indicated, but the creatures had already flown back.

“Hold on!” Axra shouted. “I’m coming to get you.”

“You can’t!” Lysara protested. “You have to save Twila and Lilly. Just… just leave me. I’ll manage somehow.”

Axra swung one final time at the four creatures in front of her before breaking away and running towards Lysara. The four pursued, but Fang breathed a wall of fire between Axra and her pursuers. She cut down the two monsters who were menacing Lysara and grabbed the smaller woman.

“Quick, get on my back and hold on. We’re making a dash for it.”

“But… Twila and,” Lysara began.

“They’ll be fine,” Axra said. “I know that Lilly will manage. But you, you’re kind of helpless and I won’t leave one of my friends behind when she’s helpless.”


Lilly had her bow prepped and was tracking the two winged creatures when everything became pitch black. She could hear their leathery wings softly flap overhead. Getting closer, closer.

Blindly, she fired an arrow at the sound. The sound moved farther back for a moment, before returning. This time quickly and chaotically.

Lilly covered Twila’s body with her own, bracing herself as the sound got nearer. She just had to save Twila. Then Twila and Axra could live happily. It wasn’t so bad, she mused, to die for the women she loved.

Just when she was certain that the creature’s blade was going to pierce her, she heard a crackle of energy and a shriek of terror.

After that, he sound of the wings was gone. “Tw… Twila?” Lilly whispered. “Di… did you do that?” The other woman didn’t respond. Lilly kept holding her, just in case.

“Lilly!” she heard Axra cry.

“Y… yes, Pr… Axra?” Lilly asked.

“You can stop holding her so tightly,” Axra said. “Those things are done for. What’d you hit them with anyway?”

“M… me?” Lilly asked. “I… I didn’t… I mean…”

“Well, whatever it is you did great,” Axra said, patting Lilly’s shoulder. “I’ll keep watch. You and Lysara should stay back until Twila wakes up and can redo the darkvision spell. I don’t want Lysara almost going over the edge again.”

“I guess Axra was right,” Lysara said. “You did manage on your own.”

“I… I suppose,” Lilly said. “I… I just wish I knew how.”

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Purification episode 62: Further Complications

“Strange,” Bonnie muttered. “Didn’t we agree to go non-stop?”

“We did,” Reginald confirmed. “Of course, they may have decided it was too strenuous. You know how those types are.” He gestured towards Velvet who had fallen into a light sleep propped up against the cavern wall.

“I really should check it out,” Bonnie said. “Will you two be okay while I’m gone?”

“I believe that I can hold this position adequately,” Reginald said. “I make no guarantees for him.”

“Well, he is stupidly strong,” Bonnie said. “He could really burn through the ranks if not for his chronic laziness.”

“Don’t need to go through the ranks,” Velvet muttered. “I’m gonna get rich off of my looks and do nothing for the rest of my life.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Bonnie said. “I’ll be back as quickly as I can.”

She headed into the crowd, making her way toward the front.


“Here,” Lilly said. “Let me hold her for a moment.”

Axra moved over to let Lilly take over. “So, those herbs of yours are ready?”

“Oh, yes,” Lilly said. “I… I hope these will bring her fever down. I… I mean, they should… but it can be hard to tell if, you know, an ailment is brought on by over-using magic.”

“I just hope she comes out okay,” Lysara said, she was gently strumming her lyre.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Bonnie called. Lysara hurriedly moved to block her view of the others.

“Oh, Bon!” she exclaimed. “Did you come to find me? That’s so lovely of you!”

“I actually came to find out why we’ve stopped,” Bonnie said. “It has nothing to do with you.”

“Oh Bon, you’re so transparent,” Lysara stated. “I understand. You want to gaze deeply into my eyes and whisper sweet, sweet poetry in my ears. Oh, it would be a grand romantic moment.” She put a finger up to Bonnie’s lips. “But alas, such things must wait. We are, after all, surrounded on all sides by onlookers and such a romantic display should be in a more… intimate setting. So, I entreat you, wait, Sweet Bon, until this task is done and we can be alone.”

“I’m telling you, that’s not it!” Bonnie cried, her cheeks flushing. “What are they doing over there, anyway?”

“Oh, Twila is taking a nap,” Lysara answered. “And you know how Axra and Lilly are. They just have to keep watch to make sure nothing dangerous is coming.”

Bonnie looked around to make sure there was no one too close. “Twila collapsed, didn’t she?”

Lysara nodded very slightly. “Keep it a secret, okay?” she winked at Bonnie.

“Agreed,” Bonnie said. “Wouldn’t do to cause a panic. I’ll go back to my post.”


“Her fever’s going down,” Axra observed. “Looks like your herbs are working.”

“Thank the Gods,” Lilly whispered.

“So, how soon can we move?” Lysara asked. “It’s getting to the point where they’re starting to ask a lot of questions and I don’t know how much longer I can deflect them.”

“Well, you’ll have to keep it up,” Axra said. “At least for a while longer.”

“Th… that isn’t the only problem,” Lilly said. “Th… the darkvision spell is going to wear off soon. If… if it doesn’t get renewed you and Velvet will be the only ones who can see.”

The three of them were interrupted by the sound of Fang screeching overhead.

“And there’s another problem,” Axra said. “Lilly, guard Twila. Lysara and I will deal with them.”

“What are they?” Lysara asked.

It was a good question. One that Axra couldn’t answer. They looked skeletal with some throbbing veins stretched along them and bat-like wings keeping them aloft. In their visible sockets flashed eerie green lights. They carried an assortment of spears, tridents, maces and blades.

“Too many,” Lysara muttered. “There are definitely too many.”

“Fourteen to two,” Axra stated. “We’ll just have to do it.” She gave Todberührung a practice swing. “I definitely won’t let you bastards touch Twila or Lilly!”

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Purification episode 61: Unexpected Break

“I knew I was in trouble,” Axra said. “But I stood firm. I ran at one of the golems and my sword  grazed its flesh, turning it to dust. Right, Lilly?”

“Oh… yes. Th… that is what happened… basically,” Lilly agreed.

“I didn’t know your sword could turn enemies into dust,” Twila stated. “How do you activate it?”

Axra shrugged. “Beats me. I’ve only managed to do it during that fight and when I fought those three dragons. Turned one to dust before you got there.”

“Huh..” Twila muttered.

“Is… is something wrong?” Lilly asked.

“Possibly,” Twila answered. “Tell me, did you feel exhausted after the fight? I mean, more than you would normally.”

“Not really,” Axra said.

“Huh…” Twila muttered.

“Just what are you mumbling about?” Axra asked.

“It’s strange,” Twila said. “All magic has a price. There’s only so much that I or another mage can do before we exhaust ourselves. It’s very much a physical toll. Clerical magic works by the practitioner dedicating time and worship to the Gods to curry favour with them. Hence being gifted with part of their power. Enchanted weapons are odd. They’re either charged with magic by their makers or they take power from their wielder. The greater the weapon’s power, the more exhausting it is to use. And a power that can disintegrate ones enemies…”

“So, that means it has a charge,” Axra said.

“G… Gail did say that Axra’s sword was the work of Hephaestus,” Lilly added.

“That’s the problem,” Twila said. “Charged weapons have powers that are used by a specific trigger from their wielder, but it sounds like you’ve used yours on accident. So…” She shook her head. “Never mind. I’ll figure it out when I see its power in action.”

They continued their march, slowly and steadily making their way up the steps. Lysara grabbed Lilly’s arm and pulled her back a little.

“Oh… I… Did you… need something?” Lilly asked.

“I don’t know what to do,” Lysara whispered, urgently. “I mean, Bon’s beautiful and kind and anything a girl could want. But I don’t know what to do about Twila. I can’t just leave her. I mean, I do love her dearly too. So… you’ve got to help me.”

“M… me?” Lilly asked.

Lysara nodded. “Yes, you. I don’t know what to do. You’re Bon’s closest friend from what I can tell and your feelings for Twila are pretty obvious. So, I know you’ll give me the best advice for both their sakes.”

“M… my… fee… for Twila?” Lilly asked. “I… I’m not sure exactly what you mean… but… but I do know that… well, when it comes to these things… you have to, you know, follow your heart.”

“What kind of vague rubbish is that?” Lysara demanded. “Whatever, I’ll figure it out on my own.”

“Oh… I’m sorry,” Lilly muttered. But Lysara was already walking away from her.

“Why can’t I just have them both?” She cried. Both Twila and Axra turned.

“Is something wrong?” Twila asked.

“Oh… Lysara was just… thinking about what to have…. for dinner,” Lilly answered. “S… ure. I can make a stew and… and just grill some meat with vegetables. It… it’s okay if you have a bit of both.”

“All that fuss over how to cook?” Axra said. “Either way it’s the same basic thing. Who even cares?”

“Well, it does taste different,” Twila said. “Although it’s really nothing to get that upset over.”

The group continued their march. Twila cast her spell over gap after gap. Sometimes having to do two at once when they were close enough together.

Axra watched as her footing grew more and more laboured. “Are you gonna be okay? You don’t look so good,” she observed.

“I…” Twila took a deep breath. “I’m fine. I just…” she tripped and fell forward. Axra caught her before she could hit the ground.

“Twila? Twila?”

“Is… is she okay?” Lilly asked.

Axra knelt down and touched her forehead to Twila’s. “She’s burning up,” Axra answered. “I don’t think she’s going to wake up anytime soon.”

“I… I have some herbs,” Lilly said. “They might help… if I, you know… mix them up properly.”

“Do it,” Axra ordered.

“Excuse me,” Derry said, pushing her way up from the crowd of dark elves. “Is everything all right?”

“Oh… just a minor… thing…” Lilly said.

“No problem at all,” Lysara interrupted. “But you’ve all been marching so hard we decided to take a short break. Rest those weary legs muscles.” She put a hand on Derry’s shoulder. “So you go tell your friends to have a seat and kick back for a little while. Maybe have something quick to eat and we’ll be on our way shortly. Kay?”

“Oh, I see,” Derry said. “I guess the trek has been pretty tough. Okay, I’ll go spread the word.” She moved back into the crowd, the closest dark elves were already sitting down, carefully to avoid the edge.

Lysara breathed a sigh of relief.

“Good thinking,” Axra commended her. “We don’t need a panic right now.”

“Just leave it to me to keep up morale,” Lysara declared. She knelt down to take a better look at Twila. “Will she be okay?”

“After some rest,” Axra said. “I know she’ll be just fine after some rest.”

“Bu… but we can’t wait too long,” Lilly observed. “Th… they’ll notice and then… then they’ll be upset.”

“Can’t be helped,” Axra said. “We’re pretty close to another gap. We certainly can’t get them over it without Twila. Until she’s had some rest.. We’re stuck.”

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Purification episode 60: Challenge of the Steps

Twila gathered the group together while the dark elves were occupied with preparing for the day’s journey.

“We have to decide how to do this,” she stated.

“I thought we just had to guard from the front and rear,” Lysara said. “You did say that, right?”

“Positioning ourselves isn’t the problem,” Twila said. “It’s getting over the crevices. We can manage, but getting them over may prove difficult.”

“We’ll have to put the children and those in poor physical condition to the very front and very back,” Axra said. “Where it’ll be easier to help them.”

“I… I don’t think that’s the problem,” Lilly said. “I… I mean… most of us are, you know, soldiers or adventurers. A… and Axra has trained with her dads since… well since she was little. Th… they don’t have that advantage.”

Twila nodded in agreement. “And the seven of us can’t hoist the entire population over every broken part of the stairs.”

Fang let out a soft roar.

“Sorry, but you can’t lift them so I wasn’t counting you.”

Fang let out a low grunt.

“I am not belittling you. But you are just a little dragon, after all.”

“Fixing the steps would take time and gathering materials,” Bonnie muttered.

“Time we don’t have,” Axra said. “The longer we wait the more likely we are to be attacked by psyrens.”

“So, what are we going to do?” Lysara asked.

“We could always magic our way over,” Reginald suggested. He turned to Twila. “You can bridge the gap temporarily, can you not?”

“Maybe,” Twila answered. “But it’s not a spell I’m super familiar with. I don’t know if I could maintain it long enough to get everyone over or how stable it would be. Even if I could manage it, it would take enough power that I’d be useless if we were attacked.”

“We may have to chance it,” Axra said. “If we do get attacked the rest of us can pick up the slack.”

“Don’t worry,” Lilly said. “I know you can do it. I mean, you’re smart and bea… strong.”

“I know you can do it!” Lysara exclaimed.

“All right,” Twila said. “I’ll go with the front group and use magic to provide a temporary bridge over the gaps.”

“I’ll go with you,” Axra said. “If you need support, I’m your girl!”

“I’m going too!” Lysara declared.

“I… I’ll go in the front too,” Lilly said. “I… I mean… if there aren’t too many people already.”

“We’ll need more people up front than in back right now,” Bonnie stated. “We don’t want Twila fighting and it’ll be easier if we have to fight with the high ground than with the low ground. So, Velvet, Reginald and I will take the back.”

Fang let out a series of grunts.

“You can fly above us and watch for signs of trouble,” Twila said. “It’ll be a dangerous position, but you’re the only one we can trust with it.”

Fang gave a satisfied grunt.

“Is that dragon smirking?” Axra asked.

“Oh… I’m sure the little guy wouldn’t do that,” Lilly said, stroking Fang’s head. “Well… maybe a little.”

“Let’s take our positions,” Bonnie said. “We won’t have anywhere to make camp so we don’t want it to take too long.”

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Purification episode 59: Bonnie’s Secret Comes Out

Bonnie ran past the golem, slashing at its legs with her blade. Trying to force its attention away from Lysara.

The golem pivoted and swung at her. She ducked beneath the blow and rolled beneath it, jabbing into its stomach. The monster responded by bringing two of its legs inward, trying to grab her between them. She kicked, propelling herself out from underneath it, coming up at its back. She swiftly moved up, getting onto the golem’s back, behind the torso-like growth that ended in its humanoid head. She hacked and slashed at it, hoping that the head would be its weak point, but its armour remained intact.

The creature turned its head all the way around to stare at her. Then it flailed, trying to dislodge her, but she held on tightly, watching its legs in case it brought one up to swing at her. It didn’t look like they had that kind of movement, but she’d never seen a golem like this before and wasn’t sure.


Axra was in trouble, trapped between two of them. Sure, one of them was missing a leg, but it had seven more. Lilly tried drawing their attention with several arrows, but they ignored her. They circled closer and closer to Axra.

She turned to the damaged one and tried sliding beneath it. It saw her coming and moved into position to crush her with two of its legs.

“Dammit!” Axra cried, bringing up her sword in an attempt to deflect the blow, knowing that a normal blade couldn’t possibly manage it.

The golem’s legs scraped against Todberührung’s edge and continued on their way. Axra braced herself for the blow, but it didn’t come. The golem’s legs crumbled into dust and the rot spread upwards along its body. It moved away, trying to pierce its own body to tear off the affected area, but it was too late. Within seconds it was over. Just like the dragon she had killed before she had met Twila, it was gone.

The second golem moved backwards, apparently trying to get out of her range. Lilly fired several more arrows at it and hurried over to Axra.

“I… I thought it had you. I…” she wiped her sleeve over her eyes. “S… sorry. I… I was scared that you…”

“Don’t worry, Lilly,” Axra said. “I’m okay.” She put her free hand on Lilly’s shoulder. “Come on. Let’s help Bonnie and Lysara.”

“But… that…” Lilly gestured towards the second golem.

“Don’t worry,” Axra laughed. “I bet it’s too scared of me to come close enough to let me touch it. But keep an eye on it. If it moves after us, let me know.”


Bonnie’s arms were getting tired. The golem was relentless, never stopping, never slowing. She looked towards Lysara. The other woman was slowly rising to her feet. If she could just hold on long enough…

“Please, Athena,” she whispered. “Please let her get out of here. I don’t care what happens to me. Just let her be safe.”

“Grab Lysara! I’ll get Bonnie.”

That voice… Bonnie turned her head. Axra was running towards the golem. She had survived? Had Lilly… Had Lilly managed to save her?

Lilly moved to Lysara’s side, helping her stand. Axra swung her blade at the golem’s torso. It stopped flailing about and tried knocking her away.

Bonnie took the chance. She clenched her blade and jabbed downwards with all her strength. She felt the golem’s armour give a little. She studied the spot. It was small, but there was a crack there. She jabbed at the spot again and again. The golem ignored Axra and shook, knocking Bonnie off.

Axra ran over to catch her, barely managing to keep her feet when Bonnie’s weight hit her. She ran as fast as she could while carrying the other woman.

“Careful!” Lilly cried. “The other one’s coming after you too!”

“The golem,” Bonnie muttered. “Its back… I cracked it.”

“Lilly!” Axra called. “Bonnie cracked its back armour, see if you can hit it!”

Lilly studied the golem’s back for a moment. The crack had broken open under the force of the other blows, revealing the creature’s core. One more shot and she would have hit it.

Lilly notched her bow and hurriedly lined up her shot. The arrow went right into the core, smashing it open. The golem slumped to the ground like a marionette that had just had its strings cut and went still.

“Awesome!” Axra declared. She turned to the last golem, holding her sword out. The creature hurriedly backed away.

“Still scared?” Axra taunted. “You should be.” She took a few confident steps forward. The golem turned and ran, back the way it and its comrades had come.

“That’s done it,” Axra stated. “Let’s get back to the others.”


Initially, they had a slow pace. Both Bonnie and Lysara being exhausted and needing help. Particularly Lysara, who had hurt her leg. Then Bonnie was able to walk on her own. She and Lilly took turns carrying Lysara and they were able to speed up. Thanks to Twila’s speed spell they were able to catch up to the others before long. A dark elf healer fixed Lysara’s leg so that she could move back into position.

The rest of the march from the ruins went peacefully and they made camp near the great steps.

Bonnie got some dark elf volunteers and organised a night-watch that would cover the perimetre.

She and Lilly took over on the east halfway through the night, allowing Twila and Axra to rest.

“Is something wrong?” Lilly asked. “Not to pry… I mean… you don’t have to tell me… it’s just… you’ve been acting weird since we got away from the golems.”

Bonnie looked off into the distance. “It’s because I failed,” she said, after a while.

“What do you mean?” Lilly asked.

“When it came time to choose between my duty to the Princess or my feelings for Lysara… I went to save Lysara. I… I thought that the Princess was a goner but I still…”

“B… but everything turned out okay,” Lilly stated. “If… if you had gone after Axra… then Lysara would have died. But… because you did what you did… everybody lived.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Bonnie said. “I had no way of knowing she was going to be okay. I should have gone to her. But I just couldn’t abandon Lysara.”

“It… it can’t be helped,” Lilly said. “I… I mean… I would do anything for Axra. If… if she was in danger… I’d die to save her. Not because I’m a soldier of Nervius… but because I love her.” She put a reassuring hand on Bonnie’s shoulder. “Just like you love Lysara.”

Bonnie knocked Lilly’s hand away. “That’s the problem! I can’t help but love Lysara and it’s getting in the way of my duty. I… I tried to ignore her, close my heart to her… but it didn’t work. I don’t know how to stop loving her.”

The two both turned at the sound of a gasp. Lysara was standing behind them. Bonnie felt her cheeks flush.

“Sorry,” Lysara said. “I… I woke up and I wanted to thank you two for saving me. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.”

“How much did you hear?” Bonnie whispered. She looked away from the bard.

“I got here at about the time you said ‘I can’t help but love Lysara’,” Lysara answered. “Oh, Bon, I had no idea you felt that way. Why, it’s wonderful!” Lysara ran up and hugged Bonnie, tightly.

“Will you just go back to your tent?” Bonnie asked.

“Okay,” Lysara said. “I know I’ll have pleasant dreams now.” She winked at Bonnie. “Good night, Bon!” She kissed her fingers and made a grand gesture of throwing it towards Bonnie.

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