Callie and I didn’t have any problems reaching the palace. Being carried in her arms wasn’t a bad feeling. I felt safe and secure, even though I knew we were very much in hostile territory.
Maybe that’s what it means to be in love? Having a sense of security even in a bad situation. I didn’t have time to dwell on that, though. Because we were going into a dangerous situation and we both needed to stay alert.
I looked around for any sign of Michael and the others. It was taking them a long time. Then again, they had to go through the alleys. So, it would naturally take them somewhat longer, right?
“Lyn, there!” Callie’s whisper was harsh and earnest. I followed her gesture. A young looking troll guard seemed to be looking directly at us. He bolted and hurried inside the palace.
“Damn,” I muttered. “We can’t let him raise the alarm.”
Callie and I dropped to the ground and hurried after him. I readied an arrow. Luckily for us, he wasn’t making much noise.
He was running up the steps into the throne room when we got inside. I fired. My arrow went right through his throat and he went down.
“Nice shot,” Callie whispered.
“Thanks,” I whispered back. “Let’s grab the body and get out of here before anyone else notices and we lose the element of surprise.”
We moved forward carefully, silently, not wanting to alert however many guards were around.
We had almost reached the body when a loud thump came from behind. We turned The door had been sealed by a massive root coming up through the ground.
“Princess, it’s been a long time.” The voice came from the throne room. I was starting to shake. I knew that voice far too well. Larick.
Callie and I turned towards him. He was sitting in the throne casually, with a stave in his right hand. He had an intent gaze fixed on us.
“I hadn’t intended to slay your entire family,” he continued. “But I suppose your little brother can carry the line, assuming the trolls storming Het Wald don’t end him.”
“You won’t lay a hand on her!” Callie cried. She leapt forward faster than my eyes could follow, only to be stopped in her tracks by a magic circle.
“I took precautions against your ilk, Vampire,” Larick said. “Now, Goron’s Gaze!” He snapped his fingers and Callie was changed into stone in the blink of an eye.
“Callie!” I cried.
“Your vampire lives, you know,” Larick said. “Although she won’t for long in that state.” He rose from the throne and raised two fingers. “She’ll revert should I choose to break the spell or should I perish. Unfortunately for you, I plan on leaving her like this. Now tell me, coddled Princess, will you fight for her life or squeeze your way out and save yourself? You know you can’t defeat me, I trust. And I can promise you, Princess, you’re three other friends will not arrive in time to make any difference on the outcome.”
I quickly notched several arrows and fired. Larick gestured and vines came down from the ceiling, swatting them away.
“Very well then,” Larick stated. “The die is cast. Let our fated duel commence.”
I couldn’t suppress a shiver. He’d been prepared for Callie and me. He’d even fixed things so she wouldn’t be able to help me. There was no way he didn’t have a plan to beat me. Still, I had to fight. Not just because of what he’d done to my family, to my people but because Callie’s life was on the line.
I’d be damned if I let him take her away from me too. I reached for another couple arrows.