Bonnie took a practice swing. The axe was heavier than her blade had been. She’d have to learn to compensate.
She gave it another practice swing. Better. It had to be adjusted a bit more.
“Bon, what are you doing?”
“I’m getting used to my new weapon,” Bonnie answered. “I’ll have to be able to use it properly if I’m going to be of use to the Princess.”
“You need to take it easy,” Lysara said. “You’ll re-open your wounds.”
“It’ll be fine,” Bonnie reassured her. “I won’t overdo it. Besides, I’m not really tired yet.”
“But you’ve been up all night,” Lysara said. “You really need to sleep.”
“I slept a little when we stopped to rest,” Bonnie said. “Right now my mind is just too restless.”
“Well, we could sleep together,” Lysara said. “That could calm you down.”
Bonnie’s face turned bright red. “How would that possibly calm me down?”
“Well, you’d get tired after,” Lysara said. Bonnie stared at her, mouth agape.
“I… I’m going to bed,” Bonnie said. “Good night.” She hurried away.
“You know, she’s really cute when she’s embarrassed too,” Lysara muttered. “Maybe I should tease her more often.”
After resting and a leisurely meal, the group prepared to disembark.
“Is… is it really okay to, you know, leave the five of them like this?” Lilly asked.
“There’s not much choice,” Axra answered. “We’re heading into dangerous territory and we can’t exactly drag them along with us. Besides, they’ve resigned themselves to living out their days here.”
“It… it just seems so… sad,” Lilly said. “I mean… a small group in a big town… alone. Waiting to… die.”
“I think that’s the wrong way to look at it,” Axra said. “Instead, I’d think of it as them living out what little remains of their lives in peace. Secure in the knowledge that their loved ones are safe and doing well.”
“I… I suppose that is pretty nice,” Lilly said.
The old woman hobbled over to them, propping herself up with a walking stick. “I thought of one thing you youngsters can do for me.”
“If it’s within our power, we shall,” Twila said.
She nodded. “Nothing too tough. Just take this to my granddaughter.” She held out an ornate sword with a black, crystalline blade. “I was going to keep the old thing here, but I figure it might make a good memento, though I pray she never has cause to use it.”
“How will we know your granddaughter?” Twila asked.
“By name,” the old woman answered. “Ask around for Blome.”
“Blome,” Twila muttered. “Okay. We’ll find her.” She slipped the blade into her bag.
“Wasn’t that the name of the girl you saved, Velvet?” Lilly asked.
“Don’t remember,” Velvet muttered.
“It was!” Lysara declared. “I remember her.”
“Then it seems I owe you personally,” the old woman said, looking at Velvet.
“It was nothing,” Velvet said. “I just happened to be there.”
“Well, take care,” she said. “And youngsters, be careful about offering anything within your power to anyone. Sometimes, they’ll ask a price that’s possible but all too high.”
“You’re right. I should have been more careful,” Twila said.
“See that you are in the future,” she said.
Twila took the lead, following the map. Axra kept close to her. They were followed by Lilly, Reginald, Lysara & Bonnie, who were walking hand in hand, and Velvet.
“How far is it?” Axra asked.
“It looks to be a couple days travel,” Twila answered. We’re going to have to go right into the heart of the city. Supposedly, Zerstörelicht is hidden in a vault under the ruins of some large building. Possibly a town hall or a school.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter,” Axra said. “We’ll just have to get there, find it and get out.”
They continued on their way. Walking over rubble and deserted streets. Keeping an eye out for potential danger.
“Ev… everyone,” Lilly said. “I… I don’t mean to cause alarm… but the ground it’s…”
“Shaking!” Reginald yelled. “Quick, move!” He tossed Lilly away and rolled away from the area they were standing on.
“What are you…” Axra began. Her words were interrupted by the ground that Reginald and Lilly had been standing on bursting open. A creature roughly twice the size of a bull burst through. It had tusks, thick matted fur, milky white eyes and a porcine shape.
It sniffed the air with its snout, grunting slightly. It turned towards Reginald and surged forward, kicking up dirt and stone as it went.