“We’re making good time,” Axra said. “Flying is the best!”
“Just don’t go too high,” Twila cautioned. “Once it starts wearing off we’ll only have so much warning before we have to get back to the ground or fall the rest of the way.”
“Don’t worry about me,” Axra said. “I can move really fast when I have to.”
“So I’ve seen,” Twila said. “It’s still not a distance you want to risk falling.”
“True enough,” Axra said. “Don’t worry, I’ll stick close to you.”
“That’ll work,” Twila said.
Axra moved down to Twila’s level.
Moving through the air was a strange sensation. It wasn’t like you were walking through anything like the phasing spell had been. It was more like you were free of the ground. Your feet weren’t anchored and you could float up or down with little effort.
“I wish I had wings,” Axra muttered. “Then I could fly around like this all the time.”
“I… I’d be too scared to,” Lilly said. “It’s so…” she glanced briefly down before returning her gaze straight ahead “far.”
Axra put an arm around her. “Relax. It’s perfectly safe. Twila’s magic won’t let us down.”
“I’d advise you to keep focused on what’s straight ahead,” Twila said. “Just think of it as walking on the ground instead of floating above it.”
“Still, this is quite amazing,” Reginald stated. “I am curious, though, is there a reason we didn’t use this to get the dark elves up the stairs?”
“There is,” Twila said. “As confident as I am in my magic, I could never affect that many people at once. Plus it would have taken a lot more power than the bridges since it would have to have been cast on everyone as opposed to simply providing a temporary gap and I reached my limit even doing those.”
“Of course, of course,” Reginald said. “My apologies. I should have realised.”
“This is almost as easy as riding in my wagon,” Velvet observed.
“Do you miss your dogs?” Lilly asked. “I’m sure they’re being well taken care of.”
“I know,” Velvet said. “I just miss having them pull me.”
“Let me guess, it’s a hassle to move without them,” Lysara said. Velvet simply nodded. “Hey, Bon, watch this.” Lysara sat back, still floating in the sky, and produced her lyre. She strummed a soft melody and sang.
This love tween us has found its start
now let us never part
My love for you grows stronger and stronger
Aphrodite, I pray it last forever and ever.
Our journey together may it never end.
Though we go over mountain, through cave and round the bend.
All the while our love grows ever stronger.
Aphrodite, I pray it lasts forever.
She put her lyre away and looked expectantly at Bonnie, whose cheeks were flushing.
“You really should watch where you’re going,” Bonnie said.
“How come?” Lysara asked. “There’s nothing for me to trip over and I know you’ll protect me if something attacks. Or could it be that you didn’t like my song?”
“Or maybe she didn’t like being serenaded in front of everyone,” Axra whispered it so that only Twila and Lilly would hear.
“Well, it is a nice gesture,” Twila whispered back.
“I… I thought it was very, you know, nice,” Lilly whispered. “I… I wish someone would do something like that for me… sometime.” She glanced shyly at Axra and quickly looked away.
“Oh Gods, it is that,” Lysara said. “I’m sorry, Bon. I was in a hurry to write something for you and I guess I didn’t put enough time into it. I’m sorry. I’ll write you something better, okay?”
“It’s not that at all,” Bonnie said. “I… I’m just not used to this…” she absent-mindedly moved her hair back “kind of thing.”
“That’s right! I forgot that I’m the first lover you’ve ever had,” Lysara said. “All right, leave it to me. I’ll romance you so well it’ll be fit for a great love ballad.” She floated over to Bonnie and gently kissed her. “Speaking of love ballads, I’ll bet I can turn my song into one!”
“She has way too much energy,” Velvet muttered. “I get tired just thinking about it.”
Axra flew along silently. Twila had called it a nice gesture. Was that the sort of thing she should be doing? Still, she couldn’t play an instrument or write music. What kind of romantic gesture would get Twila’s attention? Maybe finding some rare books of magic or presenting her with a library. She could arrange either easily enough when she returned home. Her dads wouldn’t like it, but if she used the treasures she found during the journey to finance it they wouldn’t say anything.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud shriek, forcing her to cover her ears. Several winged forms dashed towards them, Reapers.
Axra reached for her blade, but the lead one was upon her. She thought that it’s lance was going to run her through, but Lilly moved between them, arms spread out.
The lance stopped just short of Lilly’s flesh and the reaper crashed to the ground, its body smoking as though a powerful current had fried it.
Axra looked over at Lilly but Lilly seemed as shocked as she was. Lilly gingerly touched the part of her chest that the lance had almost pierced.
Axra put the question of what had happened aside and drew her blade. There were still plenty more of the creatures and they had to be dealt with. Bonnie, Velvet and Reginald had already drawn their weapons and moved to engage them. Lysara was grabbing her chakram.
“This isn’t good,” Twila called. “The spell will wear off soon and if we’re up here when it does…”
“I’ve got you,” Axra said. “But we can’t start descending with them on us like this. They’ll be all over us. We’ll finish them off and get down quickly. Lilly, cover me.”
She hurried into the fray.