Lilly and Velvet managed to carry Bonnie and Axra into the temple where the clerics could work on them in peace. It was a relief for Lilly, explaining herself to the others however… that wasn’t something she anticipated fondly. Still, she did it as soon as they were awake. Telling them how she’d drugged them, apologising and explaining what had happened in the ruins and how Gail had brought them here. Leaving out only what she’d given Gail in exchange.
“So, you put us all to sleep so that you could retrieve Todberührung and Zerstörelicht?” Twila asked. Lilly nodded, looking at the ground.
“That’s amazing,” Lysara said. “I never would’ve taken you for the type.”
“It was foolish,” Twila countered. “Lilly, you could have gotten yourself killed. I know that you were only trying to help, but you shouldn’t go off on your own like that. If Gail hadn’t made sure that you were protected you would have died for sure and then the gesture would have done no good.”
“I… I’m sorry Twila,” Lilly said.
Twila sighed, loudly. “Well, I guess we can’t help it now and, thankfully, everything did turn out for the best.”
“I’m going to wait by Bon’s side until she wakes up,” Lysara said.
“I shall replenish our supplies,” Reginald said. “I fear our excursion underground has taken quite the toll.”
“Good idea,” Twila said. “Lilly, why don’t you come with me for a bit.”
Velvet watched them all go, sat with his back against the temple and dozed off.
“Wh… what did … what is it?” Lilly asked, glancing at Twila’s lips. “I… I should really get back… to Axra.”
“This won’t take long,” Twila said. “You did say you’d retrieved Zerstörelicht?”
“Oh… that,” Lilly said. She held it out towards Twila.
“And it operates without a string or arrows, correct?” Twila stated, looking it over.
Lilly nodded, remembering the pink light arrows she’d fired.
“Please, demonstrate,” Twila said.
“Y… you wa… demonstrate?” Lilly asked.
Twila nodded. “If you fire into the air then I should be able to observe how it works without any danger of hitting anyone.”
“B… but wh… what if it goes through the cavern roof?” Lilly asked.
“Well, if they didn’t slay the destroyer I don’t think we have to worry about them going that high,” Twila said. “But if you’re worried I’ll set up a barrier ten metres in the air to catch them.”
“I… I think that would be best,” Lilly said. She waited a few minutes for Twila to set up the barrier and fired.
The arrow was smaller, weaker than the ones she’d fired against the destroyer. It easily dispersed against Twila’s brrier. Twila had her fire several more times, all with the same result.
“Interesting,” Twila muttered. Fang yawned on her shoulder. “I’m going to try something. Just keep looking up and fir when you wish.”
Perplexed, Lilly looked up. She could see the faint glimmer of Twila’s barrier and, if she really strained her vision, some stalactites. Then… a mist? She blinked and saw an image of a giant dragon descending towards Axra. She hurriedly, instinctively, pulled back on Zerstörelicht and fired at it.
This arrow was different from the others. It easily shattered Twila’s barrier and kept going, all the way through the ceiling, causing a faint ray of sunlight to break through.
“I… I’m sorry,” Lilly said.
“No, it’s my fault,” Twila said. “I suspected that the arrows would be stronger if I did that but I never thought…” she glanced over at Lilly and the Zerstörelicht. “It really is a powerful weapon.”
“I… I don’t…” Lilly muttered.
“It’s simple,” Twila said. “Zerstörelicht draws power from the will of its wielder. When you were firing test shots you were worried about hurting someone. I thought that if I showed you an illusion of Axra in danger that it might make it stronger. Although I will admit that I wasn’t prepared for that level of power nor am I absolutely certain how it turns will into power.”
“M… my will?” Lilly asked, looking over the bow. “Y… you should take it, Twila,” she held it out for the mage. “I… I don’t think I… have the will to use it right.”
“I would disagree,” Twila said, looking upwards. “Evidence would suggest that you simply need the right motivation. Besides, I’ve never used a bow before. The closest I’ve come are various arrow spells which operate on a completely different principle. Your experience with a bow makes you the obvious choice.” She put a hand on Lilly’s shoulder. “Trust me, you can do this.”
Twila and Lilly walked back to the temple. When they arrived, Bonnie and Lysara were sitting on the steps, Lysara cuddling up to Bonnie. Axra was leaning against the wall, scowling, with a worried looking cleric talking in a hurried voice to her. Bonnie and Lysara would occasionally chime in or nod in agreement, but Axra just kept turning away from them.
He looked over at Twila and Lilly as they approached.
“Thank the Gods,” he said. “Please, convince your friend to come back inside and lie down. She won’t let us finish her treatment.”
“She won’t listen to us either,” Bonnie added.
“I can move around just fine,” Axra said.
“Axra,” Twila said. “You really should let them finish healing you.”
Lilly nodded in agreement. “Y… you don’t want the wounds to reopen o… or for them to not heal… properly.”
“If it’ll make you guys feel better, fine,” Axra said. “But first you and I need to talk.”
“M… me?” Lilly asked, pointing to herself.
Axra nodded. “C’mon. We’ll just go over there.”
Confused, Lilly followed her. They stopped with Twila and the others just at the edge of their vision. Axra’s hands were clenched and she stared into the distance, away from Lilly. “Umm… your treatment…”
“What in Tartarus were you thinking?” Axra demanded, turning to face Lilly. “Lysara told us what happened. You ran down there alone?”
“W… well,” Lilly whispered. “Y… your sw…”
“I don’t give a damn about the sword!” Axra yelled. “I can get another sword. I could have always gone back for that one.”
She strode over to Lilly. Lilly flinched, worried that Axra might actually hit her. To her surprise, she felt Axra’s arms around her instead.
“You’re far more important and irreplaceable than any sword,” Axra stated. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a magic sword, or even the strongest magic sword. So… never risk yourself like that again.”
“I… I’m sorry,” Lilly muttered. “I…”
“Promise me,” Axra said. “Swear that it never happens again.”
“I… I promise,” Lilly said.
Axra nodded and moved away. “I’m going to go get healed now.”
Lilly watched her go. It wasn’t until she glanced away that she noticed her shoulder was wet.