“Looks like Reginald failed,” Richard said.
“And Jade might not make it either,” the dwarf added. “Should we intervene?”
“I say no,” Richard stated. “We don’t need him.”
“He’s more useful than you,” the dwarf muttered.
“Either way,” the human stated, loudly enough to command their attention. “It’s too dangerous at this juncture. We’ll fall back to our other location, prepare our final gambit.”
“The sacrificial flames,” the dwarf muttered. “So, it comes to that… But Jade’s mages might be hesitant to evacuate without him.”
“We’ll leave a few behind, just in case he escapes,” the human said. “For the moment, let’s withdraw.”
“Axra! Axra!” Lilly held Axra close, tears clouding her vision. Oh Gods… the bleeding… she had to stop the bleeding.
“Calm down!” Twila’s voice rang out. “She wasn’t hit anywhere vital. We just have to stop the bleeding.”
“Bu… but…” Lilly struggled to keep calm. “Sh… she… she’s lost so… so…”
“Listen to me,” Twila said. “We will save her. Just let me out of this cell.”
Lilly set Axra down gently and opened the door, releasing Twila. Twila immediately hurled a bolt of light down the hall and nodded. “Okay, my magic will work outside of the cell. That’s good.”
“I… I th… thought you di… didn’t know any…” Lilly began.
“I don’t know any clerical magic,” Twila confirmed. “I can’t heal her, but I can seal the wound, prevent any more bleeding.” She pulled Lily close to her. “I need you to hold her still. This is going to be painful for her, but she has to be kept absolutely still, okay?”
Lilly nodded. She held Axra in her lap, tightly to prevent her from moving.
Twila positioned herself over Axra, pulling open her shirt to get a clear shot at the wound. She looked over at Lilly. “I’m going to cauterize it with a low power fire spell, keep her still.”
“Is… is that safe?” Lilly asked.
“It might scar,” Twila admitted. “But it will stop the bleeding. Give us a chance to get her to a cleric.” Twila’s hand ignited after a quick chant and she went to work.
“Where are the others anyway?” Lennard asked, scattering a pair of enemy soldiers who were too close together. “Shouldn’t they be here by now?”
“Florence was the closest aside from us,” Jayko said, hurling another trio of kunai. “Wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up before long. Who knows how close Isaac and Moira are with their magic shortcuts. Lulu and Shin are bringing a regiment of dark elves and Axel with his goon squad.”
“Why is Lulu with Axel?” Lennard asked, his enormous sword swinging in a wide arc and splitting open a nearby soldier and her horse. “When did that happen?”
“Axel’s daughter came to save Twila,” Jayko said, parrying a blow and counter-attacking. “Or maybe it was Zero’s daughter. Either way, guess they became friends. So he has a vested interest in this mess.”
“I don’t like the idea of Twila keepin bad company like that,” Lennard said. He held his sword in front of him to block some arrows.
“I reserve judgement until I meet her,” Jayko said, thrusting his blade into a nearby opponent. “She might be nicer than her pedigree suggests.”
Lennard made a loud scoffing sound in response.
Jade swung his blades, aiming one for Bonnie’s gut and the second for her neck. The bottom of her axe shifted the lower one safely away from her while the other scraped against the head of her axe.
He quickly backed away from her, narrowly avoiding a follow up blow from her. Then he pivoted, attempting to jab his scimitars into her. She leapt up, spinning in the air and moving forward, taking him by surprise. His left hand soared through the air, landing on the ground.
Bonnie tried to finish him with a follow up swing, but his remaining scimitar moved up to block the blow, sparks flying from the collision of the weapons.
Bonnie somersaulted back away from him, easily evading a sloppy counter-attack.
“Surrender,” Bonnie said.
“You can’t be serious,” Jade muttered. “Like I’d surrender to a thug.”
Bonnie sighed. “There’s no point in fighting anymore. The match is decided. Surrender, give us information on your compatriots and I promise that we’ll spare you.”
“I’m no traitor!” Jade cried, as loud as he could manage. “You… you’re a traitor. Betraying your own kind and for what? Some spoiled little hybrid who’s just playing around? Or is it for the love of the bardic brat?” He looked up at her, a slight smirk on his face. “Does she even know about your time with the Masqueraders? Maybe I should tell her, at least get the satisfaction of your heart being broken.”
“Is that your weasly way of trying to provoke me into killing you?” Bonnie asked. “It won’t work.”
Jade lunged forward without warning. Bonnie barely had time to react, his scimitar sliced into her armour, grazing her flesh but just barely.
Bonnie reacted by instinct, her axe cleaving into him. “Damn,” she muttered.
She turned to survey the battlefield when she felt a slim pair of arms around her. “Bon… Bon…”
“Lysara,” Bonnie stated. “Are you crying?”
“Does it hurt?” Lysara asked. Bonnie looked down, Lysara was looking at the slice in her armour.
She smiled and put her arms around the other woman. “It’s okay, just a scratch. You don’t have to worry.” She hurriedly scanned the battlefield. It looked like Velvet, Lennard, Fang and Jayko were clearing the few remaining opponents from the field.
She heard Lysara sniffle slightly. “Really?” Lysara asked, sounding uncertain.
“Yeah,” Bonnie said, patting Lysara’s head. “He barely grazed me.”
“Thank Goodness,” Lysara said. “I saw you bleeding and I thought… I thought…”
Bonnie made her voice as soothing as she could. “I’m fine, really. What about you? You weren’t hurt, were you?”
Lysara shook her head. “I’m a bit sore, but I’m not hurt.”
“Then let’s grab Fang and Velvet and find the Princess,” Bonnie said.