Sylvie followed Rose through an overgrown forest path. It wasn’t a simple task, keeping up with the tiny, flying pixie, but she managed handily.
Rose stopped in front of a clearing. “There!” she gestured, frantically.
Sylvie dropped and crawled over, staying behind the brush. Peeking through, she spotted four trolls lazing around, eating raw meat. The flowers in the meadow had been trampled underfoot. Behind the trolls was a large, covered merchant wagon with signs all over it. It had a closed wooden window.
“Merchants?” Sylvie muttered. It looked like there was room for more than four in the wagon, but if they were carrying a lot of wares then these four were probably it. “Did you see more than that when they were chasing you?”
“I don’t know,” Rose said. “I saw a bunch of large bodies and flew away as fast as I could. by the time I had a good grasp of what was happening, they had my friends.”
“All right,” Sylvie said. “Let’s try this diplomatically first. Rose, wait here where it’s safe” She rose and strode towards the group. “Excuse me!” she called, putting her hands on her hips. The trolls stared up at her. “I’ve heard that you lot have been caging pixies for sale. You will release them immediately, leave this area and reflect on your actions!”
The trolls burst out laughing and the largest rose, standing at nearly fifty centimetres taller than her. “And why would we do that, Love?” he asked.
“Why?” Sylvie asked, taken aback. “Because it’s immoral, and illicit.”
“Ain’t in Relna,” he said. “An that’s where we’re from an where we’re going. So, spare us your human moralising. Yeah?”
“You forget, Sir,” Sylvie said. “You aren’t in Relna right now. Unless you want this to be an incident, I suggest you do as I say.”
He scratched his head. “An who’s gonna make us?” He put a green hand over his forehead and looked around in an exaggerated manner. “I don’t see no guards or soldiers. Just you.”
“What do you care what happens with the little folk anyway?” one of his companions asked.
“I am a priestess of Athena!” Sylvie declared. “And I shan’t allow you to harm anyone. Pixie or otherwise.”
The troll leaned down and stared at her. “An what are you gonna do about it?”
“Scott, let’s just go,” his companion said. “We’ve got enough for market. We don’t need no trouble.”
“Fine,” Scott said. “I hope you’re happy, driving poor, hard-working trolls away.”
“Wait!” Sylvie called. “You aren’t leaving without setting those pixies free!”
The trolls ignored her and kept moving, boarding their wagon.
“Lightning Lance!” Sylvie chanted. Lightning flew from her fingertips and slammed into the wagon’s wheel, shattering it and rocking the wagon. Two more trolls ran out, examining the situation.
“What in Tartarus are you doing, you Bitch!” Scott demanded, moving menacingly towards her.
Sylvie drew her rapier. “As I said, you will free those pixies or I will free them personally.”
“Just you?” Scott scoffed. “All right. All right. Let me grab you the keys for the cages.” He reached around to his back.
“Watch out!” Rose shouted.
Sylvie moved. Scott’s axe narrowly missed her.
“Help me get her, you louses!” Scott called. Sylvie’s rapier jabbed through his throat. His companions hurriedly drew their weapons and ran for her.
“Static veil!” Sylvie chanted, slamming her foot into the ground.
Dirt flew from the ground and clouded the air. The trolls wiped at their eyes, trying to see through the dust cloud. Slyvie ran inside. She could make out the lumbering shapes and that was enough.
She ran up to one and jabbed, feeling her blade pierce flesh. She moved on to another. When the dust landed, there were three trolls left, looking confused.
The quickest on his feet moved between Sylvie and his companions, trying to shield them. He swung his club. Sylvie side-stepped it and jabbed, piercing into his shoulder. Then, lightning burst through her hand, up through her blade and sent a jolt into his arm.
He fell to the ground, convulsing and screaming.
The other two trolls looked at each other, dropped their weapons and put their hands in the air, backing away.
“You want the pixies, take em,” one said.
“Yeah,” the other agreed. “Take em.”
“Nice to see that some of you have sense,” Sylvie stated. She sheathed her blade and retrieved the keys from Scott’s body.
The two trolls moved to help their electrocuted friend. His breathing was ragged, but he was still alive.
Rose flew to Sylvie’s shoulder. “Is it okay to leave them alive like that?” she asked.
“I should think so,” Sylvie answered. “I doubt they’re going to try to keep the fight going.”
She went inside the wagon. The trolls had some furs piled up, some mushrooms and berries gathered and nine pixies in cages.
Sylvie hurriedly unlocked the cages, setting the captured sprites free. She led them out of the wagon to the sound of applause.
“Nicely done,” Inés said, clapping. Serena was standing beside her.
“When did you get here?” Sylvie asked.
“Around the time you blinded the group of them,” Inés answered.
“I see,” Sylvie stated. “You could have gotten involved, you know.”
“Yeah,” Inés said. “But there was no need.” She looked back in the direction of their own camping spot. “Are you finished here?”
“Almost,” Sylvie said. She moved over to the surviving trolls. “Never let me or anyone else catch you collecting pixies or any other sentient being again. You can make plenty off of the furs and such you’ve got in there. So live honestly from now on, understand?”
“Yes Ma’am!” One declared.
“Never again, promise,” the other agreed.
“Good,” Sylvie nodded. “Go and get your friend some treatment.” She moved over to Inés and Serena. “Now I’m ready.”
Rose flew up to her, getting close to her face. “Thank you so much, I won’t forget you.” Her tiny lips pressed against Sylvie’s forehead in a quick kiss and she flew away.