August 26th, 2016 | Published in Dragon Wars
“How many times do I need to tell you that I’m not here to fight? Not with you and not with her?” The woman gave Kira a look of exasperated forbearance when she didn’t budge. “I had hoped that it wouldn’t come to this but there’s not enough time to persuade you.” She made a gesture and an invisible force lifted Kira off her feet, gently pushed her against a nearby tree and held her there. Bands of ice wrapped around her and fastened her firmly to the trunk. Kira yelped and struggled futilely as the winged woman walked towards Ophelia.
“Dad! Get Ophelia out of here!”
Tilaran didn’t move and never took his eyes off the approaching woman but he did take a moment to reply.
“Kirala, hush. I’m not sure why Alsia-ida is here but I’m certain it’s not to kill Ophelia. She wouldn’t bother trying to talk us out of the way if she were.”
“Ah, you recognise me, Tilaran-alran!” Alsia seemed delighted. “And you can just call me Alsia. I don’t stand on ceremony.” She knelt down by Ophelia and gently probed the wound with her fingers. It didn’t hurt until she touched one particular spot, at which point Ophelia nearly fainted from the explosion of pain. “Hmm. I was afraid of that. There’s a shard of Wind Essence still in the wound. The antidote won’t work properly if we don’t get it out.” Alsia held her hand over Ophelia’s shoulder and a chill that was colder than the poisoning and yet somehow soothing spread out from the wound.
“What are you doing?” Ophelia asked.
“Removing the wind shard, dear.” She straightened and held up a length of transparent glowing knife blade. Alsia regarded it for a moment with a disgusted expression before tossing it to the ground and crushing it beneath one booted heel. “There, the antidote will work now. Let’s see what you came up with.” She reached down and took the cup from Tilaran’s hands and sniffed it before dipping a finger in it and tasting it. “Hey, this is really close. The essence and colour balance is just slightly off. I’m sure Alaryia will send you the recipe but if not, bear that in mind next time. For now, the sooner Ophelia gets the antidote the better so I’ll save you the effort.” She produced a packet from within her pale blue robes and tossed it to him. “This is the antidote. You know how to prepare it I assume.”
“Of course I do,” he said. “But what do you mean ‘next time’? You think this will happen again?”
“I think it’s a distinct possibility,” she replied. “I heard enough to know that Ophelia destroyed whatever her assailant was guarding. Once he realises she’s not dead, he’ll be banned from returning to Kithra until he’s avenged his failure. And if he saw the Key… well, Andarian won’t be happy about that so he’ll be under double pressure to get rid of her. It’s safe to say that you haven’t seen the last of him.”