April 15th, 2016 | Published in Dragon Wars
“Really?” Ophelia heard herself say as she sidestepped the attack. “You’ll have to do better than that if you want to kill me.” She clutched the crystal even harder. “I need a weapon.”
It warmed and a glowing blade made of the same red light as that which surrounded her appeared in front of her. She braced for a heavy weight as she grabbed it, then staggered at its unexpected lightness. She covered her need to recover by glaring at her assailant. “They aren’t yours,” she said as she dodged another dive.
“You’re too late!” Its form twisted again and four ribbons like those binding its victims shot towards her. “I’ve already taken them. And you’re just about young enough and certainly strong enough to make a nice body for me, even if you are female.”
“They aren’t yours,” she said again. “And neither am I.” She had no idea how to use a sword, but the blade guided her hand. Three of the tendrils fell to the ground and vanished in a spray of black mist which wilted the grass nearby. The fourth wrapped around her wrist and pain erupted where it touched her. She ripped loose, skipping back a couple of steps, then glanced down at her wrist and saw a nasty black burn.
She drew in a ragged breath and bit her lip against the pain, letting the sword guide her again. He next two strokes neatly severed its limbs and the explosion when the hit the grass was larger and killed the grass around her feet.
“Cut the threads binding it to its anchors,” the fireball said. “Once those are gone you should be able to banish it.”
“Got it!” Ophelia launched herself into the air and swung at the tendrils, but it twisted out of the way. “Damn!” She whirled in the air, vaguely aware that she was flying, and struck at it again, twisting the blade to follow when it tried to dodge. Two of the tendrils wrapped around her blade; she twisted it again and they snapped.
The thing screamed and lashed out at her with a tail it hadn’t had a moment before, catching her on the shoulder and sending her crashing into the ground.
It dived at her again, fangs ready to grab her and rend her flesh, but she managed to roll to her feet. “Damn, it’s fast!” She flung herself over it and managed to gather the final three threads around her blade and sever them with a jerk. She landed lightly and turned to face it again. Something had changed though. Before it had been giving off a kind of cocky confidence but now it seemed desperate.
“Use the crystal! It’s a key to the Lost One’s Prison. You can send it back now!” the fireball said.
Ophelia nodded and lifted both hands to the gem once more. As her fingers brushed it, it flew into the air above her head and began to glow brightly. Waves of energy flowed from it and formed a vortex which focused on the creature. It screamed as the streamers of light surrounded it and turned to flee, but the vortex proved stronger and it was sucked upwards towards the glowing gem.
“I won’t go back!” It screamed and thrashed around as it tried to break free. “I won’t!” There was a tearing sound and a wound opened in its side. Ophelia flinched away, barely avoiding being splashed by its blood. Where it hit the grass and a nearby shrub there was a sizzling sound and the bush melted into a pool of black goo. Ophelia shuddered as an image of her skin going the same way entered her head.
“Please, Lady, I’ll be good,” the creature pleaded. “I’ll do whatever you say.” It sounded so pathetic that Ophelia swallowed down a sudden wave of pity and looked away. She had to force herself to continue the vortex. The creature made a whimpering sound. “Please…” It screamed and she looked back in time to see the monster pulled into the vortex which then collapsed back into the gem. It floated down to her hand. She closed her fingers over it and light burst forth once more. A moment later she looked down and saw that she had stopped glowing.