Korren stared at me hard-eyed for an instant. I didn’t know what she was thinking until she said, “Alright. I’m going to teach you a new weapon technique.”
“Do we have time for this?”
“No, so listen. This is something you can only do outside of the mine because of the rules within it.”
I nodded. She pulled out her bow and a recharge cube. The bow immediately lit up.
A stray shot barely missed us, and I dunked in response.
Korren aimed at the unfortunate light Fae and fired in a blast similar to the one he’d used. It pierced his silver armor, and he fell to the ground to lie on top of a miner’s body.
Korren’s bow hadn’t lost its charge.
“Out here you can adjust the amount of energy put into each shot. Teaching you this will hopefully lessen the deaths on our side.”
The large group of Light Fae traveled closer. The man who’d gone down earlier disappeared and I knew the Light Fae’s Reaper had saved him from a real death.
“Okay. But how do I do that?”
“The same way you’ve done everything in the mines, just will it. Also, you’ll need to think of the amount of energy in the shot. Try to stay around 1/50ths and aim for vital areas.”
“Okay, I got it.” Then I called, “Ouch!”
Oooo. It’s my turn!
With my weapon charged I aimed for a nearby soldier who was concentrating on pelting Meeks. I pulled back on my bow and focused on using only 1/50th of the energy I usually used. When I released my arrow shot towards him but he was too far away.
I flew towards the battle. Almost immediately another stray energy beam bolted toward me. I only just managed to sidestep it but hit something substantial.
“Opf,” one of the miners who’d joined the fight said. “Watch it!”
Okay, so fighting in 3 dimensions without a mind map to tell me where everything was located was way harder than I suspected.
For the most part, the Light Fae stayed in a formation, but many separated from the group to cause chaos. One such person flew straight at me. I pulled back on my bow. He pulled back on his. We fired. Amazingly our shots canceled each other out. His eyes grew wide, and he flew back into formation.
That was when I noticed that towards the top and back was a helmeted woman. The formation was obviously protecting her. I narrowed my eyes at them. Just what were these tricky Fae trying?
The soldiers shot at Meeks, and amazingly he used his sword to create a shielding wall of energy. Only a few shots broke through and hit several miners. They dropped and reappeared over nearby mines.
I made it my goal to get that female figure and flew out of the fight. After casting Haste on myself, I bolted around to the back of the formation. Everything was so chaotic that only three soldiers, two women, and one man noticed my approach. I cast Shock on the man and shot my bow at the left woman. It pierced her thin armor and tore a hole in her chest.
A thin sword slash came at me. I dodged up, but pain burst in my mind. My foot ached, but I had no time to look at the damage. I cast Shock on the remaining woman who had her mouth open to call something back to the others. My lightning hit her, so she didn’t have the chance to warn them. I fired on the stunned man then the woman.
Their bodies fell and disappeared. I swallowed. At least I hadn’t actually killed them.
My target turned to look behind herself I cast Shock once more, and it hit her chest. Her body jerked with electricity. I pulled back on my bow again and hit her head, which sent her helmet flying. Immediately I recognized the face.
She was stunned, but that didn’t stop the others from turning in my direction. I swallowed. Oh, why hadn’t I focused on getting enough mana for Minor Area Shock?
As I saw the sea of arrows soar towards me, I had a sudden realization. I had one cage left. Wasn’t having the beloved heir of an opponent now worth more than a few thousand mages later?
The blasts hit me, but my armor sensed the killing blows and my vision changed. They didn’t expect me to change locations so they must have assumed I’d been killed. Instead, I flew above them completely unnoticed!
Hands shaking I took out my cage. Oh Engra, this one better not be a dud.
I licked my lips, closed my eyes and clicked the button. It didn’t explode!
Quickly I threw the cage onto Princess Yoishay. It hit her head and expanded 1 block, this happened to include several of her retainers whose eyes narrowed. Then they were in the cage. It flew towards me and disappeared into my inventory alongside the dragons.
For a second I couldn’t believe I’d done it, neither could the soldiers, but they probably had centuries of training, and aimed at me. I teleported away, but that didn’t stop them. A few arrows hit my shoulder and my bow carrying arm. I dropped my weapon but continued my mad dash. When my mana refilled enough, I cast Telekinesis and brought my weapon back to my hand.
I don’t know when he did it, but Meeks had stepped in front of me. He swung his sword creating a massive shield.
“Go on, Miss!”
I flew towards my mine. Engra sat calmly within a golden protective bubble. Maybe I could convince her to let me have the armor and pay her back later somehow?
Suddenly an unfamiliar figure in black robes with a scythe stood in front of me.
In this place where the existence of such a powerful being was never acknowledged, a reaper stood among us forcing everyone into near-paralysis at the incongruity of it.
Three calm and demanding words exited his lips. “Let her go.”
Inch by slow inch I backed up. My terror nearly overwhelmed me, but then I hardened myself to it. I’d already faced death too many times to be frightened of three words.
“Then die.” Far too fast, he lifted his scythe into the air and swung. The blade aimed to catch my back. Amazingly it stopped before the edge touched me.
The reaper growled. “What are you doing Zainir? Wasn’t this job punishment enough?”
I had no idea what he was talking about until he pulled his scythe back and Mr. Black stepped in front of me. My reaper sent me a gentle smile that I knew was him telling me not to worry. As if!
“Mr. Beltza. Why are you in my mines? This is my jurisdiction.”
He snorted. “Obviously I’m here protecting my benefactor.”
“Reapers do not protect. We only guide or bring back to life.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “You always were the righteous idiot.”
“And you were always the first one willing to bend your morals because others were doing it.”
Mr. Beltza smiled like a deadly zombie. “Between the two of us, I guarantee that I won’t be the one facing the oubliette.”
No! He promised that he wouldn’t do anything to get into that much trouble.
Just then a loud clank echoed through the massive cavern and the number 1 mine’s blocks, from the outside edge in, turned from stone to dead, cracked concrete.
A voice in my ear said, “Error. In self-defense, the mines are shutting down.”
Everyone seemed to remember that they were in the middle of a fight and began trying to kill each other again.
“Miss Knight, I believe now would be a good time to escape.”
My dumb eyes started to water. “You better stay safe!”
Mr. Black, no Zainir, grabbed Mr. Beltza’s scythe shaft. “Come. This isn’t the place to fight.”
The two reapers disappeared, but I had more pressing matters. Namely, my mine was the sixth, and while it seemed to take a while for the blocks to turn into concrete husks of their former magical selves, I needed to enter mine and try to get to Nenvari. This was it. I had no other chances to defeat him. All I had to do was get to the bottom.
Then I saw Engra. With a grimace, I made the detour her way and nearly bashed into her before coming to a stop.
“Please give me the armor upgrade.”
“Do you have the rubies?”
I waved to the chaos around us and pointed to the floor. “Please. I have to leave, like right now.”
“I’m sorry. If I don’t create a dress worthy of a queen I may...”
I didn’t hear the rest of what she said. Instead, my mind focused on “worthy of a queen.” I took out the dress Nenvari gave me, back when this all started. Engra gasped.
“Will this do?”
“Do you have any idea what this is?”
“It’s something I can’t use to save my brother, while the armor is something I can.”
She bit her lip and shoved an inventory cube in my hand just in time for my mine to begin its shut down process. I didn’t think and jumped into the cold, familiar stone.
Bio: I'm an artist and a retired game industry professional. I also enjoy drinking tea while I write/edit and sometimes coffee. If you enjoy my stories in any way and feel like treating me to some Matcha, Earl Grey (hot), Almond Milk Tea, or Royal Milk Tea then please support me on ko-fi. Your donation will go towards fueling me creatively, and if there are enough donations then I will use it for things like an actual illustrator to make a better cover. *This dragon author does not expect any donations, so any that are given are especially appreciated!*