Passage Chapter 9
Lymsleia gasped as she took notice of the bloody gash that spanned the teens back almost horizontally.
Hes hurt, she realized. Hes protecting me, but...what of his safety?
The assassin let out a growl as Richard approached cautiously, and the two began to circle one another, each awaiting the others move.
Having grown impatient of the little game, the man lunged forward and struck at Richard, who barely blocked the attack. Under the influence of the drug, the man was slightly stronger than the woman, but he was completely focused on his opponent, making the fight more difficult. The Raging Nostrum also made the assassin more agile, at times even more so than the knight. This was proven as the man took continuous swings at Richard while advancing forward, showing little to no signs of stopping. Richard could only find enough time to evade the attacks, and after a while, blood loss and fatigue began to work against him. Because of this, the assassin was able to nick at Richards torso, creating a tear in his uniform. The teenager stumbled back in surprise, the cut revealing the tightly weaved armor beneath.
As the man came at him again, Richard swung back, knocking one weapon out of his opponents grasp. The assassin shrieked and brutally retaliated, his unarmed fist flying at the knights face. Richards head snapped sideways, his entire world temporarily exploding into blackness. When the teens vision returned, he found himself parrying the assassins single blade with his own, but again, the fatigue would return with a vengeance. At one point, the man struck so hard, Richard simply lost his balance and tumbled. The blade followed, diving straight toward him, but fortunately, Richard was able to roll out of the way. The commander then managed to lift the rapier, crossing blades with his opponent. Richard showed genuine signs of struggling as the deadly force threatened to destroy both him and his weapon.
Lymsleia watched the whole time as the last strain of hope slipped from her hold. Richard was in a terrible predicament, and though he was her protector, she simply wasnt content with standing by.
This is wrong, she thought, shaking her head. The commander may act as a queens shield, but...this isnt fair. He cant die...not like this. I cant...accept being helpless anymore. Ive got to do something. I just...I dont know what I can do...
As despair took over, Lymsleia shut her eyes, only half-aware she was uttering a vocal prayer. Help me, Brother... she whispered fiercely, fighting back tears. Please...help me...
When she opened her eyes, like a blessed response, she found herself enveloped in a soft blue light. A familiar object was floating downward, hovering about her left hand before fading out.
Wh...what...? she gasped. How did...?
The assassin chortled as he continued bearing down on Richard. Youre dead, youre dead, youre dead, he repeated gleefully, his strange speech no doubt affected by the drug. Hehehehe. When Im done with you, Ill-Ill slit the little girls throat and smear the walls with her entrails. Hehehehehe...
The threat filled Richard with sudden resolve, and he pushed the blade away completely, momentarily dropping his own. I...dont...think so...! he spat, grabbing the assassin by the arms. You wont...lay a finger on her! Argh! With inhuman strength, he flung the man to the side, grunting, and then retrieved his weapon before scrambling to his feet. Im...Im the Commander of the Queens Knights. My role is to protect the Queen!
Hahahaha! The crazed man quickly stood up and took another effortless swipe at the teenager, but it was easily deflected.
Richard paused, breathless, and then he and the assassin began to circle one another again. Thats right, he continued. You wont get by me. I...I wont let you. You...the Nether Gate...youve caused so much pain for the royal family. But... He stood firm, ending the odd pacing, his expression full of determination. Never again! I wont let you hurt Lymsleia...! Ill do what I was meant to do! Rapier held high in both hands, he charged forward with a thunderous battle cry.
I will protect my Queen!!
Did you hear that? Miakis asked as the group quickly approached toward the palace doors, one of which was slightly ajar.
I think we all did, Kyle answered, then breathed a sigh of relief. At least we know theyre still alive...
Galleon grabbed the handle on the door and flung it completely open. Lets hurry!
Richard and the assassin continued their duel, which was nothing short of intense. Lymsleia was watching in awe, but did not forget the odd gift bestowed upon her.
Ive got to help him... she thought frantically. But how? How do I...how do I use the rune?
Richard stumbled back, clutching his shoulder as a red substance leaked through his fingers. Ugh... He brought his bloody hand forward and briefly studied it, but any physical agony in his expression faded. Good...good... he said, panting. The smile, though wearied, returned to his face. How can I...thank you...for giving me this opportunity...?
The assassin only shrieked in response and charged at Richard again.
Calm as ever, Richard readied himself, and then took off in the assassins direction. Good answer...!
There were simultaneous stabbing noises at the point they crossed one another; Richard cried out as a sharp pain registered in his side, and he gagged, blood spilling from his mouth.
Lymsleia let out a horrified gasp, clamping both hands over her mouth.
The assassin growled and removed the blade as Richard followed suit. While the assassin immediately collapsed, Richard staggered a few steps before falling down.
Richard...! Lymsleia started to rush toward him when she realized, to her horror, that the assassin was getting up.
Heh heh heh heh... The man moved himself to a standing position despite his wounds and tattered uniform suggesting he was not in that lucky a state.
The young queen shook her head in disbelief. No...
Ignoring her, the assassin approached Richard. Now die, he roared. Die, die, die, die, die die die diediediediediedie!
No! Lymsleia shouted, drawing closer, the adrenaline suddenly coursing through her.
Your Majesty, Richard said weakly. Run away...hide...
I cant, she started.
Please...Your Majesty...the drug will wear off...very soon...
The tears began to brim her eyes. Hell take your life before then. I... She clenched her fists tightly. I wont let him do that...!
What she previously believed to be a small burst of adrenaline was now becoming a mysterious, focused power. It began to speak to her, not as a voice, but more as an urging toward a certain objective. Lymsleia briefly closed her eyes, allowing every pure desire from her heart to manifest itself and join with this new power. Its aura surrounded her, traveling toward the rune in her fist. And then, as though wisdom of ages past had been instilled in her, she knew in her heart just what needed to be done.
The assassin lifted his weapon, preparing to strike Richard deep in the heart.
Stay away from him!! Lymsleia shouted, raising her left arm high. A strong beam of light shot out from her hand and toward the assassin, instantly knocking him away. The man flew some distance and crashed to the floor, his body violently convulsing twice before settling with a death rattle.
It was silent for a while, and the queen stood still, not believing what had just happened. Just then, a voice brought her back to her senses.
Oh! Lymsleia lowered her hand and rushed to Richards side, quickly kneeling. Richard...are you...are you... Her hands hovered everywhere above him, as she had no guarantee that touching him would not cause him any more pain. ...d-does it hurt...?
Ahhh... Richard managed to let out a chuckle. Would you believe me if...if I said...Ive had worse happen to me...? Heh...heh heh...
Seeing through his forced happiness, Lymsleia felt her heart twist, and one hand finally came down to meet his. Richard... she whispered, tears rolling down her face. Please dont die.
Dont cry, Your Majesty, he replied weakly, though his smile was unfading. Youre safe now. Sorry I messed up...on that guy...
The queen shook her head. Dont be silly. You did the best you could. Im...Im so grateful...
Really...? Richard let out a sigh of relief. Then...Im glad, he said, his head turning away slightly. I did it. I fulfilled...my oath...
He then closed his eyes, drawing nearer and nearer to sweet slumber.
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