The Continuation Chapter 3
The King was not pleased at the news of his daughters adventure. Although he was relieved that his daughter survived the battle with the pointy-eared swordsman, he was worried. Destiny was finally unfolding around him. Although he knew what was happening, he wasnt pleased at all. The Queen was even worse: she had stayed in her room all day in sorrow, not quite crying, but just sitting with a placid, thoughtful visage, looking out the window at the forest. From the window you could see the very falls where Marcel and Laura Lee had almost drowned. The beautiful scenery had not cheered her mood. Meanwhile, Laura had pretended not to take notice of her parents disapproval, despite the fact she had been shut up into the castle. A junior trainer had to come from Wyvern just to keep her training up to date.
In consequence Laura had worked hard to find things to keep her mind occupied. Besides her swordplay Laura had been practicing with the newfangled firearms that one of Guardias regiments used. The pistol was surprisingly heavy. It had taken her an hour just to learn how to reload the clip. Despite a weeks practice, Laura had only managed to hit the target fifty percent of the time. Shed have to practice more. Besides that, there wasnt much Laura could besides explore the sprawling basements of the castle and walk around the lake in the castle gardens. Laura had taken to feeding the squirrels that lived in the nearby woods. Each day shed bring them grains and nuts. Life proceeded at this lively pace for almost a month. Laura was allowed a free rein again in one more week. So Laura resumed her exploring, walks and tried to sleep most of the week away.
One day Laura was walking around the lake with her left hand straddling the pommel of her blade, the right with a sack of grains. She entered the woods and picked around the foliage until she reached the grove where she usually fed the squirrels. Strangely they didnt come when she called. Instead a gray cat sat in the middle of the grove, staring at Laura. She didnt know what to make of this, so she approached the cat carefully. Laura placed the sack on the ground and slowly reached out to the cat with a single finger. The cat didnt react at all. So Laura prodded further, stroking the gray cats cheek. The cat responded with a motored purr rumbling from the stomach. Laura smiled at this. The cat leaned in for further stroking, and Laura obliged. Laura wondered how this cat, which looked domestic, had managed to get into a castle surrounded by twelve foot walls. The cat stretched out leisurely, and tired of Lauras stroking, it started walking in the opposite direction, towards the nearest wall. Laura shrugged and followed her feline visitor.
After some tangling with the paths cats may take, but not humans, like the thorniest rose bush in the castle grounds, Laura found herself at the hedge maze. The cat started walking faster at this point. Laura was used to wandering the maze since she was six, so she ran after the cat. The further into the maze, the faster the cat ran. Laura struggled to keep up, but the cat was too fast. Finally, it turned one corner too far ahead of Laura. She gave up the futile chase, and started walking again. She might as well enjoy the walk, now that the cat was gone.
Eventually Laura reached the center of the hedge maze. There was a fountain with a naked angel dropping water incessantly from her cupped hands. The grass was clipped and apple trees peppered the scene. On the highest of these well-pruned trees Laura caught a glimpse of gray. The cat was up there, leaping from branch to branch chasing the pheasant. The cat wasnt having much success though, the pheasant eluded it. So it jumped to the next tree with a crash, somehow landing on a branch. The pheasant flew to the next tree, but the cat wasnt interested in them anymore. It found prey that looked easier. On a lower branch the cat leapt, keeping the black bird in view. The raven didnt flinch or face the approaching cat, although the branches shook with the unsophisticated hops of the feline. The cat stepped carefully, sneaking up on the bird. It crouched and readied itself to pounce. And then when the time was right, which only a cat may tell, it jumped with claws and teeth bore in instinctual fervor. The cat made it one inch from the raven. An electric snap was heard, burning the leaves on the tree. The cat sailed through the air and landed at Lauras feet. It mewed softly, then dropped its head.
The raven threw its head back and cawed. Then with a single slap of air, propelled itself into the air. The black bird rose into the air, then dove until it was ten feet off the ground, where it flapped its wings a couple of times and just hovered there. Laura watched as an electric blue beam surrounded the raven. Suddenly the raven became a women wearing a black robe with raven feathers in her hair. In her right hand laid an oak staff. In her left was an apple. Laura stood there staring. Her grip tightened around the hilt of the blade she didnt remember drawing. The lady just smiled, waved her left hand. The apple became a ball of electric blue energy. The lady swung her arm and propelled the ball towards Laura. Lauras eyes widened at this display, but she dove out of the way. The ball hit the ground behind her, bounced off the ground and ricocheted into the hedge, scorching it, starting a slow fire. Laura was on her feet running towards the woman. Laura jumped and slashed at the lady. She just laughed and floated away. Laura fell to the ground and rolled. She dove to the side, avoiding the lightning by a thin margin. Laura jumped back up to see the woman concentrating hard. Her staff floated to the side. Suddenly the woman threw both her hands out. Laura started running as a huge lightning storm started leeching toward her. Each tentacle of blue energy was one step behind her. Then a ball of blue hit Laura dead on from the side. She had ignored the real threat. Laura flew across the clearing to the entrance. She couldnt do anything. Laura grabbed the gray cat, and started running through the maze. The witch woman cackled, and levitated high into the air. Laura back several times, as the woman raged storms on her, and massive balls pounded into ground. The slow burn had turned into a massive fire storm. The acrid smoke filled her lungs, but she ran on. Finally she reached the entrance to the maze and ran for the clear. The woman turned back to a raven. Laura couldnt see her. Looking for the best chance Laura went through the forest, hoping to lose the witch. A scream proliferated the air. The witch crashed through branches with the blue surrounding her. Trees fell down. Laura dropped the cat and slashed at the witch. The witch took the blade at the midpoint of her staff, swung it into Lauras head, then threw her into a tree with a lightning ball. Lauras blade spun and embedded itself deep into a broken tree.
There was no chance, no strategy to follow. The witch had her, she was down for the count. Her years of swordplay were defeated by electricity. Laura struggled to stand up, despite her burns and wounds. The witch woman walked over, to finish Laura off. She kicked the cat out of the way. An anger rose through Laura. Her mind was filled with thoughts of darkness and people being tortured, the witch woman in particular. Her hands rose and a blue ball, similar to the witchs, jumped from her hands. The witch was thrown back, but had deflected it with her staff somehow. The witchs eyes widened.
You should not be able to do that! The . . . Her proclamation was cut off by a shimmering figure. It was a man with long hair and pointed ears. In his right hand stood a scythe, the blade as dark as a pitch night.
Leave now minor trickster. This girl is under my protection. I want to hurt you, but I shall grant you this momentous leave. The figure pulled a dark hood over his head. Purple eyes shone from the depths of that cowl.
The raven lady pulled a cowl of raven feathers over her own head. You shant abuse my magic without retribution wizard. Have you family you wish to see?
With that proclamation she raised her body into the air. Her body was covered by a shimmering field of blue. The hooded figure flew up with her. Laura grabbed the cat and cuddled it to her breast as she watched this extraordinary battle.
The woman threw out a ball of lightning at the dark figure. It hit his body to no effect. She muttered to herself as the leeching, spiking lightning shot out, each tentacle hitting the figure, again to no effect. Her eyes widened. Her staff shone and dissolved into ashes. From that a huge, sparkling ray of blue jumped from it. There was no sparks from this beam, just pure, uninterrupted blue. It sped across the sky toward the figure. This time he responded, he raised a hand and a small ball of black developed in his palm. With a flick he sent it towards the beam of blue light. They met head to head. And they stopped for several seconds. The ball enveloped the beam and turned it navy blue. Then the figure waved his hands towards the witch woman. The beam curved around and sped towards the woman. She shrieked as the beam hit her square in the chest. Her body dissolved just as easily as her staff.
The dark figure floated to the ground and entered the forest. Laura Lee was on the ground sleeping. The gray cat stood on her chest with its paws spread protectively. The man drew back his hood and flew them back to Lauras room, then departed into the night.
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