The Return Chapter 19

The First Challenge

By Firstborn Dragon

It did not take Zed and Boomerang long to find him. Rudy had managed to coner Emma’s assistant, and was desperately trying to see if he could get his ARMs improved. The assistant suddenly found himself carrying a dozen ARMs off to his workbench, to see if there was any way to improve them. Rudy’s mind was so distracted, that he didn’t even notice the two, until he ran into Zed.

"Oh, sorry. My mind is elsewhere right now."

Zed waved his hand. "No matter. We need to talk to you about something. It was a choice between you and Jack. And given what we’ve found out, I don’t think Jack is a good idea right now."

Rudy laughed at that comment. "As far as you two and Jack are concerned, never is a good time for it."

Boomerang nodded his agreement. "I can see why. That’s what we came to talk to you about. Is there somewhere we can talk without quite so many people watching?"

Rudy though for a moment, then nodded. "Yea, follow me."

The three soon found themselves on the roof of the castle. "It’s the only place I can think of."

Zed looked around. Well, at least we will not have to worry about anyone sneaking up on us."

Boomerang sat down on the roof. "That’s for sure."

Zed, Rudy, and Lucied quickly followed his example.

"So what was it that you wanted to talk to me about?" Rudy was quite puzzled.

"Guess it’s my turn to start off." Zed nodded, so Boomerang continued. "I want to fight with you. I never realized what Zeikfried had done. Lady Harken… or Elmina, which ever you prefer, was a good friend of mine. She was the only on I’d trust my back to. I can see why Jack hates us so much. But I would have never gone along with such a plan. It lacks honor. You, and your friends have proven that you have honor. I know after our last few meetings…, What I’m trying to say is… I’m sorry about what happened before. I never realized what Zeikfried, or any of the others would do to win."

Rudy started to laugh. Boomerang looked hurt. Rudy noticed this, and tried to explain. "No, it’s not your story. I just had a vision of what Jack would do if you went in and told him that. If he didn’t die of shock, he’d die of disbelief."

Suddenly, Zed and Boomerang started to laugh too.

Zed tried to respond. "Guess you’re right. Jack would have a hard time with that one."

Suddenly, Rudy stopped laughing. "By the Guardians! Not now!" He turned to the east, where a black shape was barley visible.

Zed looked at the form in disbelief. "Don’t tell me. It’s…"

Rudy nodded, as he drew his hand cannon from his belt. It was the only one he hadn’t tried to get upgraded. "Our friend from the woods. And the Arena."

"Great." It was impossible to miss the sarcasm in Zed’s voice.

Rudy looked at the form, the to Boomerang. "Jack will hate me for this, but you’d best go tell him that we need him up here. Fast."

Boomerang nodded. He knew how useful he’d be in this battle. But five minutes latter he came back up, holding Slayer. "Jack doesn’t want to leave her. I’m a little surprised that he gave me the sword. I’d figure he’d rather put it through me."

Rudy listen, but he didn’t take his eyes off of the approaching beast. "We can figure that out latter."

Just then, Cecilia came up. "Trouble?"

"Yea. Best get everyone out. Fast." Rudy gestured towards the shape. It was now close enough for him to be sure it was in fact one of the Forsaken.

Cecilia took one look at it, and nodded. "I see your point. Be careful. All of you."

If it hadn’t been for the fact that all eyes were currently on the beast heading towards them, Cecilia would have seen two very shocked faces looking at her. Boomerang looked down at Lucied, and quickly placed a hand on her head.

"This is not a fight for you."

"It is a beast. We have hunted such before. Why now?"

"This one is one of the three."

"The Legends are true?"

"Yes." Boomerang turned to look at the departing figure of Cecilia. "Go with her, and guard them. I fear Zeikfried may not hold to his deal."

"You fear for them?"

"Times changes, as do friends. I ask you this, please?"

"For you then. Good hunting my friend."

With that, Lucied ran after Cecilia. Zed looked over towards Boomerang. He noticed this. "I’ll explain it latter… There’s a lot I have to explain to you latter…."

This served to only increase Zed’s curiosity. But just then, the creature landed. Or tried to. The section of the roof that Rudy, Zed and Boomerang were on was not large enough to allow the creature to land. It’s back legs were forced off by it’s body, and the creature was forced to take to the air again, or risk falling over, and doing great damage to it’s self. This time, it landed on the space around the front of the castle. Which left it in a bad position to attack, but at the same time, made it incredibly difficult for Zed and Boomerang to hit it. The creature’s head came up, and it attempted to attack them. Rudy couldn’t get a clear shot with his ARM. He’d also forgotten another fact…

"DAMN! I forgot to get this reloaded. I only have one shot left."

Zed started to laugh. "Nice joke."

But Rudy shook his head. "I’m not joking. I used up most of the ammo before. I just don’t use it so often, that I forgot I even had it. Only one way to get a clear shot…"

The creature’s head was still above their position. "Come down and fight, little men."

Rudy looked at the head, and made his move. "With pleasure." He ran forwards, and leaped from the roof of the castle, to the creature’s neck. This only served to enrage the beast, who began to thrash it’s head around. Rudy underestimated the distance from the creatures back, to the ground.

Suddenly, he was thrown off. Before he had time to react, the creature placed it’s foot on top of him, pinning him to the ground. "Well, well, well. One down, two to go."

With that, the creature slowly began putting more weight on it’s leg, crushing Rudy. The creature was so intent on watching Rudy’s suffering, that it didn’t even notice Zed rush forwards. Zed swung Slayer with all his might at the creature’s neck. The blade barley scratched the scales, but it did gain the creature’s attention. "So, you’d join your friends fate?"

The creature brought it’s head down low. Only the head was changing. No longer was it the head of a tired old king. Now it was a monstrous head, which seemed more appropriate to the body. More appropriate, and more deadly…

There was a giant horn coming out of the center of it’s face. The eyes had become smaller, but it did not appear to affect it’s vision. If anything, it became better. Large scaled ridges covered the eyes, and there were several horns sticking out of the sides of it’s head. The mouth was now similar to that of a dragon’s, full of teeth.

That was exactly what came streaking towards Zed. Zed began to desperately attack the head, trying to draw blood. While Zed kept the beast busy, Boomerang rushed around to the now exposed neck. He began to attack it over and over, in an attempt to injure the beast. Rudy was desperately trying to free himself from underneath the creature’s foot. But with little success. Suddenly, Slayer cut through the scales.

And the beast roared in pain. In it’s anger, it forgot all about Rudy, and raised it’s self upon it’s back legs, in an attempt to break the castle down. But Rudy now had a clear shot. He raised his hand cannon, and hit the beast right in the center of it’s underside. The beast was now seriously injured. It turned, and flew off, blood dripping from the wound in it’s chest. Zed, and Boomerang wasted no time in getting down to Rudy. He still laid in the impression of the creature’s foot.

Zed reached him first. "You okay?"

Rudy tried to turn his head to look at Zed. But the pain was too great. He blacked out.


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