Chapter 11 - The Bounty Hunters
The demon King Xytsis was beyond furious as he stepped out of the portal, dragging the Veemon leader along by her white hair as Lynn cried out in pain and fear. They appeared to have arrived back at his campsite where his massive army had waited obediently for their leader’s return. They were back inside the King’s tent.
“Please, have mercy master!” she begged him, but her words fell on deaf ears as he marched her across to the other side of the tent and threw her down onto the floor just beside the entrance.
“You have failed me for the last time, Lady Lynn!” he warned her, his finger pointed down at her as he glared with his glowing supernatural eyes. “You will pay dearly for your insolence!”
“No, please!” she begged, looking to the doorway as several of his soldiers stepped inside attentively.
“Teach her the meaning of the word ‘failure’.” he commanded them sternly, turning his back to her.
“No! Master please don’t do this!” she cried in terror as the two soldiers moved over and grabbed her by both of her shoulders, dragging her out through the entrance to the tent as she kicked and screamed for him to show mercy.
But he did not know the meaning of the word.
“Guards!” he shouted out once he was alone.
Several more soldiers entered through the tent’s opening and stood waiting for their orders. Xytsis wasted no time handing them out strictly.
“Bring the Bounty Hunters to me at once!”
With simultaneous bows of their heads, the soldiers exited the tent again and King Xytsis was left to stand alone, stewing over their recent failure. He was no longer planning on messing around with finding and capturing Lillian. He would task that job to a more reliable and skilled force; one who had an impressive record of succeeding in the past.
They were simply known as the Bounty Hunters.
The first was Salid; the skilful assassin. Swift and precise with everything that he did, he was infamously known never to miss his intended target. As he had been an assassin for over ten years and counting, Salid was well-trained in both armed and unarmed combat and a lethal weapon all on his own. Many had heard of him and all feared his vast reputation.
The second was Drovan, the brutish Warlord and the largest of the three by far. With his massive strength and inability to feel pain due to severed nerve endings in his spine, Drovan was a dangerous opponent for anyone to face. He was trained with an assortment of different weapons, but favoured his giant axe above all others; the weapon seeming to match its wielder in this particular case. Strong, dangerous and unforgiving.
And finally the trio concluded with the stunning dark priestess known only as Ziya. With incredible dark powers and a lack of compassion her appearance hid just how dangerous she really was. With a deadly hobby of collecting souls from her countless victims and her killer looks added to it, men would practically fall to their knees in her presence alone. She would quite regularly use her voluptuous appearance to lure in her intended target for bounty or assassination.
Each member of this trio on its own was dangerous with so many different skills and abilities, but when they got together they were a force to be reckoned with. And King Xytsis knew this, having used them to perform many missions for him in the past, each with a successful outcome in his favour.
Not long after Xytsis had sent for them, the three strangely dressed figures entered the King’s tent and made their way across to where he sat sipping at a glowing demonic beverage. Lining up before him, each figure bent down to kneel before their master as they waited for him to command them.
“Salid, Drovan, Ziya... I have a new task for you.” Xytsis spoke calmly with his deep and haunting voice, cup balanced in hand as he leaned back into his chair. “You will find the Westorian ruler, Queen Lillian and return her to me immediately. Ensure that she and her unborn child remain unharmed at all costs. Do whatever you deem necessary to perform this task... I will not accept failure.”
“Yes master.” the three figures replied in unison, still with their heads bowed in a show of their great respect for him.
Xytsis shoed them away with a wave of his free hand and he watched as all three of the Bounty Hunters stood and turned, making their way back through the entrance of his private tent, tasked with their newest mission; one of great importance.
After remaining out of sight and purposely off radar from their pursuing forces, Queen Lillian was being carefully escorted through the cover of the incredibly dense Binliin Forest, tracking in a North-Westerly direction. They were headed toward a nearby village where Flynn had hoped they might seek refuge, from the bitter cold of the approaching night. The idea of using Binliin Forest as a manner of coverage was quite ingenious as it was difficult to see even the massive blue sky above them due to the thick canopy of surrounding tree branches.
It was however getting late and Lillian was feeling incredibly tired and hungry from her travels. Her pregnancy had caused her to have random nausea, but luckily it hadn’t been bothering her up until now. She could feel her stomach doing somersaults as it rumbled loudly while they trekked through the dense greenery.
“Is it much farther Flynn?” she asked, being sure to keep her voice down as she had been instructed. “I don’t mean to complain, but my feet are killing me and I feel faint.”
The Veemon warrior turned to see her leaning against the thick trunk of one of the trees surrounding them. He instantly felt guilt for putting her through this kind of ordeal. If not for him abducting her from Castle Krillian recently, she wouldn’t be in this situation now, running for her life and the life of her unborn child.
“It shouldn’t be much farther, your majesty.” he replied kindly.
Then the idea flashed across his mind and he smiled.
“Here, hop up on my back.”
Lillian gave him a dumbfounded expression, as if she had never before heard of such a ridiculous suggestion. She just stood staring back at him, unsure that she had heard him correctly.
“I’m sorry?” she asked.
Stepping across towards her, Flynn turned around and knelt down on the floor in front of her as he spoke again to confirm his command.
“Seriously, we need to keep moving. Climb up onto my back. Wrap your arms around my neck and your legs around my waist, then hold on.” he explained with his back facing her.
She hesitated at first, unsure of how to respond to such a strange request, but then looked at their path ahead, letting out a great sigh as she admitted defeat.
“Alright...” she reached out and wrapped both of her arms around his neck, as instructed.
Flynn continued to instruct her as she climbed onto his back.
“Now wrap your legs around my waist and lock them in front of me. Then I’ll stand up and we can go.”
“Are you certain this will work?” she asked, both of her arms around his neck as she looked down over his shoulder to meet his purple gaze.
“Just do it.”
“If you say so...” with that she wrapped one leg at a time around his waist, locking her ankles together as he had commanded her to. Strangely, it was much easier than she thought it would be!
Once she was in place, Flynn used his incredible strength to rise straight up from a kneeling position with the Queen’s weight added to his own. As if she weighed nothing at all, the Veemon began to walk along on their intended path, both of his hands holding onto her legs either side of him as added support.
She gave a small giggle as they moved along as one; this was something she had never tried before and it reminded her of an earlier time in her life, when things were more carefree and a lot less dangerous. It reminded her of her childhood, growing up at Castle Woodsend with her parents.
How she missed them!
“Do you have any family, Flynn?” she asked him, catching the Veemon warrior off guard as he appeared to turn his head to the side in acknowledgement of her question, still unsure of how to reply honestly to it.
“I... uh...” he stuttered, seeming hesitant about the subject, “If it’s alright with you, your highness... I’d rather not discuss my family.”
Lillian could sense a great deal of uneasiness radiating from him. This was clearly a touchy subject for such a brave and fearless warrior. Now she was intrigued, but she would honour his wishes and instead choose to change the subject.
“Where are we going then?”
“A small isolated village just outside the forest. It’s not well known in these parts and the villagers usually keep to themselves. To my understanding, they don’t normally welcome strangers, but I’m hoping in your case they’ll may make an exception... as you’re with child...”
He seemed to purposely trail off and she wondered why.
“Flynn, is something wrong?” she asked, leaning her chin down onto the back of his shoulder.
“I want you to know that when I led the other Veemon in that night... to...” he paused, but Lillian finished his sentence.
He sighed heavily, nodding as he continued.
“Yes... I honestly had no idea of my leader’s true intentions. Nor of the truth behind the dragon’s resurrection. It seems I’ve been nothing but a puppet to her for many years...”
He paused and she could sense his growing levels of guilt as he continued carrying her along through the trees. He continued.
“I want you to know that I would have never gone through with it had I of known her true intentions, and that I’d never put you or your child’s life in jeopardy.”
“I know Flynn.” she spoke assuringly. “It seems we’ve both been subject to quite an assortment of lies just recently. It’s difficult to know who you can really trust in this day and age.”
“I know it will take time for me to prove it to you, especially with everything that’s happened, but if you’ll let me, I would like to earn your trust back Lillian.” Flynn said, his voice showing his sincerity and compassion.
She gave a small smile, not that he could see it from his position.
“I would like that very much.”
He too smiled at her response, just as his purple eyes locked onto their intended destination just up ahead. Small brick houses sat with a few larger buildings surrounding them and even from this distance, you could see figures moving about the village as they continued on with their business; completely unaware of the two strangers watching them from afar.
“The Village of Krohas.” Flynn announced as they both viewed it from a distance away. “I told you we’d find it.”
“I never doubted you for a second.” she said smiling as he began to walk her down the small pathway leading down to the isolated village.