The Forbidden Village

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Chapter 22

I was jerked awake by someone shaking my shoulders and calling my name. I was pretty sure that it was a girl’s voice, and she sounded panicked. I forced my eyes open and stared up at the person who had rudely awakened me. But I couldn’t see her face since my room was still so dark.

I looked around the chamber, it was still night out, and there wasn’t any source of light anywhere. I squeaked as the person who had spoken grabbed my wrist and yanked me out of my bed. She dragged me out of my room and into the hallway. She kept yammering on and on about someone who needed help.

We turned a corner and continued running down the hall. I tried my best to get my bearings in the dark. The moon shed a bit of light on the hallway so that I didn’t trip and fall. I glanced to the person who was dragging me around and immediately recognized her as Aquaphira.

We turned down another hallway. Halfway down the hall we stopped, and Aquaphira let go of me, so now I was alone in the dark. I heard a thud and some squeaking as she moved something around. A crack of light appeared, and it slowly got bigger and bigger. She must’ve been opening a door.

Aquaphira grabbed me again and dragged me through the open door, and towards a crowd of people. There were about eight people all crowded around someone who was on the floor. We slowed our pace as we approached the group, and everyone in the group turned to look at us.

Avin was there, so was Sally and Val. The person who I assumed was the head healer was there already along with two other healers flanking her. Mallon and another guards, who I was unfamiliar with, was also there.

The healers didn’t look at all pleased to see me. I tried not to let that bother me as I walked up to the group. Who would cause such a commotion if they got wounded? Everyone was silent as I approached the body on the floor. I was curious to see who it could be.

I looked past Sally, and my mouth dropped when I saw the wounded person’s face. King Regalis was laying on the floor with a huge hole in his stomach, and a large pool of blood on the floor around his waist.

I took a deep breath in through my nose to calm me down enough to think, but I smelled something that wasn’t supposed to be there. My eyes narrowed, and I knelt down beside King Regalis. I leaned over him and took a deep breath in through my nose again. The smell was much stronger the closer that I got to the king. As much as I hated him, he was still the king, and I would never wish this kind of death on anyone. Someone had used a cursed weapon on him.

“Can you help him?” Sally asked from behind me, her voice cracking at the end with emotion. I looked back to her and Aquaphira, who was holding her hand, trying to comfort her.

“In theory, if we could find the weapon he was stabbed with we might be able to,” I replied as I tried to think of any other way that I could heal him.

“And why would we need that?” the head healer asked displeased. She didn’t even bother to hide her disgust for me, and her attitude stank. Ohh, she was totally going down when I challenged her. After, of course, I tried to patch up King Regalis.

I could see that he was barely hanging on as it was. Why didn’t they call me in sooner? I could already tell that someone else had tried to heal him by how big the wound was. A sword of any kind wouldn’t create something that massive.

“Because it’s the only way that I can remove the curse that’s on him,” I told the healers sharply as I narrowed my eyes at them. They could criticize me all they wanted, but I knew what I was doing unlike them. They had already screwed up before I had even gotten here. They really couldn’t say anything.

“What are blabbing on about? A cursed weapon?” the head healer sputtered like she couldn’t contain her laughter any longer. The other healers beside her started to giggle too. They were trying to make me look like I didn’t know what I was doing like I was crazy.

I jumped to my feet, glaring at the healers as my hands fisted at my sides. My left hand started to get all tingly, and I felt the sword press against the skin of my wrist. It was so bad that my arm even began to glow orange. Someone needed to put her in her place, and that someone was going to be me very soon.

“Fine!” I snapped at them as sparks began to fly from my arm. I walked right up to the head healer and got up in her face. “If you try to heal him before I get back with the cursed weapon, he will die, and it will be your fault.”

I turned around and stormed out of the room, not bothering to look back at anyone. Even when they tried to call me back, I just kept walking. I needed to find that weapon before the king died, even if I had to go looking for it on my own.

I couldn’t see where I was going because the light from the moon was being blocked by a couple of passing by clouds. I looked down at my left arm, then down the dark corridor, and then back down at my arm. I wonder.

I held up my hand and tried to create a ball of fire to give me some light. But no matter how hard I focused nothing happened. I stared at my hand in frustration. My hand only seemed to want to co-operate when it wanted to, and not when I needed it to.

I raised my hand one more time and this time something happened. A word popped into my head and before I could decide whether or not I should say it, I said it.

“Flamma!” I announced my voice echoing off of the marble walls. At first, nothing happened. Then suddenly there was a huge flash of light that was so bright I had to close my eyes so that I wouldn’t go blind. When I opened my eyes, all of the wall torches were lit.

I stumbled forward a couple of steps, dizzy from not being fully recovered from the day before. Now to find a cursed weapon. But how was I going to do that? I closed my eyes to try to focus, to see if I could feel anything that might’ve been a bit out of the ordinary. I couldn’t feel any power radiating from any of the objects around me. But I did hear something that I thought was a bit odd because I was sure that no one had followed me out of that room.

“It takes a cursed weapon to find a cursed weapon,” a voice whispered in front of me. Startled, I opened my eyes and came face to face with the same guy that I had met my first day here. The man that had attacked Avin. It seemed like so long ago now, I’d nearly forgotten about him.

My arm began to tingle when the image of Avin bleeding on the ground came into my mind. The guy didn’t have any weapons on him, and he had a tattoo going all the way down his right arm. The tattoo was similar to mine, except his was more tribal rather than elegant.

I jumped back a step to give myself some space to react if I had to. The man that stood in front of me chuckled darkly.

“Undo the curse that you put on the king,” I commanded with more force than I thought that I had. The man laughed even harder like I had just told the world’s funniest joke. He smiled and took a step towards me. My instincts told me to run, but I just stood my ground.

He was a predator, a hunter. I could tell that from the way from the way he watched me, and the way he tried to intimidate me. He wanted me to run, to give him something to chase. Bad luck for him then because I wasn’t going anywhere.

“Now, why would I do that?” he asked as he flicked his right arm out, and a sword popped out of his arm and landed in his hand.

“So you can save yourself the humiliation of being beaten by a girl,” I commented smirking at him. I flicked out my left arm and popped out my sword into my left hand. The smile dropped from his face, and he scowled at me. I just let my smile grow into a sneer. His sword was beautiful but not nearly as awesome as mine was.

We stood in silence, just staring at each other. Waiting for one of us to make a move. No noise was heard besides our breathing and the crackling of the torches as they burned. Their light was casting shadows that seemed to dance around the room.

The man struck first with a jab. I defended but was pushed back by the sheer force of the blow. I hadn’t expected that amount of strength. Maybe I could use that against him.

I regained my footing and struck back. He parried my jab and struck at my midsection. I barely managed to avoid it by jumping backwards, and I managed to slash back at his midsection. He was a bit slow in his recovery and couldn’t defend himself entirely. I managed to get a slash on his. It wasn’t incapacitating by any means, but it was still a hit.

The guy cried out in pain and surprise, looked down at the wound on his chest and then looked back at me. He was looking really pissed now. He growled at me before charging directly at me, hitting me with blow after blow.

I tried to block and parry the blows as much as I could, but I could feel a couple that struck their mark. I was starting to slow down and so was he. I needed to finish this fight quickly before I became mincemeat.

He was pretty good, but I just knew that I was better. I pushed him back, and while he was off balance, I struck. I stabbed him in the gut with my sword.

He just stood there for a moment, frozen in shock. Yeah, I got you, you little bugger. I pulled my sword out, and he stumbled back a couple steps before dropping to the ground, his sword falling to the ground beside him. The man was coughing up blood and gasping for air, but he was smiling the entire time.

“You’re too late,” the man spit out before he started laughing. His laugh became garbled and was quickly cut off as he began choking on his own blood. Then he stopped, and his body dissolved into dirt on the tiled floor.

My hands were shaking, and I was panting as adrenaline rushed through my veins. I felt more alert to my surroundings. I glanced down at my sword. Blood ran down the blade and dripped off the tip of my sword onto the floor.

I was bothered that this didn’t bother me, the blood and the killing I mean. It didn’t bother me at all. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t like doing it, but I really didn’t have a lot of other options.

I whipped my sword down to try to get rid of as much of the blood as I possibly could. Surprisingly, most of the blood came off with the first swing. After the second swing, I was able to absorb the sword back into my left arm.

What the man had said was bothering me. He couldn’t have been talking about the King. King Regalis still had a bit of time when I left. The only way that it would be too late would be if…oh no.

I turned on my heel and ran as fast as I could back to where the king was, ignoring the pain that was throbbing through my body from my wounds. When I entered the room, no one even seemed to notice me.

They were all staring down at the king who now lay motionless on the floor. I could hear some light sniffling. I knew what had happened, as soon as I had stepped into the room. I walked carefully and quietly over to the group of mourners. I wasn’t sure how they would react to an outsider at this point in time.

Avin noticed me first. His eyes were bloodshot, but there weren’t any tears that I could see. The pain on his face was evidence enough. I really wanted to comfort him, but again I froze.

I blinked a couple times and shook my head to reorganize my thoughts. I continued walking towards the group. Sally was kneeling on the ground next to the deceased king, crying into Aquaphira’s shoulder. Aquaphira was murmuring to her and gently rubbing her back.

I looked down to King Regalis’s body. The wound was now double the size it had been when I left, and there was blood all over the floor. I looked around to find the healers because I really wanted to give them a piece of my mind. But they were nowhere to be seen. Where the hell did they go?

I could see Mallon out of the corner of my eye staring at me with a confused look. I looked back towards Avin, and I noticed that he was staring at me too. I had no idea why either of them were staring at me like that.

I looked down at myself and noticed, for the first time, my blood splattered clothes and the slash marks on the visible parts of my skin. Oh jeez, I looked like a mess or maybe someone who just walked away from an unfortunate accident.

I sighed and looked over at Mallon. The only thing that I could do was shrug my shoulders. I couldn’t very well explain what had happened to me in the hall. Nor did I really want to. Nor how I was still standing because I didn’t even really know the last one.

A bunch of weird things had happened to me out there, most of the things that happened were mental. I couldn’t explain it but I felt…different. Both more whole and more hollow. There were still a bunch of things that I didn’t understand.

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