Chapter 6 - Saving the High Prince
She glanced at Chelsi who hadn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
“Thank you.” She said and Chelsi turned to look at her.
“For what?” Chelsi asked.
“For doing this.”
“Don’t thank me yet.” She stated before hauling herself up a huge rock and then offering her hand to help Alice up it. “You really care for him don’t you?” She asked as Alice got her footing. Alice didn’t need to ask who she meant.
“Yes.” She said simply.
“I did too. I still do I guess. It’s hard to shut your emotions down.” She shrugged. “He’s a good man.”
“I’m sorry if he hurt you.” Alice said.
“He didn’t. Well he did, but it wasn’t intentional. He always stated what it was from the start and I was silly enough to let my emotions get the better of me.”
“You weren’t silly.” Alice said feeling more than sorry for her now.
“I was. But it’s okay. We all move on, and now look at us.” She said with a grin “We’re the ones rescuing him. The mighty High Prince Fain.” She giggled and Alice couldn’t help but grin back despite the circumstances.
They crossed up over another ridge and ahead they could see shadows shifting almost as if they were alive. Alice frowned and squinted in the limited light before she realised what she was looking at. Before she could feel the Magic of them.
“Spectrals.” She hissed grabbing Chelsi and pulling her down hard onto the rocks.
Chelsi groaned as she slammed into them.
“Sorry.” Alice muttered but Chelsi just shook her head.
“I’ll take a bang on the head over a Spectral any day.” She muttered back. She looked round carefully over the rocks. “So what do we do now?”
“We do nothing.” Alice stated pulling the pack of her back and placing it next to Chelsi.
Chelsi frowned at her confused. “What do you mean?”
“You got us up here. Now it’s my turn to do something.” She said. “Stay here and stay hidden.” She clambered up over the rocks and towards the Spectrals while Chelsi watched her.
As she walked towards them she tried to reach Fain one last time but there was still nothing except the barrier that he had blocking her out. She swallowed, focussing on what was in front of her. She could think about Fain after, could look for him after. Now she knew she had to focus on the Spectals or they would destroy her.
She counted at least three but as they moved she realised there were more. Her stomach knotted slightly. Did she have the strength to fight that many? To take them all on? Last time it had felt so easy, so natural, but now it felt different. She gritted her teeth remembering the Magic, remembering the feel of it.
The first Spectral spotted her from 50 feet away and it screamed out a deep guttural cry that rang through her and set her bones on edge. She shut her eyes at the noise as though doing so could shut out the sound from her ears too. When she opened them it was nearly on her and she stumbled backwards almost overcome as it engulfed her.
And then she felt it. The same disgusting feeling she’d felt last time. The same twisted Magic that had created it. She focussed on her own, on the cleanest of it. On the colours. On the taste. She looked around her and all there was was darkness but she could already feel the light ripping through it. The creature disintegrated and then she stood there holding her breath, watching as the other shadows drew closer.
She braced herself, holding her ground, making them come to her. This is it, she thought as she counted the four of them, and she hoped she had enough strength for it. Enough strength to destroy them all. She didn’t need to look at them to know they were circling her. Even if she’d shut her eyes she would have felt the Magic of them moving about her. She watched them crawling round and round, waiting for their moment to strike as they sized her up like prey.
She held her hands out from her side and closed her eyes just as they pounced.
One after another they engulfed her, drowning her in their darkness. She felt them at her throat, at her chest, ripping at her with their claws but she stayed still, frozen, letting them entwine themselves into her being. She kept her eyes closed, waiting, knowing exactly when she needed to make a move. It was instinctual, like it had been the first time. She didn’t need to practice, didn’t need to train, because this was what she was born to do, she realised, what she was destined for. She felt her Magic growing in her. It was like a spring, small and barely noticeable, before it started to swell up and bubble over, trickling through her veins, trickling through her skin, trickling through her very cells. She could taste it again. Taste the colours of it and she opened her eyes seeing the illumination of colour contrasting off the darkness that still surrounded her. She laughed, watching the colours change and meld into one another as the Spectrals around her hissed and contorted themselves to avoid her Magic. But they couldn’t avoid her. She’d let them in, lulled them in. They’d merged with her very essence, been seduced by it and one by one she destroyed them. She ripped them apart and sealed their Magic off so that each creature couldn’t renew itself, couldn’t be conjured again.
When it was done she fell to her knees and gasped, breathing in fresh air and breathing out the bitter taste of them and the Magic that had created them.
She heard the yells but it was distant. Far off. She shut her eyes focussing on breathing out every last bit of them from her.
Chelsi ran up and knelt down beside her. “That was unbelievable.” She said half laughing. “Are you okay?” She added concerned.
“I will be.” Alice said shuddering as her own Magic subsided within her.
“How did you manage that?”
“It’s Magic.” She said with a small smile and then she turned hearing the thud of footsteps and seeing soldiers approaching. She got to her feet recognising their sigil on their chests and knowing that he was there somewhere.
Her heart swelled and she knew she had found him. She had found Fain.
The first soldier approached them almost cautiously and Alice realised with relief that it was Ridley.
“We heard you had a problem with some Spectrals.” She said. He frowned in response.
“What are you doing here?” He asked slowly.
“We came to help.”
Ridley sighed before answering. “I’m not sure that’s how he’ll see it.” He warned before turning and leading them both back to where Alice knew Fain was waiting.
She glanced at him and he was looking first at Chelsi confused before he looked at her and the look he gave her made her heart stop.