The fighting around them came to a brief pause as combatants on both sides turned to watch the two assassins face off against each other. The Crow glanced around, a calm but intensely focused look in his eyes.
"Traitor?" he mused, the faintest hint of a smile appearing on his lips. "Depends on your point of view."
Without warning, he slipped under his opponent's guard, slashing at him with the dagger in his right hand. Still sneering, Kharis dodged the blow and opened his mouth—most likely to ridicule the assassin for his failed attack—but he never saw the knife in his left hand. Ardreth let out a howl of rage as Kharis fell and blindly rushed in to avenge his brother; faster than the eye could follow, the Crow had pulled a black spike from his belt and let it sail through the air—and both the elf twins lay at his feet.
Vivi felt a jolt run through her as their bodies crumpled to the ground, but in the very next instant, the battle resumed in full force. She tore her gaze away from the fallen elves and briefly saw Aenwyn charging at the Crow with her sword lifted for the kill. The assassin drew his own sword, skillfully parrying Aenwyn's first attack—but soon, the chaos of the battle drowned out everything else. Over the din, she heard a faint but shrill "Yippee Ki-Yay!" followed by an equally shrill curse, and looking up, she spotted the fairy hurtling past her. Without really thinking, she reached out and snatched the little creature in mid-air. She was obviously intoxicated, and her attempts at resistance were enthusiastic but thoroughly uncoordinated—the impact with Vivi's hand had been enough for her to drop her little sword, and although she wriggled, screamed, and cursed until her face turned blue, Vivi kept a firm grip on her.
"Release me!" the fairy squealed. "Fear me!" Vivi just snorted in response, making it clear that she did, in fact, not fear her, which seemed to infuriate the fairy even more. "Fool!" she spat, cursing like a sailor. "You'll regret this!"
"Regret what?" Vivi asked sardonically. "It's not like there's much of you to fear."
The fairy froze, her face radiating pure shock and indignation. "Not much to fear?!" she howled. "Try asking my body count, you twat!"
Vivi rolled her eyes, not paying much attention to the fairy's continued ranting. She paused for a moment, keeping a wary eye on her surroundings as she pondered on what she should do with her little prisoner, but her thoughts were interrupted as a sudden and intense heat flared up around her head. She spun around, trying to find the source of the mysterious sensation, and found herself staring into the dark eyes of the old wizard. He was muttering the last few syllables of some ancient incantation, and his staff—to Vivi's alarm—was pointed right at her, the end of it shimmering with an eerie, blood-red glow. In a desperate attempt to break the wizard's spell, she raised her knife and lunged at him, but before she had even taken a single step, he vanished from her sight like smoke in the wind. Utterly confused, she turned around to look around the deck in search of him, but all she could see around her was smoke and shadows.
"What sort of magic..." she muttered, blinking several times and shaking her head in an attempt to regain her senses. She could still hear the shouting, the screaming, and the clashing of swords, but they seemed to have lost all meaning to her. She faintly wondered where the wizard had gone, but she didn't know why she cared. She felt herself become dizzy and took a few uncertain steps backward; she heard the clatter of the knife hitting the deck as her hands relaxed, and...
Vivi screamed in pain as she suddenly felt the fairy's surprisingly sharp teeth dig into her thumb. She stumbled backward in shock, tripping and falling against the railing, and instinctively flung the little creature away from her. The fairy didn't seem eager to continue her attack and simply flew away, shouting obscenities behind her, leaving Vivi lying dazed on the deck.