So it all came down to this.
Xenovia recoiled in horror as the dragon bit down on her sword and crushed the blade into dozens of tiny pieces. Now she was weaponless, and the injuries Torrs had sustained had rendered his right arm completely useless, putting both of them in a bind. The only thing they had left was the secret technology of the ancients, but utilizing it would be risky for Xenovia, who realized she had no idea how destructive its power could be.
The dragon stood up from its perch and swung its spiky tail at them. Torrs jumped out of the way just in time to avoid taking a nasty hit, but the beast let out an angry roar and came dashing towards him again, baring its teeth.
“We need to run, Princess!” Torrs yelled to her, dodging a swipe of its claws.
Xenovia shook her head as she leapt out of range of its tail. “No! If we turn our backs, we’re done for!”
The beast slammed its body against the walls of the canyon in rage, causing heavy rocks and debris to come crashing down on all sides, blocking any paths of escape. Fire foamed at the dragon’s mouth as its ruby eyes gazed at Xenovia with greediness and hunger, then, it let loose a deadly breath of hot flames.
Instinctively, Xenovia dove out of the way and hid behind the shadow of a large boulder. Torrs jumped in behind her as the fire came rushing towards their vulnerable shelter.
“What do we do now?” she shouted.
“How am I supposed to know? I wasn’t expecting to run into a dragon all the way out here!” he hissed back.
“I wasn’t expecting it either, you know!”
“This is exactly why I said we should have gone the other way!”
Why was he acting like this was all her fault? The real problem was the traitorous men hot on their heels. If any one of them got their hands on the ancient weapon Xenovia was carrying, the whole world would be put in danger!
The dragon’s scorching breath was heating the area to an uncomfortable degree, making her throat dry and her body sweat. They needed a plan and they needed it fast!
“You’re supposed to be the big hero, surely you know how to kill a dragon? ” Xenovia demanded.
Torrs shook his head, “Don’t you understand why there’s no known way to defeat a dragon? No one ever has!”
Her blood went cold. No one had ever killed a dragon before? Not ever?
Xenovia could hear the beast shaking off its wings from behind their hiding spot, building its momentum for battle.
“That’s impossible. There must be some way to fight them!”
“Then I guess we better hurry up and figure it out, otherwise we’re toast. Literally.” Torrs deadpanned.
She frowned. This was no time for jokes!
Suddenly, the dragon let out a deafening roar that echoed through the air. All other sounds were muted by the beast’s shrill cry, and it filled Xenovia’s head with pressure, leaving her feeling dizzy in just a matter of seconds. She covered her ears in a pitiful attempt to protect them from the noise. Torrs tried to do the same, but his broken arm only allowed him to cover one ear at a time, which didn’t bode well as the sound became louder with each passing moment.
Xenovia plunged her hand into her bag and pulled out the jar of gold wax the King had given her. Sure, it was meant for healing purposes, but wax was still wax, and she had an idea...
Xenovia grabbed two chunks and shoved them in her ears, blocking out as much of the roar as she could. Then she gently did the same for Torrs, grimacing at the blood already pouring from his exposed right ear.
“Thanks, Princess…” he whispered with a weak voice.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
Torrs nodded, though Xenovia could tell that his answer was far from the truth. In fact, they both knew that he was in no condition to be fighting monsters like this. Their last battle had taken a hefty toll on his body, and this time, any mistake or lapse in judgement could easily spell death for the Ivarson soldier.
Xenovia could feel the dragon stomping its way over to them, causing the ground to quake with each step it took. She took a few deep and even breaths to steady herself and ease the shakiness in her body. Then she inched her way over to the edge of the boulder, hoping to run out and distract the beast long enough to pull its attention away from Torrs. However, right as Xenovia was about to peak her head out, the dragon’s shadow passed over them. She froze, watching as the beast encircled them from above.
If it could fly above them, there was truly nowhere to hide.
No! Things couldn’t be allowed to end like this! Two Kingdoms were depending on her to complete this mission. If Xenovia failed, hundreds of thousands of lives would be lost to the war and the destruction that was soon to follow. Men, women, children, all dying in vain in a matter of days! Losing this battle would mean losing her father, and Xenovia realized with a pang of recognition that it would also mean losing Torrs. The irony of recognizing her feelings for the enemy spy just in time to watch him die!
That was simply something Xenovia could not accept. Not now, not ever!
Xenovia gripped the extrawordly ancient weapon hidden in her jacket. Neither time nor luck were on her side, but what kind of warrior would she be if she allowed such an outcome to occur? All the fighting and struggles she had experienced on this journey had led her to this point, and now, only one two options remained: either she would die as a foolish princess, or she would live to become the greatest hero the House of Basileos had ever seen.
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