War Heart

"Now wait a second," Alex grumbles still half asleep. Dylan stops speaking so Alex can continue.
"I missed the first part. So there are all these girls and they are trying to do what exactly?" He questions. I sigh, it pays to pay attention.
"There are only 4 girls, Nala the red headed bandit, Kara the fighter, black hair comes from Kilren where there are orange dyes, Ali the sword expert who was Dylan's best friend and Bella the leader with the unique ability to order people things and they have to do it. The four of them are trying to defeat Riley and his mutants because he somehow built a mind control system," I sum up for him. He takes in the information and slowly nods.
"So the red head, the fighter, the sword expert and the leader are going up against a vampire with a wicked talent to cause trouble," Alex shortens my summary. I frown at him.


10. Chapter 6 (Ali)

I brace myself for the worst. I'm a noble for crying out loud! True my father had bragged to everyone in town that I'm the best swords woman alive and true, I've beaten every royal guard when challenged but still. But that is also the reason I left. My father bragged too much and soon men of all shape and size came to marry me. Yuck! I had had no say in it so I packed my only pair of pants and left to find a new life. I study Nala's behavior carefully. Nala challenged me to a sword fight although she seems nervous. Her feet are spread too far apart and she holds her sword too tightly. I frown, this will be easy, Nala is so much better with bow and arrows. Nala begins to circle and I start to calculate my moves. Nala is unbalanced, unpredictable and unprepared. With a slight flick of my wrist I hit Nala's ankle with the flat part of my sword. Nala swings blindly as she stumbles backward. Before she gets her balance back I stick my foot out and trip Nala. Just as Nala's back hits the ground I point my sword at her chest. Slowly Nala raises her hands in surrender. I let her stand and walk back over to Kara who is watching from a boulder. Kara laughs as Nala throws her sword down in defeat.
"You think that's funny! Why don't you challenge her?" She growls as she sits on the boulder. Kara stands and draws her sword. As she steps closer I notice that she stands with equal weight on both feet. Definitely can not trip her. Kara's shoulders are back, a sign that she is distributing her weight evenly. She holds the sword steady as she begins to circle. Although she moves smoothly she lacks speed. A weakness. In a flash I'm out of Kara's sight, behind her. Kara spins around but she is too slow and I shove her in the back in her split second of being off balanced. Kara stumbles forward, trips on my foot and crumples to the ground. Just as I point my sword at Kara's neck I hear Bella walking toward us. 
"What's going on?" She questions, hand on her sword handle. Out of the corner of my eye I can see that Bella's cheeks are slightly pink. She had been blushing. I smile but it turns into a grimace as Kara kicks my leg making me lose my balance. I stumble forward a few steps but swing my sword out behind me. I hear the thud that lets me know I hit Kara. Kara falls to the ground and I point my sword against her neck. 
"Oh, I challenged Ali to a sword fight...and lost," Nala tells Bella. I hear Bella laugh under her breath and I let Kara get up. She walks back to the others and sits, defeated, beside Nala who laughs.
"Ha! Looks like I'm not the only one," she comments and Kara lets out a sigh of frustration. I notice a frown on Bella's face. 
"I have to try this," Bella mumbles as she draws her sword. I watch her behavior closely. Unlike Nala and Kara, Bella is agile and evenly balanced. She is confident and careful. I know she won't fall for any of my tricks. Her eyes show with determination and something else. My confidence boosts, whatever happened in the forest not only made Bella blush but it also stole her focus. Weakness. Bella is smart by not attacking first but she is wrong to join a fight with those thoughts racing through her head. I can hear Bella's heart beating fast. In a flash my sword tip taps the side of her boot. She sidesteps with perfect balance but before she can take another step I tap her thigh. She carefully guards herself and I frown. I estimate I have about two more tries before Bella will have enough. I swipe the flat part of my sword against her arm. She flinches and I know I'm closer. She easily swings her sword at me and I barely manage to back away with only a minor cut. I swallow uncertainly, with Bella's precisely controlled swings I'll never make it out alive. As she swings again I close my eyes and brush the flat part of my sword against Bella's wrist as it passes me.  I peek right as Bella's sword would have hit me. I notice a change in Bella's eyes. An emotion I've never seen from her eyes. In all the years I've known her. My mouth drops and Bella's sword misses. By a lot. I take that chance to strike and seconds later her sword goes flying through the air and into a nearby tree. Nala and Kara sit, dumbstruck at Bella's weakness. Her eyes widen and I smile like an idiot. Frowning, she makes an attempt to punch me and I quickly deflect with my sword. She draws a dagger from her boot and thrusts it forward in desperation. With ease I deflect the blow and the tip of the dagger meets the ground. I raise my sword to Bella's neck and slowly, she gives in. She surrenders. I watch carefully as Bella turns around and heads toward the tree to retrieve her sword. A grin creeps onto Bella's face as she comes back, swinging her sword around her fingers. She comes right up to me and picks her dagger up. 
"I don't usually get beaten," she starts, "but then again, I've never fought such a skilled swords woman." I can't hide my amazement. Bella rarely praises anyone let alone me. I beam with pride as I put my sword back in place. Nala sighs and follows Kara back over to the campfire where she gets ready to sleep. I walk over as well with Bella coming over last. I volunteer to take watch first and sit down fingering the end of my shirt. They all settle down and soon I can hear the gentle breathing coming from the others. Slowly, carefully, I slide the map out of Nala's things only pausing when she stirs in her sleep. The paper crinkles as I open it and my eyes widen. I know I'm the only one who has the most literary skills. True each of the others have a little but I'm the only one who can read the secret messages on the map. I know each map have messages on it, my father codes and decodes them for a living. I study the map closely, then gently begin to fold it. Soon I have a small square with words written all over it. I sigh in frustration, I can't read a word of what's written on the map. It's in a different language. And Nala will be furious when she finds out that I folded her map. I sigh, my time to guard is over and I should wake up one of the others girls to keep watch but I'm afraid to. Ever since my mother was stabbed in the back and killed I've had nightmares that leave me tearing up the blankets on my bed, fighting for my life. They are so horrible that I refuse to sleep at night. So, I decide, I will wait until it's almost dawn to wake someone else. A breeze blows through the area carrying the scent of a stranger. Only, he isn't a stranger. The bright blond haired man smiles and I frown in response.
"What are you doing here Dylan?" I demand as I stand with my hands on my hips. I am definitely not pleased to see him right now.
"Nice to see you too Alirayn" Dylan replies using my official name with my name in the front and my country on the end. With the way his sea accent is, my name comes out more as Alarin instead of Alirayn. I watch as his gaze flickers to Bella who sleeps soundly on the ground. He involuntarily touches his cheek and I burst.
"I thought I told you to stay away from her," I growl at Dylan who swallows at the ground. His teal eyes meet my gray ones.
"Why?" He pleads. I remain firm and my hand never leaves my sword handle.
"You know my answer," I retort as I cross my arms. Our conversation is getting louder and I'm afraid someone will wake up if it gets any louder.
"I know everything about you-"
"Which makes you my greatest enemy," I interrupt him, my voice no longer at a whisper.
"Which makes me your best friend," he finishes in a irritatingly veritable way. I know he's right. He always seems to be right.
"So why are you here?" I question suddenly curious as to why he's away from his ship. His gaze stays on the ground and only flickers to Bella once.
"Your father's been looking for you," he mumbles to the ground. Realization strikes, my dad sent Dylan to find me because he knew we're friends. Anger pierces me then it immediately turns into fear.
"You're not going to make me go back are you?" I ask worrying that he will. He smiles slightly and his gaze meets mine.
"I think I'll stick around a while longer," he smirks as he turns to leave. I frown as I watch him go knowing he'll come back for Bella but not knowing when. I gently shake Kara's arm and we swap places. I close my eyes and hope I can get a few hours of sleep before dawn.

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