This chapter also goes with Chapter 18 - Slaver, of WTWFTD. I know I said some of your characters would maybe be appearing in Chapter Three, but unfortunately I haven't managed to fit them in yet. Soweeeeeee... Soon, awesome readers, soon! :D
Characters appearing in this chapter: Nadiko (elf) & Sai (wolf Guardian) ~ Wolfheart //// Kanyk Scarletblade (angel) & Ethan/Darkscar (dragon Guardian) ~ Katherine_Scarletblade
"That's my target," the angel growled, and Nadiko saw his eyes flicker to the wolf Guardian. "Kill him, and I'll kill your friend there."
Nadiko's eyes narrowed. Did he really believe he could get through her?
"Kill him, and I'll kill you." She didn't stop glaring, but the angel simply shrugged as another figure entered the room behind him.
"Then I think we have an agreement," he said coldly.
Nadiko's scowl deepened, but what could she do? There were two of them, and she was wounded. The angel looked strong, but she could handle him. The second figure, she wasn't so sure about.
The slaver suddenly threw himself towards one of his bodyguard's weapons, seizing it as he charged at Nadiko. Pathetic. And to think the angel was already calling out, as though she needed help.
Spinning around, she sliced her blade upwards, cutting a clean blow through the slaver's hand. There was something satisfying about the way he screamed in pain, something even more rewarding when the angel's knife sunk into his chest. If she didn't hate him so much for stealing the person she wanted to kill, Nadiko might have complimented him.
"If you want to get out," the angel assassin said, glancing hatefully once over his shoulder to the slaver's body, "I recommend you taking the left wing of the fortress. It's cleared of guards."
With that, he turned around. His companion shot them both a mildly amused look before following him.
Nadiko returned to the wolf Guardian's side, heaving him over her shoulders and heading towards the door.
The left wing it was.
Kanyk and Ethan heard the prisoners before they saw them - or, more accurately, heard the desperate cries of the prison guards. Had somebody already freed them? Who?
She glanced to Ethan as they darted down another set of stone stairs. A fleeing guard charged up the stairs, and Ethan surged forwards, bringing his fist down on the dwarf's head before swinging a kick into his abdomen. Groaning, the guard toppled down the stairs, and the two of them continued running.
They reached the scene of conflict.
Prisoners of all kinds - Alpha races, animals, even a griffin - darted through the hall. Kanyk pitied whichever of the guards the griffin attacked. Its claws sliced through the stomachs of two dwarves before it turned on another prisoner - a weak, starving human.
Ethan, as stupidly bold and rash as always, ran out, slamming into the human and knocking them both away from the griffin. Kanyk furrowed her brow, whistling sharply and drawing the animal's attention before it could attack her friend.
Its head snapped around, and its eyes were feral with terror. It needed to escape.
"Help the others!" she shouted to Ethan, opening her wings and trying to evade the creature's razor-sharp beak and claws. Why did Ethan have to be so impulsive?
Kanyk beat her wings and propelled herself through another archway. She needed to get the griffin outside, before it tried to harm any of the other prisoners. The guards had been cruel; casualties on their side were more than welcome, but to allow the newly liberated prisoners to die?
As much as she valued her own life, Kanyk couldn't allow that.
She darted through another door and out into the piercing cold of the night. Behind her, the griffin screeched again, the sound splintering into her ears as its creator charged at her. Kanyk had to get away from it - and fast. Heart hammering violently against her chest, she dived into the forest below, taking cover below the trees. Above her, the griffin slashed through branches. She had seconds at most.
With practised fluidity, she uncapped a vial of poison, dipping an arrow into the liquid before recapping it and shoving it back into her pocket.
The griffin crashed through the trees, and she spun around, notching the arrow and releasing in a single movement.
Screaming in rage, the griffin reeled back, trying to free the arrow from its rear leg. Kanyk darted aside as it tore through trees. The poison had to work. If it didn't... She opened her wings again and took to the skies, evading the creature's claws.
Gradually, its movements slowed; its crying becoming feeble. Relief undulated through the angel's body as the griffin dropped to the ground.
"I'll be back to help you soon," she promised the unconscious animal. The poison would keep it asleep for ten minutes at least. She and Ethan had to help the others escape by then.
Kanyk turned around, heading for the building. Already, she could hear the overwhelmingly loud screams of the guards. Ethan must be causing hell.
Another figure caught her eye, and she glanced downwards. An elf, she realised, flying closer, carrying somebody from the fortress. Ethan could handle the guards, she decided quickly. The elf needed her help.
Descending, she landed before the elf, placing her bow on the ground to show she wouldn't hurt her - or the boy she was carrying.
"Have you escaped from the slaver?" she asked slowly. The elf nodded, her silvery eyes gleaming with mistrust. "Your friend is wounded," Kanyk added. "Wait here, and my friend can help him."
"How do I know I can trust you?"
Kanyk sighed. "He needs help. I guess... I guess you have to."
The elf nodded. "Fine. Try to hurt him, and I'll kill you." Carefully, she lifted the boy from her shoulders, setting him against the trunk of a tree and standing beside him. Kanyk noticed the wound across her left shoulder, but said nothing. The elf appeared to be handling the bite-mark well.
It was then she noticed the unnaturally white skin of the boy, and the black markings that covered it. They didn't look like tattoos, more like marks on a Guardian...
"Your friend," Kanyk said hesitantly, meeting the elf's eyes. "Is he... a Guardian?"
The elf lunged for a throwing knife, flicking it towards Kanyk with practised strength. Somehow, Kanyk managed to throw herself aside, her wings propelling her upwards. Moving to stand before the Guardian, the elf narrowed her eyes, unsheathing her two blades.
"I will defend him with my life, Guardian or not!" the elf called up.
"My friend is a Guardian as well!" Kanyk called back. "You don't have to be afraid of me! I promise!"
Slowly, the elf lowered her blades. "Very well," she said finally. Kanyk landed before her, her lips dancing with a slight smile.
"I thought I was the only one to befriend a Guardian," she said. "I'm Kanyk."
"Nadiko," the elf replied, giving her own name. "Thanks for offering to help." She paused before adding, "I think there's another one of us, as well. There was an angel with strange wings, and he was with a girl who had skin that looked kind of silvery grey."
"Really?" Kanyk laughed. "That's amazing!"
"He killed the slaver," Nadiko muttered ruefully. "I wanted to get rid of the worm myself."
Kanyk found herself laughing. "Do you think he freed the prisoners?"
Nadiko shook her head, grinning despite the wounds covering her body. "Nope. That was us."
"Really? Then I must thank you, on our my behalf and theirs."
Nadiko shrugged. "I couldn't let them sit there."
Smiling, Kanyk nodded. "It seems we are alike."
Before the elf could answer, Ethan's voice rang out through the night.
"Kanyk! Found you!"
His eyes darted to Nadiko and the other Guardian. "What are they-"
"They're friends," Kanyk said quickly. "And the Guardian needs healing."
"Guardian?" Ethan echoed, his red-tinted eyes widening as he looked closer at the elf's friend. He whistled in surprise. "You're not the only member of the Alpha races who's not crazy, then." He grinned. "Move back. I'll need to turn before I can heal him."
The elf picked up the Guardian, and the two of them stepped away from Ethan. Scales extended from his greyish skin as his limbs snapped outwards, twisting into the powerful legs of a dragon. Wings burst from his shoulder blades, and his tail snaked outwards. The process was so familiar that it no longer took Kanyk's breath, but one look at Nadiko and she saw that it awed the elf.
Darkscar - for that was his Guardian name - bowed his head towards the Guardian boy, extending a talon towards his chest. Kanyk glanced to Nadiko, realising that the elf was reaching nervously for a knife.
"He needs to do that," Kanyk said quietly, as Darkscar touched a talon to the boy's chest. A faint red light started to radiate from his talon, and Kanyk could feel its warmth from here.
Darkscar stepped back, moving his talon, and the Guardian spluttered weakly, his eyes flickering open.
Nadiko ran to his side, and Kanyk watched, smiling, as the elf reached him.
"I thought you'd leave me..." the boy managed, and even from here, she could see the joy dancing in his eyes.
"No way," Nadiko shot back. "We're even, now."
The Guardian smiled, and Kanyk found herself looking at Darkscar, her overjoyed expression matching his.
They were not alone.