080 Encounters · 15
ifting its head, the creature that lay beneath the Lucifalz turned its reptilian gaze onto Chain and the others. Flicking it’s snake like tongue in and out of its mouth, the creature rose and revealed that there were more reptilian features to it than just its eyes. The easiest way to describe the creature would be if an eagle had crossed with a snake and a bat. Though the bat-winged serpent with eagle like talons had even more defining features that set it apart. A mouth full of sword like teeth and a barb at the end of its tail dripping liquid fire. That and as it stood up, it’s body alone matched Finch’s Dolmen in size. Maye identified it for the others as she looked down her rifle at the monstrosity.
“Of all the places to encounter a wyvern. Though, it’s scales seem more like bark…”
“Then this is the Ambrosial beast that has defiled Lady Atheaeldre’s gifts⁈”
“It looks like it.”
Providing a casual answer to Squawk’s question, Drop only seemed to fuel his anger at the creature’s existence.
“I swear, I really will kill it!”
“Not so fast Squawk.”
Though raring to have at it, Squawk’s readiness was put on hold as Chain put her hand between him and the wyvern. Looking up to assail her for daring to stop him, the sparkling eyes and enthusiastic smile on her face stayed his words. Chain was excited and there was no hiding it.
“Why don’t you leave this to me Squawk? I’m the Sa·B·er after all, and this seems like the perfect substitute to take out my frustration on because of the dragon I can’t get out of my head.”
“Can we beat it though?”
“Don’t worry Drop. I’m not half-baked and have a lot of stress to work through.”
“It doesn’t seem that way to me heretic. The smile on your face and the sparkle in your eyes looks more like you’re just excited fight it.”
“Hrm~! Is there anything wrong with that⁈”
Turning a pout onto Maye, Chain challenged her to stand against her enthusiasm. Much as she challenged her, she did not give her a chance to answer as her enthusiasm had already drowned out her sense of reason.
“I’m an adventurer, and I’m also a Sa·B·er so I can actually try and fight a big monster like this without a Dolmen. I want to give it a shot and see how I do.”
“Does the concept of dying not exist in that thick skull of yours, you idiot⁈”
“This coming from the young man who had to be stopped by her before charging it himself.”
Maye’s biting counter earned her a furious look from Squawk, but as he had no worthwhile argument, no words joined his look. Maye smiled, taking some small pleasure in her little victory and looked again towards their foe.
“Though I’ve heard of Sa·B·ers defeating monsters such as these without the use of Dolmen’s, but those tales reek of the embellishment of legends.”
“For a sister of the Cardinal Church, you have very little faith in the powers we possess that require Cardinal’s Light to save us from.”
The voice from behind them caused the whole group to spin about to see who had joined them and Chain and Drop both slumped their shoulders and groaned.
“Is that any response to show a fellow Sa·B·er, Chainmaid.”
“And who exactly is this idiot?”
“Exactly that Squawk. Him and his brother won’t leave me alone and I totally forgot he was here after you three showed up.”
“That’s so heartless of you Chainmaid.”
Lute Mouser’s smiling face did not seem to be the expression of one hurt by Chain’s words, and he causally approached the group. Maye leveling her rifle on him brought him to a stop, however.
“How unseemly for a Sister to point a gun at a Sa·B·er.”
“Don’t forget that I have already born witness to you attacking another Sa·B·er. You are barely more than a Rogue Sa·B·er yourself.”
“Oh, you mean that. It was all a misunderstanding really. You see, when brother and I were introduced to the Chainmaid, we were told that the cleansing ceremony had failed. That the Light of Cardinal faded out without ever touching her. As a result, her escape from the Cardinal Church fell on brother and I to rectify.”
“I can’t believe that you two would have followed her this far without once bearing witness to the Light this heretic possesses.”
“Tsk, tsk Sister. There is that lack of faith of yours again. But this seems the perfect opportunity to show me. After all, we have a wyvern bearing down on us and need to get out of the way.”
Risking turning their backs on Lute, Chain and company discovered he was not lying and barely had time to get out of the way as the wyvern lunged headfirst. Grabbing Squawk by the collar of his long coat, Chain took off in the opposite direction of Maye. As the centaur opened fire on the wood like carapace of the beast, she proved an apt distraction allowing Lute to engage in conversation as Squawk fought to keep his clothes from choking him.
“So, what do you say Chainmaid? With brother occupied with that Foreigner and me already here, does it not seem the perfect opportunity to try working together?”
“Last time you offered to work together I was supposed to give myself up to you two.”
Chain’s disbelieving pout earned a laugh from Lute and he waved his hand behind him. Following his gaze to the wyverns back, Chain pouted harder as he spoke.
“I am a sworn Sa·B·er in service of the Cardinal Church. I would never willingly harm a member of the church, and you know you stand a better chance at victory with my skill. Besides, there is something else I want right now. I can’t complete any of my jobs without it.”
“And what’s that?”
“A safe way out of Ambrosia. From what I understand, you are the only one here who knows how to leave safely.”
“Is that really all?”
“Don’t be mistaken Chainmaid, there are plenty of ways for my job involving you to end, but none of that maters if I am trapped here. That is unless you are so heartless as to abandon a man in Ambrosia.”
Chain slid to a halt and dropped Squawk unceremoniously. Gasping for breath, the young nāti man was about to start yelling but was cut off by Chain giving him an order.
“Squawk, Drop, support us.”
“A wise decision Chainmaid.”
Lute smiled pleasantly and Chain pouted furiously. She did not offer him any further arguments however and snapped the fingers of her left hand. In response the small sphere of Light that answered that summon appeared above her palm and she closed her hands around it. Squawk stared in amazement and disbelief as Chain’s bow of Light took form.
“My word you idiot! Did you just open an Ambrosial Gate in your hand and then convert it into Light? Your idiocy is beyond even my wildest imaginings!”
“Shut up Squawk. There may not be enough of this wyvern for me to take all of my bad mood out on.”
Spinning her sword into a reverse grip with just the pommel in the palm of her hand, Chain raised her bow and drew back an arrow of light. As her cape blew into being like a jet of fire like Darkness, Chain yelled at the wyvern.
“Hey! You big dumb lizard! Leave her alone! I’m the one you should be paying attention to!”
The first arrow flew, and then the second, third, fourth, and fifth with a repeated motion that was almost too fast for Squawk to notice happening. Lute whistled as he studied the Light held in Chain’s hand and turned his attention to the destination of the arrows to see how potent they were. The roaring of the wyvern as it reeled back, flames bursting out of its neck, spoke volumes of the lethality of Chain’s Light. Effective as Chain’s attack was though, the injury seemed only to injure the beast as it turned its attention away from the rather relieved Maye, to Chain.
“So even if you harm the exterior, a lethal blow seems unlikely with an internal body of fire.”
“It’s the nature of this domain’s master while it is here. Normally it must be removed from Ambrosia to slay it.”
Drop’s comments on the invincibility of their foe in response to Lute’s observation was not reassuring. Chain did not let it bother her and watched as the wyvern took to the air as she readied another arrow and asked a question.
“Hey, Drop, do you think you could dose those flames?”
“We could try, but the exterior is wood and would likely grow if exposed to Ambrosial water.”
“No wonder the other spirits ran then. Wood to push through the earth and hard enough to contain a raging inferno within that would consume any other flame. In that case, do you think you can at least protect us from its fire?”
“That shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Good, because it’s about to breathe”
As Chain predicted, the wyvern finished gathering the energy within itself and belched forth a ball of destructive fire at her, Lute and Squawk. Squawk’s voice rising up over the raging flames and hissing steam that swirled around them told Chain that Drop was successful for now at least at fending off the flames and she listened to what Squawk had to say.
“NEXT TIME YOU IDIOT, LURE IT AWAY FROM ME‼”
“Don’t shout at me Squawk, shout at it. I bet you could probably knock it out of the air with your voice.”
“And risk it coming after me directly! Are you mad⁈”
“Well, I though it was a good idea.”
With a shrug, Chain disregarded Squawk and let arrow after arrow of Light loose into the sky as the flames cleared away. Each arrow found it’s mark in the wyvern’s delicate wing membranes and tore right through. The size of Chain’s arrows versus the size of her opponent however meant the holes were inconsequential to the monstrous beast and it did not fall from the sky. Chain pouted with disappointment without noticing that Squawk was already making a break for the cave. Squawk was not the only one on the move though as Lute took advantage of the distraction caused by Chain’s arrows to throw his own blade skyward, lodging it into the wyvern’s neck. The wyvern jerked in response and yanked Lute skyward, a motion he anticipated and leapt in time to the yank so he could rise above the wyvern. The wire between his ring and sword pommel growing lax as his jump reached its zenith, he prepared for the next part of his attack. With a smile he yanked on the wire to pull his sword towards him as several sparks of light raced down the wire. The resulting explosions and collision of forces somehow worked out with the wyvern’s neck being blown further skyward, allowing Lute to land on it near his sword. With another yank on the wire and more explosion inducing sparks, Lute ran opposite his sword along the wyvern’s neck drawing his weapon through its wooden flesh and leaving a flaming trail behind it. As he ran out of room to run, he simply jumped off. Swinging fiercely, he traced a path back around the wyvern and above it again before launching into the air above it once more. His sword came free as he rose and the wyvern’s head did the same, the decapitated beast falling out of the sky. Before it did though, Lute threw his blade one more time into the wyvern’s body. Then, with a spectacular display of his ability managed to swing and jump from the falling creature’s body so that he landed safely on the ground with his sword resting on his shoulder as the wyvern’s body hit the ground.
“Unbelievable… So that is the power of a Sa·B·er…”
Maye was dumbstruck as she watched the dust cloud that rose up around the fallen wyvern, and Squawk was no different from where he peaked out of the cave entrance. Chain was less impressed and pouted defiantly at Lute beside her.
“I bet I could have done that too.”
“Maybe you could have with the right tools and experience Chainmaid. Now though, we should finish up here– ⁈”
Lute stopped short as the wyvern’s headless, flame spewing neck rose up, followed a moment latter by its body standing. Lowering its neck to where its head lay on the ground, the flames within joined and the creature was once more whole again. Straightening up and spreading its massive wings, the wyvern let out mighty roar. The roar summoned a flock of monsters into the sky that near blocked out the Eyes of Icarus and the Foreigner city above. Then the wyvern it lowered its head and glared at Chain and Lute with flaming eyes.
“Heh heh… Well, this is bad…”
Copyright ©2019 Joshua D Tarwater