Updated: May 13, 2021
Naevys steeled her expression as she held the tip of her broadsword inches from her captor’s chest. She knew she shouldn’t trust this elf princess with her blade, but what choice did she have? If Princess Fayeth, next in line to the Wynorirs Throne, died before Naevys brought her to The Commodore, the bounty would be void. Naevys had risked too much for her efforts to go without reward.
Princess Fayeth flinched the moment Naevys made her decisive maneuver. The elf held her hands together for a moment, not realizing that her bindings released.
“Can you use a blade?” Naevys asked, using the torch in her left hand to check the tunnel again. By taking The Crags back to Elalar, they risked running into the dragonkin. But with the Wynorirs’ troops blockading the forests, it was Naevy’s only workable option.
“Are you expecting me to fight that thing?” Princess Fayeth asked.
“If my arrow was true, you won’t have to,” Naevys said. She handed the princess the torch, then the broadsword. “I’ll led us. You keep that flame held high and a firm grip on that sword.” She paused for a moment before saying, “And you can forget about running me through with my blade, unless you want to be eaten by this dragonkin’s mate. Where there’s one, there’s another lurking nearby.”
“That was a dragon?” the princess asked, lowering the flame.
The torch licked her red dress and Naevys pulled her recurve bow from her belt, blocking the flame from burning the princess’ leg. “Careful,” she growled. Naevy couldn’t allow any injury to the elf or The Commodore would find reason to withhold a percentage of the bounty.
Fayeth realized her mistake and held the torch at arm’s length, away from her body.
“Not a dragon, no. A distant relative of a dragon, yes,” Naevys said.
“Did you kill it?” the princess asked.
“Maybe,” Naevys said, gripping her recurve by the handle and slowly stalking forward in the dank tunnel. “If you hear a noise behind you, swing that blade and hold on tight,” she said, hoping the dragonkin’s mate was not in this same tunnel.
Naevys heard the elf princess swallow hard before advancing behind her. As they walked, they saw frothing puddles of dark green fluid smeared along the rocky floor. Naevys’ arrow hit its mark. The foaminess of the dragonkin’s blood told a lung shot.
The thought of the prince turning her blade on Naevys burned like a bright light in the back of Naevys’ mind. Continuing, with her mind racing over when and if the princess might make her move, she spotted a reflective glint from the torchlight in the darkness ahead. She held the flat of her palm at the princess, silently telling her to stop.
“What is it?” Fayeth whispered.
“Shh,” Naevys hissed, whirling around so quickly that her blond hair momentarily blinded her view of the elf princess. Naevys pressed her index finger to her pursed lips, showing her frustration.
Fayeth remained still. She held the blade pointed toward the ground and the torch aloft. Her dark eyes grew wide when she spotted the motionless tail of the dragonkin.
Naevys crept forward, constantly having to wave to Fayeth to keep the light with them. Naevys needed her bow and arrows at the ready if the dragonkin stirred. She approached the creature’s serpentine-like tail. The spikes protruding from its spine showed the creature's age. A mature dragonkin. Its body was barely visible in the tunnel ahead. Naevys pointed at the motionless body, seeing her arrow sticking out from behind the front shoulder of the dragonkin. “It’s dead,” she said, her mind instantly turning to the situation they now faced. She had given the princess a weapon and their only source of light. If Naevys didn’t act swiftly, the princess might put up a fight.
Naevys moved her right hand to the quiver of arrows on her back. She froze when she heard clicking teeth beyond where the dragonkin lay. Searching the darkness, Naevys spotted a pair of yellow eyes approaching. The dragonkin’s mate paused, observing its dead partner with a series of sniffs. Opening its jaws, the creature attacked.
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