Katie glanced at her for a moment, then looked over at the staircase. It was in shambles. Brianna had blown it apart. Katie hadn’t realized that she was so powerful. And where was Ridley?
“I simply decided to stop your advance,” Brianna said in a wicked voice. “Now, you both shall die.”
“Brianna, what happened to you?” Katie shouted.
“I have obtained powers far greater than yours,” she said. Something wasn’t right. Katie knew Brianna. Or, at least, she thought she did.
“But we are your friends,” she said.
“I need not friends,” she said coldly. Katie stepped forward in front of Richard.
“What did they do to you?” she asked Brianna.
“Lord Zarha wants the sword and ring,” Brianna said, ignoring Katie’s question. “You will give it to me, or I will have to kill you slowly.”
Katie heard a groan. Glancing sideways, she saw Ridley standing. He was near the top of the stairs, too far to jump over the gaping hole in them. He had blood running down his cheek.
“We won’t give you anything,” Richard said. “Brianna, don’t do this.”
“It is my duty. I do as he tells me to,” Brianna said blankly. “Now, give them here, or else.”
“How did he know we had the sword?” Richard asked. “Oh, you told him.” He sounded disgusted.
“That’s right,” she said. “Now, hand it over, or I will have to torture the girl.” Richard pulled Katie back next to him.
“Brianna,” Katie whispered.
“Fine. If you wish to do it the hard way, so be it,” Brianna said, advancing.
Richard pulled free his sword. Its ring vibrated the air. Brianna paused for a moment.
“Why have you turned on us?” he shouted to her.
“Because I can get anything I want. I can have all the powers in the world,” Brianna said, smirking. She walked forward again. Her voice, to Katie, sounded blank, as if something wasn’t right.
“Don’t make me do anything that I will regret!” Richard shouted.
“Then hand over the sword and I won’t have to harm the girl. Lord Zarha wants her. You are to die,” Brianna said. Her long brown hair swished around as she raised her arms.
“No!” Katie shouted, throwing her own arms up. Zoey hadn’t taught her how to use her magic, but instinct took over.
Brianna released a lightning bolt that streaked for Richard. Katie released her own, directly at the one racing for Richard. They collided in mid-air and shot off in different directions. They each slammed into a wall, which crumbled.
“So, you know how to play?” Brianna said, her voice chilling. “Fine.” She pulled free a sword at her waist and charged them.
Richard shoved Katie out of the way. She stumbled and fell to the ground as he raised his sword and ran at Brianna. With his sword raised, he attacked first, but was parried away.
Brianna spun and counterattacked, taking advantage of his opening. Richard dodged out of the way, receiving a shallow cut at his ribs. He cried out in pain, but lashed back instantly. He wasn’t going to allow her to hit him again. A sparkle of gold moved over his wound, healing him as he fought.
Brianna parried and dodged his attacks at ease. She didn’t even appear to be tiring. Only a minute into the fight and Richard was panting with effort. He wouldn’t last very long in the fight.
“Katie!” Ridley shouted. Katie looked over to see him standing at the edge of the stairs. He couldn’t advance anymore. “Can you help me?” Katie shook her head. She didn’t know how to use her powers for such a thing.
“Is there another way down?” she asked him.
“I’ll look,” he said, running up the stairs. “Be careful!” He vanished up the steps. Katie turned back to Richard and Brianna.
Katie couldn’t understand why Brianna was acting in such as a way. They had been friends since they were little. She wouldn’t just suddenly turn on them. What could possibly have happened for her to turn on them?
Brianna twirled out of the way of Richard’s sword and struck back. Richard almost didn’t have enough time to parry her. He was getting more and more tired. Katie thought that when the sword gained its true power, that it was suppose to make Richard fight better. Was there something wrong? And besides, Brianna had never been a better fighter than Richard.
Richard parried an attack and launched his own. His body got out of control and Brianna spun out of the way and kicked him with great strength. He tried to stop his fall, but he slammed into the ground anyways. He grunted when he made contact with the floor.
Katie was running. She ran forward, hoping to help. Brianna’s sword spiraled through the air as it made a descend. She was going to kill him, here and now. Katie threw her hands out again, but nothing happened. Her magic wouldn’t respond to her call.
“No!” she screamed in a panic.
Another sword was pulled free of it sheath. Robert swung his sword over his head as he entered the room from a hall to Katie’s right. He was quicker and closer than she was. He jumped in front of the sword and spun her sword free of her hand.
Her wide eyes turned up to him. He held the tip of the sword to her throat. An evil smile touched her lips. Her eyes glared.
“So, you are going to kill me?” she asked. She smirked when he didn’t move. “I thought not.”
Robert took a step back, still holding his sword up to her face. Richard stood. Katie stood next to him with her hand on his shoulder. Brianna noticed that she was really outnumbered now. She lifted her hand and, in a swirl of dust that came out of nowhere, she vanished.
Robert stood panting. He looked at where Brianna had been. His sword lowered to the ground as he turned to Richard and Katie.
“She was bad,” he said. “I never knew it.”
“Nor did we,” Katie said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have come.” Robert nodded as he replaced his sword in its sheath. “I’m sorry. I understand that you really cared for her.” Robert only nodded.
Running footsteps made them all turn to the right, to the hall which Robert had come through. Swords were yanked back out. A moment later, they were returned to their sheaths as they saw that it was only Ridley.
“Where is she?” Ridley shouted.
“Gone,” Robert said.
“That is a good question,” Katie whispered.
They remained silent for a while.
“We should get out of here,” Richard said. “We are in enemy territory.” The others nodded.
“Which way?” Katie asked.
“Back the way we came,” Ridley said, gesturing to the hall they had come through. Together, they started for the hall.
“Give me the sword,” came a voice. Katie, being in the back, spun around. And there, standing at the foot of the steps, was Lord Zarha.
Zarha moved so quick that no one had time to react. He was suddenly there by Katie’s side. He grabbed her arm and yanked her backwards. He pulled a knife free of its sheath and touched it to her neck.
“No!” Richard roared, pulling free his sword.
It was the prophecy taking over. Katie knew it. She knew what was going to happen here. Zarha was going to kill her and then kill Richard.
“Richard! Run!” she shouted. “Just go! Keep the sword from him!”
“I won’t leave you,” Richard said through gritted teeth.
“How touching,” Zarha said, chuckling. “You finally told her? Good for you, boy.” Zarha pulled the knife away from Katie’s throat and shoved her to the ground. He placed the knife in its sheath and pulled free his sword.
Richard was panting with anger. Ridley and Robert stood just behind him, their swords out and ready. “If you hurt her, you will die,” Ridley said.
“Hmm? Give me the sword and you won’t have to worry about me hurting her,” Zarha taunted.
“No,” Katie said. “Don’t give it to him.”
Richard glared at Zarha for a long time.
“Well, if you don’t care about her enough to save her life, then I guess I’ll just dispose of her,” Zarha said, raising the sword in his arms.
“NO!” Richard screamed. “I’ll give you the sword as long as you don’t hurt her.” He lowered his sword and took a step towards Zarha and Katie.
“Richard, no!” Katie shouted. “Don’t give it to him!”
“Shut it, girl,” Zarha shouted at her and backhanded her hard. Katie lay crumpled, the taste of blood in her mouth.
“Leave her alone!” Richard growled as he came closer.
“Give me the sword and I won’t hurt the girl anymore,” Zarha said, his hand outstretched. “But if you try anything funny and she will be the first to die.”
Katie slowly pulled free the dagger in her boot. If Zarha killed her now, Richard wouldn’t give him the sword. She had to stop him before Zarha got the sword. When the dagger was out, she moved as quickly as possible.
She plunged the dagger into Zarha’s leg as hard as she could.
Zarha screamed in pain and he brought his sword up and thrust it down on Katie’s head. She heard Richard and Ridley shouting something, but it was all lost in her panic. She saw the blade as it was only a few feet from her eyes. She knew Richard would never give up the sword now.
There was a loud bang and a burst of light. Just as before, Katie thought she was dead. She felt dizzy and sick. A sudden piercing pain told her that she was not dead, but certainly injured.
She was lying on her back, panting in pain. She felt blood running down her shoulder to the ground. She could feel the magic trying to heal her. She was so low on strength at the moment that she knew her magic wouldn’t be able to heal her very well.
“Katie?” Richard shouted from beside her.
“Katie?” Ridley whispered, sitting right by her side. “Are you okay?”
“Ow,” was all that came out of her mouth. Ridley let out a breath of relief.
“She’s alive. Richard, she’s alive,” Ridley said.
“Let me up,” Katie said, lifted her uninjured arm for help. The pain was dull and her shoulder was numb, but she was otherwise fine. It looked like her own magic had saved her at the last moment, but didn’t keep Zarha from actually hitting her. Once again, Katie was surprised by how quickly her magic too effect without her consent. This time the magic not only healed her, but also saved her from Zarha’s death blow. She had a large, halfway healed gash on her left shoulder now. It was just barely bleeding still.
Ridley carefully helped her to her feet. Standing before her was Richard with his back to her. Several feet away was Zarha. He looked very angry with a large scratch all the way up his right cheek into his scalp. Blood ran down the side of his face.
Katie grabbed the hilt of her sword and pulled it free. It hurt to hold it with both hands. She took a step forward and placed her hand on Richard’s back for an instant. She felt him twitch when her hand lightly touched him. Instantly, she moved away from him.
Richard looked back at her for a moment and then turned back to Zarha. His eyes seemed to be on fire with anger.
“What did you do to Brianna?” he shouted.
“Only what was best for her,” Zarha said, smiling. He shook his dark brown hair out of his eyes. His blood red eyes turned to her. “You got lucky, darling.” Richard held his sword ready. Zarha’s eyes took in the blade.
“I am amazed that you have been able to change the blade to diamond,” he said. “But, it won’t help you here.”
Richard took a step forward. He had been so sure he wasn’t going to fight Zarha, and yet here he was, ready for battle. Zoey had been right. When Zarha had threatened Katie, Richard got so mad that he wanted blood.
“Do you wish to fight me?” Zarha mocked. Richard stepped forward. Katie felt Ridley and Robert pressing towards her. She threw her arms out to block them.
“Fight him, and you will die,” she said. “This is Richard’s fight.” Ridley went to push past her, but Robert grabbed his arm and kept him back.
“If you want to help Travina, you had better do as she says,” Robert said. “I know what it’s like to lose someone you love.”
Katie closed her eyes for a moment, fearing to look. She opened them again, fearing not to look. She loved Richard and wanted him to be safe, but she knew what he must do. She said a silent prayer to the Gods to watch over and guide him.
He was not only doing this because Zarha had threatened her, he was doing this for Brianna. She could tell that he knew Brianna wasn’t acting on her own. Something Zarha did to her had caused her to do this. Maybe, just maybe, if Richard killed him, he would save Brianna.
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