Chapter 41:


The Scorned

Walking towards the battlefield, I was blown away by how loud everything was. When Selene and I were sitting farther away, all I could hear were explosions and her narrations. Now that we were closer, I felt like I could hear everything.

Every 'twang' from the bowstrings sent arrows screaming towards their targets. There was a split-second pause; then, a soldier would cry out in pain as the arrow embedded itself into its new home. With the number of arrows that were being fired, the screaming was never-ending.

Selene continued pulling me until we were well within the archers' range. With a big smile, she asked, "Isn't this better?" I hesitated with my response, uneasy with how close Selene was to danger. She let out a sigh and said, "I understand that you aren't used to this, but as you can see, I am enjoying myself. If I let you sit closest to the castle, will you try not to be so overbearing?"

I stared at Selene, caught off guard by her bluntness. After I composed myself, I said, "That sure is an interesting way to ask for what you want." Selene only shrugged and patted the ground next to her.

I joined her with a sigh and asked, "So what's so exciting about soldiers having personal-sized explosives?" Selene pointed towards the remaining soldiers who hadn't moved yet and stated, "It appears that both sides have archers with fire arrows. The soldiers will plant the explosives, and the Prince's archers will try to blow them up. I don't believe that one explosion will be enough to breach the castle walls, but a few should open up a nice hole."

I turned to look at Selene, who watched the battle with a massive smile on her face. I found it interesting how excited she was, but as long as she was happy, I was happy. I leaned back on my elbows as I heard Selene say, "Look at the cart farthest away from us. One of the soldiers holding a shield got shot and can't hold his shield properly. It won't be long before an archer spots this and takes advantage." I turned my attention to the cart and watched flaming arrows bounce off the shields protecting it. Suddenly, just as Selene had said, an arrow got through. There was a brief pause that was quickly followed by a deafening explosion. A huge fireball reached towards the sky, signaling half of the carts were gone.

Selene pushed herself into my side and said, "Thanks for this. I am having a lot of fun." I didn't need to respond as the two of us happily watched the soldiers' unproductive attacks. A few soldiers made it close to the castle walls, but they were shot down before they could plant their explosives. One thing that I noticed, was that the archers' attention seemed to shift from the remaining carts to the foot soldiers. It almost felt like the soldiers were more of a distraction than actual threats, designed to get the carts forward.

With a scoff, Selene said, "And people say that we demons are the evil ones. These soldiers are being commanded to run towards their death, and no one questions this." With a laugh, I said, "I don't think I will ever get used to you knowing what I am thinking." With a giggle, she replied, "Wait until you know my real name. Then things will get very interesting." I wanted to ask what she meant, but she had already shifted her attention back to the battle. I could only shake my head with how quickly her emotions changed.

The two of us sat in content silence, serenaded by the sound of dying soldiers. Scanning the field, I asked, "So does the prince have any chance of winning this?" Selene let out a long sigh and said, "As much as it pains me to say this, I think that things are in his favor." That caught me by surprise, and I quickly asked, "There is no way you can be serious, right?" Selene shook her head and replied, "It is true that no one on the castle's side has died, but look at how close the remaining carts have gotten to the walls."

I turned to look at the carts and was surprised by how far they had gotten. While I watched them slowly get pushed forward, I heard Selene say, "Once one of those explodes near the wall, the battle will heavily sway in the Prince's favor. This will boost the morale of the remaining soldiers, while any archers who survive the explosion will be demoralized. I can't explain it, but it feels like once the walls have been breached, there will only be a few soldiers left to defend the castle."

I laid back in the grass, staring at the sky, and said, "That is way too much to think about. If I had my choice, I would much rather be on the frontline." Selene let out a laugh and replied, "I'm the exact opposite. I think partaking in a crude battle like this would be too far beneath me." With a giggle, she added, "You really are a brute." I only shrugged and replied, "I don't mind. The front line seems much more simple. Just survive."

Selene stared at me as if trying to figure something out, then asked, "Well, why don't you go fight in the front line now?" I let out a grunt as I shifted myself on the ground, then replied, "You know the answer to that. I'm only going to do that when I need to protect you. I couldn't care less right now."

Selene had a very smug look on her face and said, "I don't think I will ever get tired of hearing that. Now we should turn back to the battle. We don't want to miss the end."

I shifted myself back up onto my forearms and scanned the field. Now there were only three carts left. Staring at the three remaining carts, I asked, "So which of the three does the damage?"

Selene got to her feet, stretching out her stiff body, and replied, "The one closest to us, and it will be soon." As if on cue, a fire arrow hit the cart in the middle, setting off another explosion.

Selene grabbed my arm in excitement and let out a squeal of delight. I stared at the two remaining carts and heard Selene state, "You know, maybe I was wrong. There is a good chance that both of the remaining carts will make it. If you look at both sides, I think they agree." I shifted my gaze to the castle walls and noticed that all of the archers were quickly running away with fear in their eyes. They were desperately trying to put as much space between themselves and the carts as possible. Turning to the Prince's army, I watched as all of the foot soldiers sprinted away from the carts as fast as they could.

I turned my attention back to the carts and focused on the soldiers protecting them with their lives. I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but I asked, "What will happen to the soldiers on the cart?" With a laugh, Selene said, "Why don't you wait and see how the Prince rewards them for giving him his victory."

As she said this, two fire arrows flew across the sky in slow motion. The soldiers on the carts noticed them and tried to flee for their lives, but it was to no avail. Before the soldiers could take two steps, the arrows slammed into both carts and set off two massive explosions. I watched as the explosions ripped through the castle walls sending huge chunks of stone flying everywhere. I instinctively threw myself over Selene, shielding her from the debris.

Once the debris had stopped falling, Selene pushed her way out from beneath me and, with a pout, said, "You made me miss the finale!"

I ignored her pouting and tried to view the castle's missing walls, but there was too much dust in the way. A few soldiers cautiously walked towards the hole in the wall and disappeared into the dust. Everything was quiet for a moment; then, a bright orange flash lit up the dust. The soldiers let out screams of pain, then all was silent. I looked at Selene, but she looked as confused as I was.

Eventually, the dust cleared and revealed the man we had seen earlier, by himself, standing at the newly-made entrance of the castle. The charred remains of soldiers laid motionless at his feet. I turned back to Selene to ask a question, but she had a sinister smile spreading across her face. Staring at the man, she said, "I thought this was over, but I was wrong. This is only beginning."