Chapter 15:

Chapter Thirteen: The Road to Ezorn (Part I)/Battle of Ikou Bridge

Beyond the Borders Volume 1

All the Knights gathered in the main room of the abandon house after
Lylianna had called for them. Aryia was hoping for a mission after being
unable to sleep for weeks on end. She wanted something, anything to get
her mind off of it.Bookmark here

Lylianna pulled out a map and unfolded the large paper on the floor.Bookmark here

“With the Capital of Ezorn in sight it seems as if General Ryker is
prepared to storm Ikou Bridge. Of course, he is a bit to eager to take
the bridge. So, as the troops are forcing their way through we will
parachute to the other side of the river and flank them from the North,
here.”Bookmark here

Lylianna pointed to the area where they would land.Bookmark here

“Wait, Major, why don’t we try something that the enemy wouldn’t
expect?”Bookmark here

“Like what Aryia?”Bookmark here

“What if we tried going under the water and attacking from under the
bridge?”Bookmark here

“That could work,” Lylianna said looking to Melissa.Bookmark here

“I could always try it, although it has yet to be done, at least as far
as I know.”Bookmark here

“Right, Mel, you will work on using your magic to help us navigate under
the river. Aryia, you go with her.”Bookmark here

“W‑Wait, why do I—”Bookmark here

“Mel will need to practice using her magic to protect all of us. Plus
you will be there just in case.”Bookmark here

“In case… what?”Bookmark here

“You two have your orders, everyone else be geared up and ready. Remain
on stand‑by until then.”Bookmark here

Before Aryia could ask Lylianna what she meant by what she said she left
out the door. Melissa looked to Aryia as Deadeye and Ryliah headed for
the weapon storage building.Bookmark here

“Lets go Aryia,” Melissa said in a cheerful tone.Bookmark here

The two of them headed for a lake a few kilometers from the city. It was
a rather big lake stretching for kilometers upon kilometers. To Aryia
the lake was actually rather beautiful.Bookmark here

“You might want to remove your clothes if you don’t want them to get
wet,” Melissa said as she started to strip down to her underwear.Bookmark here

Aryia began to remove her clothes, revealing her pair of black underwear
while Melissa stood there in her pink frilly underwear. Melissa held out
her arms to the sides and stepped into the shallow part of the water.Bookmark here

“Right, stay close to me unless you want to end up drowning.”Bookmark here

As Aryia stayed close to Melissa she noticed the water around them
starting to swirl in a circular motion — about three meters — around
them. Melissa appeared to be concentrating hard on moving the water.
After a few minutes Aryia was able to clearly see the sand below the
water’s surface.Bookmark here

“All right, follow me slowly,” Melissa said as she walked forward.Bookmark here

Aryia followed Melissa until the two of them were both under the water.
Around them was a bubble that blocked out all the water, keeping the two
of them dry.Bookmark here

“Wow. I have to say this is pretty cool.”Bookmark here

“You won’t think it is cool if my magic fails and we drown at the bottom
of this lake.”Bookmark here

Aryia quickly went silence and began to worry as the two of them
continued on nearing the middle of the lake. As Aryia walked along the
seabed she could feel the sand between her toes. Fish swam around the
bubble while the two of them continued to travel along the bottom of the
lake.Bookmark here

After a few minutes they managed to reach the end of the lake. Before
Aryia could say anything Melissa fell to the ground. Aryia reacted
quickly and caught her in her arms.Bookmark here

“Hey Melissa! What’s wrong?”Bookmark here

“I am all right. It just takes a lot out of me to do something like that
it seems.”Bookmark here

“Will you be able to get all of us to the bridge without any problems?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know. Using magic can take a lot of willpower and energy, as
you know.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I know. Makes me wonder how much willpower it takes for the Major
to use her magic.”Bookmark here

Aryia slowly helped Melissa to her feet, keeping her steady for a few
seconds until she got her balance.Bookmark here

“All right, you ready to go back?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, but only if you are good to go.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Melissa laid there on her back as Aryia sat there beside her. It was
clear to Aryia that Melissa was tired from using her magic to cross the
lake as she did. As Aryia stared out at the resplendent sky above
Melissa spoke.Bookmark here

“How do you feel about the Major?”Bookmark here

*Where did that come from*, Aryia thought.Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“I mean, what do you think of her? You can be honest with me, I won’t
tell, promise,” Melissa said with a wink.Bookmark here

“Honestly, I feel inspired when I see her. She has a sense of pride,
power, and purpose.”Bookmark here

“That is sweet. Personally, I cannot blame you for how you feel. All of
us were inspired in one way or another by her. She is the true
embodiment of what a soldier is. Strong and following her orders to the
end, even if it means…”Bookmark here

Melissa didn’t speak for a second as she closed her eyes.Bookmark here

“Anyways, lets try and cross the lake again.”Bookmark here

Hours passed as Melissa and Aryia practiced going back and forth from
one end of the lake to the other. Aryia noticed that Melissa appeared to
be getting tired. The two continued past the mid‑way point of the lake
until Melissa began to fall. *Oh no*, Aryia thought as she quickly
grabbed Melissa.Bookmark here

The protective bubble around them was starting to collapse in on itself.
Aryia used her wind magic to rush to the surface. Once the two of them
were above water Aryia swam as fast as she could back to shore.Bookmark here

Melissa laid there as still as a painting. Aryia was not a trained
medical expert like Melissa but she knew that she would have to release
the build up of water that Melissa had swallowed. Aryia pounded on
Melissa’s chest and pressed her lips to hers. After blowing air into her
mouth she pounded against her chest again.Bookmark here

“Damn it Melissa! You can’t die like this!”Bookmark here

Aryia continued to pound until Melissa split up the water in her chest.
Melissa looked up to Aryia and simply smiled.Bookmark here

“I guess you just wanted to kiss me, heh.”Bookmark here

With a smile and a playful punch to her shoulder Aryia laid back on the
soft grass.Bookmark here

“Maybe I should have let you drown,” Aryia said with a playful smile.Bookmark here

Melissa giggled.Bookmark here

“I think its time for us to take a break. Last thing we need is you
passing out on us, Miss Sadistic Medic.”Bookmark here

Melissa giggled even louder as she stood up.Bookmark here

“You are right. Lets head back. Besides, I got plenty of training in and
plus there is always tomorrow.”Bookmark here

The two of them dried off and put their clothes back on. They arrived at
their temporary living quarters nearing 2300 hours. As they entered the
house Lylianna was in the main room — along with Ryliah and Deadeye —
standing over a map on the table. Aryia and Melissa gathered with the
others as Lylianna looked to her squad.Bookmark here

“From what the General has told me, it seems as if they will be able to
take the bridge in a month. That is assuming everything works out.”Bookmark here

“What do we do until then Major?” Aryia asked.Bookmark here

“Melissa will practice taking all of us. However, this time around I
want you, Deadeye, to act as backup in the event that Melissa falls
unconscious or would be hit with a stray bullet. You will use your magic
to bring us to the surface.”Bookmark here

“Right.”Bookmark here

Lylianna looked at her watch.Bookmark here

“Tomorrow at 0600 hours we train. Gear up and be ready. Dismissed.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Aryia’s alarm on her watch beeped loudly at 0500 hours on the dot. As
she sluggishly got up from her bed, she rubbed her eyes slowly. *This
lack of decent sleep is going to kill me one day*, Aryia thought. Five
hours of sleep was was not a lot for her but it was better then a
minuscule three hours. Aryia laid back forgetting that Lylianna had been
sleeping beside her.Bookmark here

Lylianna opened her eyes slowly as they adjusted to the dim‑lit room. As
Lylianna pulled back the covers Aryia stared in a daze. Seeing Lylianna
in her pure white underwear made her look more adorable then usual.Bookmark here

“G‑Good morning Major.”Bookmark here

Lylianna glared at Aryia as if she had done something wrong. She headed
over to Aryia’s side of the bed and straddled her lap, wrapping her arms
around Aryia’s neck.Bookmark here

“I told you to call me Lylianna.”Bookmark here

“Even when the others are around?”Bookmark here

“Of course. There is nothing wrong with calling me by my name.”Bookmark here

“Then why do the others call you Major?”Bookmark here

“To be completely honest I have no idea. Perhaps it is a show of
respect?”Bookmark here

“Wait, then why don’t you tell them to call you by your name?”Bookmark here

“I have, yet they still continue to call me by my rank.”Bookmark here

Aryia thought for a second before she came to a realization.Bookmark here

“Wait a minute, why does it matter if I call you by your name or your
rank.”Bookmark here

Lylianna turned away, blushing slightly before finally turning back to
her.Bookmark here

“You better get ready for training in fifty minutes.”Bookmark here

Without another word Lylianna got up and headed out into the main room.
Aryia laid back on the bed as she stared up to the ceiling. *Why does
she want me to call her by her name like that*, Aryia wondered. After
spending a few minutes to get awake Aryia got dressed and headed into
the kitchen to get a bite to eat.Bookmark here

Lylianna and Melissa were still in their underwear while Deadeye and
Ryliah were partial clothed. The food they ate was slightly better then
the rations they had grown accustom to but it was no fancy feast like
back at their headquarters.Bookmark here

Once everyone was finished and fully dressed they made their way to
lake. Melissa took the position of point man as Ryliah and Aryia took
the sides. Lylianna stood in the middle while Deadeye stood near the
rear.Bookmark here

“Mel, if you start to feel as if you can’t keep it up then yell *break*.
Deadeye, that will be the signal for you to use your magic to get us to
the surface.”Bookmark here

“Roger.”Bookmark here

As Melissa used her magic to move the water beneath them Ryliah,
Lylianna and Aryia had their weapons at the ready. The five of them
walked along the bottom of the seabed until they crossed the halfway
mark.Bookmark here

“Break…”Bookmark here

Without a second to waste Deadeye slammed his palms down forcing a
pillar under them to rise quickly to the surface. Once the squad had
reached the surface Melissa suddenly started to fall backwards. Lylianna
caught her before she could hit the ground.Bookmark here

“Sorry Major, trying to keep my magic going non‑stop like that is a
strain.”Bookmark here

“I assume it is due to the extra gear and weight.”Bookmark here

“Yeah… it is taking more of a toll on my body.”Bookmark here

Lylianna looked back at Deadeye.Bookmark here

“Take us to shore.”Bookmark here

After a few minutes all of them had made it to the shore as Melissa
tried to regain her strength. Aryia sat down and stared off at the
morning sky as she pondered over their plan.Bookmark here

Lylianna sat down next to Aryia as everyone waited for Melissa to
recover.Bookmark here

“Lylianna, I had an idea. What if Melissa uses her magic to protect us
and while she is doing that, Deadeye could use his magic to help us move
quickly under the water.”Bookmark here

Silence.Bookmark here

“See, there was a reason I wanted you on my team. You think outside the
box.”Bookmark here

Aryia blushed slightly from the compliment.Bookmark here

“We might need to get in as close to the target area as possible and
then use this unorthodox method to travel about a thousand meters or
so,” Deadeye said as he stood up.Bookmark here

“Yeah, this could work. Do you two think you can do it?”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Almost four weeks passed since the Black Knights put their plan to
practice. Day and night the five of them practiced the plan until it was
time. Lylianna looked to her squad as they stood in the main room of the
house — geared and ready to go.Bookmark here

“Tonight we attack the bridge. Remember to be swift and silent. Hit the
key emplacements and get out.”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am!”Bookmark here

Without another word everyone gathered at the waiting helicopter and
headed out for the same area as last time. Once they had touched down in
the woods they silently made their way to the bridge. Lylianna looked at
her watch. It was nearing 0100 hours. They had managed to make it back
to the same spot as before where the observation post had been. In a few
minutes the Knights would put their plan into action.Bookmark here

“Tonight we make our move. Eliminate any enemies swiftly. Once the
emplacements are down, we leave as quickly as we came. Rendezvous back
here.”Bookmark here

Everyone nodded.Bookmark here

Aryia laid back on the make‑shift dirt bed as she stared up at the night
sky. *What will happen once we take the City of Ezorn*, she wondered.
After an hour had passed Lylianna signaled for everyone to form up on
her. Everyone knew it was time to storm Ikou Bridge.Bookmark here

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