Chapter 24:

New Ally

Re Mari : I'll find you even if death did us apart!

“You are pretty strong for a sheltered royal brat.” Zarkk was swinging his hammer around. Royce was barely dodging each swing. The hammer had already broken the tents nearby.

Royce was an archer. Close combat wasn’t his forte. 

Guess I’ll have to deal with this guy myself. 

Zarkk tried to grab a solier but Royce saved him. Although he ended up getting in Zarkk's hands. It was like a giant holding a small human. Zarkk was crushing Royce from his hands.

I have to do something.

I slashed a magic-infused attack on Zarkk.

“That tickles.” He turned to me.

“Can’t even handle two kids?” I smirked at him.

“You brat!” He threw Royce on me.

I tried catching him but he fell on my face.

“I’m sorry about that.” Royce said that while grabbing his bow.

“Just get off already.” He was heavy.

I saw Zarkk coming at us while dragging his hammer. His hammer was as big as a street lamp.

“We should draw him away.” Royce helped me get up.

We both started running in the opposite direction of the camp.

“How far you will run?” Zarkk shouted from behind and jumped.

I saw his shadow passing on our heads.

“Stop!” I grabbed Royce’s hand. A moment later and Zarkk would have fallen on us. Crushing us. Zarkk made a big crater on the ground and lost his balance.

This guy is too much for us to handle.

“One shot, I just need one clean shot with my spell,” Royce whispered while looking at Zarkk.

“Okay, I’ll keep him busy then.” I ran away from Royce while slashing his legs.

He screamed in pain.

“You rat, come in my hands just once. I’ll crush you.”

Zarkk swung his hammer uncontrollably.

He was different than Ryn. Zarkk’s big hammer was moving like a feather. He was way too strong.

I kept dodging while growing vines from the ground. Mother’s magic helped me a lot. I felt lightheaded. If I use any more of the magic I might pass out.

“You done yet?” I shouted.

“Just a moment,” Royce said from afar.

“What do you think you are doing?” Zarkk heard him and turned to Royce while ignoring me completely.

This is bad. I have to give Royce more time so he can cast his spell. What can I do? I need something to distract him from Royce.

I threw my sword at Zarkk, it stabbed him in the back.

“You!” He turned to me. Without my sword I was magicless.

He grabbed me from my side.

“Now I can play with you.” He laughed.

“Playtime is over,” Royce said from behind us.

His surroundings were glowing. It seems Royce can use magic too. The arrow was ready to pierce.

“Would you still shoot me if I do this?” Zarkk put me in front of his body, like a shield.

“Yes,” A loud noise and a white flash of light. I saw a long beam from Royce’s bow. That was one powerful magic cast.

Zarkk had stopped moving.

He dropped lifeless with a big hole in his stomach. I opened his fingers and got out.

“I’m glad you didn’t fall for his bluff.” I was rubbing my chest. It was painful.

“What bluff?” Royce asked me obliviously.

“Well, when he threatened to kill me.”

“I wasn’t bluffing. I would have taken the shot either way,” Royce smiled at me. “I know you wouldn’t mind being a noble sacrifice for a greater good.”

This guy!

I kicked his legs.

“I was kidding, jeez.” He laughed. The remaining bandits started running away after seeing Zarkk’s great fall.

I almost forgot! Mary and Anne, the caravan.

“I need to help my Mother.” I rushed towards the caravan.

“I’ll help. Soldiers! Gather around and hunt down remaining bandits.” Royce shouted as a leader.

A few of those soldiers and Royce followed me, while others stayed back to protect their camp.

When I reached there I saw Mother fending off and binding the bandits. There seemed to be a wizard in their team making random spells. Mother had to be alert else her own spell would end up hitting the caravan people.

I saw Mary hiding under a carriage. She saw me and ran towards us.

“Brother Vance, run away.” She was shouting when a bandit saw her coming out of hiding. Oh No!

“Mary behind you!” I shouted. She turned around when that bandit was in front of her. His sword was coming for Mary’s head. Should I do a slash? What if it hit Mary along with the bandit?

With a snapping sound an arrow went through the bandit's head. The bandit dropped dead. It was Royce.

Mary was still shocked and terrified. Royce nodded at me.

I went running to her. Royce and his soldiers started overwhelming those bandits in numbers.

Mother sighed in relief. She was having a hard time doing both the fighting and protecting singlehandedly. Thanks to her, no one from the caravan had died.

The remaining bandits either got captured or they fled.

Royce handled the situation perfectly.

“Who is that?” Mary asked me with curiosity. That look in her eyes. Oh dear she got a crush on that white head.

“Pardon the late introduction, and let me say it properly this time.” He bowed at Mother and me.

“I’m Royce Lionsblood, the third prince of the Royal Capital.”

That’s why I felt a familiar feeling from him. He reminded me of King Herald.

Mary composed herself, “I’m Mary Roseblood, and it is an honor to be in the presence of you, Prince Royce.” She bowed in respect. Royce did save her life. Royce just smiled back at her.

“Where’s Anne?” I always forget about her till the very end.

“She is safe don’t worry,” Mary reassured me.

Afterward, it was decided that Prince Royce would accompany us to the Capital. He seemed like a normal guy, if you ignore his majestic white hair.

The soldiers helped us too. The soldier who first spotted us and told me to help Prince Royce was a very humble man.

His name was Phelix, he was 22 years old newly recruited guard for Prince Royce. I became a good acquaintance with him on our short journey.

After reaching the Capital, Royce asked me to come and talk to him when I get time. He would love to spar with me. I didn’t tell him about the whole incident on the beach and talk with King Herald. I did not want to complicate things. Mother didn’t say anything either.

We went our separate ways before we reached the Capital gates. Royce didn’t want us to gain weird attention. Mother agreed too. I didn’t ask much.

“We are at the Royal Capital yet?” Anne was getting bored.

“Ask Mary,” I looked at her, “Are we at Royce's Capital yet?”

She turned red with surprise. Bullseye. I knew it.

“Yes! I mean no, N-not yet.” She said while hiding her face.

Anne was a bit dumbfounded. I was feeling evil, thinking about the ways to tease Mary more.

Mother smiled at me.

“Finally it feels normal.” She looked pleased.

I lay down on her lap.

“Me too,” Anne came. “What about me?” Mary joined us.