Chapter 64:

Battle Cry VI

Sword Quest

Master Gambell, riding at the head of twenty-five Teutonic Knights, entered the canyon around the base of the volcano. Surveying the scattered bodies of Red Wolves and Shlanks, he sped to where Mel lay in the arms of Selmy.

“Mel!” he shouted, forcing Selmy to look up in surprise. “Is he okay, Selmy?”

“Master Gambell!” Selmy cried as the man dismounted from his horse. “I—I think he’s okay, he’s just unconscious… but please, help Tess!”

Gambell glanced with wide eyes at the crumpled Tess and Ango, and then to the five boys covered in dirt.

“I need six men to tend to them, and the boys over there as well. Everyone else, please secure any enemies that still live.”

As the Knights spread out, Gambell knelt next to Selmy, who continued cradling Mel’s head in her lap.

“Mel, please wake up,” Gambell said softly, patting the boy’s chest until his eyes slowly opened.


“Mel, what happened to the rest of the Red Wolves and Shlanks?” Gambell asked sternly.

“While he was unconscious, the Shlanks left with their leader,” Selmy answered with haste. “And five of the Red Wolves followed their leader over the cliff.”

“Over the cliff?” Gambell asked, glancing at the landslide.

“They went after Cedric,” Mel mumbled in response.

“Cedric, you say…” Gambell muttered, his eyes narrowed.

“Cedric Cintog is the Heir,” Mel answered firmly. “He has the Red Sword and plans to leave the island with it.”

Gambell’s jaw dropped. At the same time, the sound of fireworks resounded from the beach ahead, the sky shining scarlet.

“Ten of you, please make for the beach immediately!” Gambell barked, prompting a group of the Knights to circle around to the forest where the hill began. Their horses raced up the hill through the trees, until something caused them to halt.

“Master Gambell,” one of the Knights called from over the sloped cliff. Suddenly, a man fell from the short cliff, seemingly pushed off. The tall man fell to the dirt with a thud, muddying his fine green robes and auburn locks. He simply rolled into a tree and sat up with a defeated look.

“Father!” Selmy cried out in shock, careful not to jostle Mel’s head in her lap.

“General Melvin Cillavier…” Gambell muttered while a Knight rushed over to him. The man said nothing, and simply offered his wrists to the Knight, who took care in binding them together.

“Well then, Mel…” Gambell continued after letting out a sigh. Mel turned away from the captured man with closed eyes, while Selmy fought back silent tears as she clasped Mel’s hand.

Resting a hand on Mel’s shoulder, Gambell asked, “Where is Quentle?”

“Quentle should be up there, somewhere,” Mel replied, pointing up the slope toward the volcano’s peak.

“And, is there anyone else?”

Mel and Selmy, at the same time, shook their heads silently.

“Then stay put here with the Knights while I check on Quentle,” Gambell said, rising to his feet. With urgency he climbed his horse and rode up the twice-collapsed slope.

Mel glanced around, noting that the Knights were all tending to everyone else.

“Selmy…” he said softly, drawing her face closer and allowing her hair to fall onto his face. “I’m sorry for what’s going to happen to your father after this.”

“He knew what he was doing,” Selmy answered, a tear falling from her cheek and landing on his. “But what about you, and your father…?”

“I don’t know,” he replied, looking away before staying his eyes on her. “But, let’s say we do find a way to avoid being thrown into prison or executed.”

“Uh—huh?” she responded, a weak smile forming.

He gripped her hand with his right, and stroked her chestnut hair with his left, smiling before softly muttering the words, “Marry me, Selmy.”

“Ah… huh?” she blurted out, her face frozen and turning a red that matched the falling flare that shone from the sky through the wisps of her curled chestnut hair.