Chapter 25:

Chapter 25


Standing upon blackened soil, the heroes of Ethros were just mere meters away from the dragon graveyard. Abundant ash-filled air stung the lungs of the three adventures. Everything around them reeked of not only death, but cinder. The whole earth around this area had been cooked and scarred, and they were just going to waltz right into the epicenter of destruction. Only one thing separated them from the graveyard, that being a giant moat. A deep trench carved into the ground, wrapping all the way around the raised plateau of the dragon graveyard. The area seemed totally inaccessible, however there were a couple of things around the cliff that argued against that fact. A metal target hanging off the cliffside. Beside it, a drawbridge chained to the rock. Finally, on their side of the moat, a small stone pedestal displaying a bow and arrows. It was clear what was needed. If anyone dared to enter the dragon graveyard, dared to ignore the warning signs, dared to ignore common sense, all they had to do was hit the target with an arrow. Seemed simple enough.

"Alright." Isaac began. "This looks like a job for me."

"I feel like every job that should've been for you, you've failed at." Vera joked. Isaac walked up to the pedestal and picked up the bow and an arrow. He nocked the arrow, raised the bow, drew it back, aimed, and released. The arrow soared through the air. Spiraling like a drill. It approached the target. Wham! The arrow slammed against the edge of the target and plummeted into the moat, never to be seen again. Everyone held their breath. Nothing. Nothing happened. "Case in point..."

"What?! I hit it though! You all saw!"

"Maybe you have to hit the bullseye." Elizabeth suggested.

"Here." Vera walked up beside Isaac. "Let a pro handle this!" She winked at him. He blushed and turned away.

"Yeah whatever." Vera raised her staff and with a flick of her wrist, a small magically bolt flew out from the tip. Whooosh! It whizzed through the sky, hitting the target dead on. Elizabeth's eyes beamed, Isaac's jaw dropped, and Vera smiled smugly and flaunted her hair. And yet, nothing happened.


"HA!" Isaac pointed at her as he laughed.

"Maybe, then, you have to hit the bullseye with one of those arrows."

"Fine. But assuming we're all terrible shots, we're gonna run out of arrows before that happens."

"If that's the case, why not fail in style?" Vera chimed.


"A little competition between the three of us. Whoever gets the drawbridge down first wins."

"Why would we do that?"

"A little bonding experience for us and if like you said we fail, it won't sting as much." Isaac grumbled, weighing his options.

"I think it sounds fun." Elizabeth weighed in.

"Well, if Liz says it's fun, we're doing it."

"Since when was that a rule?"

"Oh come on! How could you say no to that adorable face?!" Vera gestured over to Elizabeth, who was now standing around very awkwardly. "I'll even let you have first shot." She whispered.

"Ugh, fine." All three heroes lined up, shoulder to shoulder. Isaac re-raised the bow and drew back another arrow. He launched it. Landing in the same spot, the arrow fell back towards the center of the earth. Isaac begrudgingly passed the bow over to an enthusiastic Vera. She repeated the process just like Isaac. She aimed, took in a deep breath, and released. The arrow plinked off the bullseye but too fell into the moat. Vera gasped and covered her mouth in excitement, all the while Isaac looked as if he was about to explode. They waited for the bridge to drop. But nothing happened. Vera's face dropped like the arrow and wordlessly passed the bow to Elizabeth while Isaac stifled a laugh.

"So I guess it has to stick..."

"Looks like it." Elizabeth struggled to nock the arrow onto the drawstring. "Doc... have you ever shot a bow before?"

"Uh, only once." She responded, finally getting the arrow in place and drawing the bow back.

"Were you any good?" Vera followed up.

"My dad said I was." She released the arrow. It flew directly into the cliff, several feet below the target, shattering upon impact. "But I was a child then... so you know." Isaac took back the bow. Draw back, and release. The arrow hit closer, and managed to stick this time, but still not a bullseye.

"This is kind of astounding." Vera said, taking the bow. "A soldier, a mage, and a doctor. All three, highly skilled in their own right." She drew back the arrow and released. Another miss, worse than before. "Can't hit a stationary target with a bow and arrow." She handed it over to Elizabeth.

"Hey, I feel like we aren't doing that bad."

"Oh, I know! It's just... wow..." Elizabeth shot her arrow, this time shattering above the target. "Hun, are you sure you want to do this?"

"No, no let her do it with us. It makes us look better." Vera punched Isaac's arm in attempt to interrupt his chuckling.

"I mean, he's not wrong." Elizabeth shrugged. Isaac took off his helmet and placed it on the ground by his feet.

"There." He whispered to himself.

"Oh yeah, because that's what was holding you back." Vera said as Isaac drew the bow. "MISS IT!" She shouted as Isaac released the arrow. It careened off to the side, lodging itself into the bridge.

"What the hell! Why?!"

"Hm? I don't know what you're talking about."

"We're trying to lower the bridge! Why mess me up?!"

"Cause it's a competition sweetheart. And I'm gonna win!" As Vera released her arrow, Isaac bumped into her, knocking off her aim. The arrow pinged off the edge of the target and swiveled down into the trench. "The fuck?!"

"What were you saying?" Elizabeth took the bow from Vera and readied herself.

"Oh, very mature!"

"You did it to me first!"

"Hey, look! I hit the target!" Both Isaac and Vera quit their arguing and looked at the target. Elizabeth's arrow, while not on the bullseye, was in fact stuck on the target. They both looked back at her and saw her smile of pure innocence.

"Wow! Look at that!"

"Good job, doc!" Both of them congratulated Elizabeth like proud parents. "Alright, my turn." Isaac swiftly grabbed the bow and readied his next shot. "I swear on my mother's grave that I will hit this!" He launched the arrow and missed once again. Immediately, the three heroes keeled over laughing. Vera had tears in her eyes. Isaac was clutching his stomach, almost completely on the ground. "God fucking damnit!" He screamed through his laughter. Vera took the bow.

"I swear on Elizabeth's mom's grave that I will hit this!" She screamed.

"Wait what?" Elizabeth's laughter abruptly stopped. Vera shot the arrow. It hit the target and stuck to its mark. However, it rested right on the line between the bullseye and the next outer ring. "Awww!"

"Oh come on! Give me a break!"

"This is brutal."

"I think it would be more accurate to say we just suck..."

"Guys! Oh my god! I hit it!" The two once again stopped and looked up at the target. Sure enough, Elizabeth's arrow was stuck dead center. A series of metallic clankings echoed across the field. Elizabeth's eyes shined like stars as the drawbridge descended down.

"So, what was that about her making us look better?" Vera said in disbelief.

"I think we forget that she's technically our party leader."

"Nah! We totally just let her win!"

"Oh, yeah! A puzzle like this is a cake walk for a prodigy and royal guard like us!" Vera and Isaac embarrassedly proclaimed, failing to hide their shame. Elizabeth joyously walked up the bridge, with the other two in tow. Elizabeth feeling oh so accomplished, Vera and Isaac starting to chat more intimately, all marching towards a macabre display.