Chapter 9: Soldiers and Lemons


“Greetings, Granseal scum!” rang a voice throughout the forest.

Startled, I turned, and in the distance I could make out a red, armoured figure. Jaha wasted no time in readying his axe. He was always ready for a fight.

Tears of anger welled in Kazin’s eyes once again.
“Look!” he shouted, pointing at another small group of figures, “those are the men who killed my master!”

Chester suddenly sprung into action –
CHA-A-A-A-R-GE!!! the knight shouted, levelling his stick as best he could from this distance, and running straight at the guy in red.

The man in red sank back behind his men, and shouted, “I want them ALIVE, remember!”, and hastily retreated to safety.

Chester had not expected this (well I did say he’s not too strong in the head, didn’t I?), and on reaching the spot where the red soldier had been, was faced with a tough decision – what to do now?!
Three soldiers closed on him, and with lightning speed our knight kicked out with his back legs, knocking two of them down. The third soldier took a swing at him, and although he tried to dodge, he still suffered a slight cut on his right shoulder. This disabled his lance (well, stick) arm, but it didn’t matter too much because by this point the rest of us had made it across the forest and were ready to deal out some punishment.

I was about to attack the third soldier, when something sharp hit me in the arm – an arrow. I yelled to Jaha, “Archers amongst the trees!”.
Instantly, the stumpy little man ran into the forest, swinging his axe wildly, with a look of glee upon his round face.

“Go get yourself cleaned up”, Kazin called to me, “I can handle that soldier scum!”
The mage raised himself up to his full height and strode, eyes blazing, towards the soldier (who, oddly just stood there, seemingly mesmerised).
You! Why did you kill my master?”, the mage said, with an anger like no other in his voice.
The soldier said nothing.
“I asked you a question!”, insisted the usually peaceful man.
Still no reply.

Kazin did not ask again. He lifted his arms and traced the age-old motions in the air with his wand-like fingers. From nothing more than the air around him, our newest addition summoned a wall of fire so bright and so hot that Volcanon himself must’ve been able to see it!
Slowly, the wall of flames moved towards the soldier who was by now paralysed with fear. As it engulfed his body he screamed in agony then fell, as ashes, to the ground. The two soldiers who still lay unconscious on the ground, well, we’ll never know whether they felt the pain, but they certainly ended up in the same state as Kazin’s first human victim.

There was a grim satisfaction in the mage’s tone as he dryly stated, “I think my blaze spell just got better.”
Doubtless, it had.

While Kazin had been dealing with the soldiers, Sarah was busy healing both myself and Chester. As for Jaha, well, all we know is that there was a lot of noise coming from the forest, and then a few minutes later our dwarven fighter emerged with a bloodied axe in his hand, and a broad grin on his face. In his other hand were some arrows, snapped in two.

“Like these would be a match for this!, the dwarf said mockingly, holding his beloved axe with pride.
We didn’t ask what had happened to the archers. I don’t think any of us really wanted to know.

Victorious again! This journey was turning out to be more of an adventure than I’d expected.
“Everyone ready to go?” I asked my force.
“Swooooosh!” came the combined sound of a giant bat swooping at Jaha, and of his axe cleaving the bat in two.
“I am, now”, shouted the dwarf, oblivious to the second bat coming at him from behind.

“Duck!” shouted Kazin at the dwarf.
“Huh?” responded Jaha, turning to the mage. He turned just enough to avoid the fireball Kazin was hurling towards the offending monster.
The bat burst into flames, and for the first time in my life, I saw fear in Jaha’s eyes. He looked at Kazin and it seemed as though his feelings towards the mage may have changed a touch. This was certainly not a bad thing.

“Thump!” came a sound from behind me – not another one?! This time, Sarah had managed to give it a wallop, sending it headfirst to the ground. Finally, I got a taste of the action, and went in for the kill…. with my wooden sword. It was at this point I realised that we’d soon all be in need of better weapons if this adventure was to go much further.

The battle over, we turned to one-another, exhausted, and said – in unison – Onwards!

“Not so fast!” came a voice from up ahead. The guy in red armour had returned. Great.

“I must praise you, Granseal Force. Your battle tactics are quite impressive for such inexperienced soldiers. It almost saddens me that I must now imprison you!” said the man. I wasn’t sure if he was mocking us or not, and I didn’t have time to decide either – one of his accompanying soldiers rushed at me, and the last thing I remember seeing was his fist…. heading towards my face.

Then there was darkness.