MoboReader> Fantasy > The Slayer

   Chapter 9 Too beautiful to Cage

The Slayer By Lady Lilium Characters: 17356

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:02


Several months passed and the guild went about their daily lives, completing quest after quest and moving from one place to another. They were doing fairly well most of the time, the guild members were neither rich nor poor, but they made their way in the world, living as they did.

But winter was coming, and life was becoming a little harder, as it did every year when the weather began to grow cold. It was not a good time for the guild at this moment, several of the members had split off on individual quests to gather what little coin they could. Leroy was gone, along with about half of the guild. The other half stayed at camp, which had been set up as a temporary place to stay, nothing more than a few tents put up amongst a section of trees. This spot had been chosen because the forest here grew thick, and it kept the icy wind out.

Inside the forest was silent.

Waltz stood at the edge of the camp, holding a blanket tightly around him and over his head.

It was bitterly cold, and his cheeks and nose and fingers were red, his breath a fog in the air before him. He glanced back at the camp behind him, he could see through the opening in one of the tents, Kenneth sleeping, near him the boy who guided him was sitting cross-legged, silently carving a figure of a bird in a piece of wood he had found.

Waltz glanced away.

They stayed for what felt like the longest time at this camp, trying to ignore the bitter cold.

One by one the other members of the guild were returning to them, bringing with them what coin they had. And at last, Leroy arrived.

He put the bag of coin he carried on the floor beside one of the tents. Shivering, he turned to address the rest of the guild.

'I think I've found a big job for us' he began.

'What kind of job?' Kyle asked him, sitting on a folded blanket on the floor and hugging his knees.

'Do you remember several months ago we accompanied Candy Cake to retrieve that sleipnir?'

The guild listened to him, feeling suddenly a little doubtful as they remembered the particular mission where they missed out on their reward. A few of them glared at Waltz who ignored them all.

'I was recently passing through a tavern' Leroy continued, 'when I heard the most unusual rumour.'

'And what is that?' Kennedy asked.

'A creature has been sighted near here' Leroy said, 'a rare creature, one that would be worth a lot of money. A phoenix.'

'A phoenix you say' Kennedy mused, scratching his chin.

Waltz listened silently, he glanced to Leroy.

'Yes' Leroy said turning to Kennedy. 'I'm sure it would be a lot of money if we sold it to the right buyer.'

'I know just the right person' Tristan said clicking his fingers. 'There is a man I know of who lives near the capital. He collects mythical creatures as trophies. He's got loads, manticors, chimeras, hippogriffs…even a mermaid. I hear she's very beautiful.' He paused then. 'He's filthy rich, obviously, or else how would he afford such treasures? His home is like a zoo.'

'I think I know who you mean' Leroy nodded. 'He's famous for it.'

'Right' Barry said thumping his fist into his open hand. 'So we catch this phoenix and sell it to this guy for a butt-ton of money, then live in luxury for several months.' He grinned. 'It'll be like one long holiday.'

'Calm down' Leroy told him. 'Don't let your imagination run off with you; we have to catch it first.'

'So how do we do that?' Tom asked the obvious question. 'It can't be easy to catch this thing or else everyone would be doing it, and how do we know the reward won't be taken from us like it was with the siren. Remember that?'

The other members of the guild nodded mournfully at this. Leroy waited for silence before speaking again.

'This time will be different' he assured them. 'Unlike last time, this mission is not advertised on a board, but a secret one. I've paid a lot of money for information on this task, the coin I've brought back is less than half of what I had before.'

The other members of the guild looked down at the large bag of coin, their eyes growing hungry.

'Few other people know about this' Leroy told them. 'I am the only one willing at this time to wish to attempt retrieving it.'

'Why?' Trevor asked, raising his hand as if he were in a classroom asking the teacher a question. 'Is it dangerous?'

'I'm afraid so.'

Waltz tutted, rolling his eyes.

'God forbid if anything is made easy for us.'

The others ignored him.

'The phoenix has nested amongst a section of mountain where great colossi dwell. It will be very dangerous.'

'Then how do we catch it?' Richard asked.

'The phoenix is dying' Leroy told him. 'You know how they live. They age, die and catch a flame, being re-born from the ashes. As long as we can get close to it, it will be easy.'

'It won't though will it?' Waltz spoke up in a deadpan voice. 'The colossi?'

'It's perhaps why the phoenix chose that spot to die' Leroy agreed. 'For protection.'

'It's not stupid then' Waltz grumbled.

'I imagine these colossi are pretty dangerous?' Rude said to Leroy. 'We don't even know how many there are.'

Leroy crossed his arms.

'It's why no one else will take the quest' Leroy spoke in a monotone.

'Great' Waltz declared clapping his hands together. 'You mean no one else is stupid enough to attempt this?' He laughed humourlessly. 'We are all going to die!'

It was indeed as Leroy had said; only a short distance from their camp was the location they sought. They had no horses as they were expensive, almost all of the time the horses they did have were rented, and they rarely had money to afford such luxuries in winter.

Leroy led the way through the rocky mountains, a deep canyon cut into the rock allowed them to delve onwards, and the tall walls either side loomed threateningly over them.

'Good place for an ambush' Kyle noted out loud glancing above him.

The others shared nervous glances; Leroy just glared at him silently before facing ahead again.

'How far is it?' Tom asked quietly.

Leroy slowed to a stop, gazing ahead of him as their path split in two.

He looked first one way, then the other.

'Oh come on' Waltz called very unhelpfully from the back of the group. 'You're not lost are you? Say it ain't so?'

Leroy ignored him. He lingered for a moment, before choosing a path.

The others followed.

All around them the snow which had started that morning, continued to fall silently. It was miserably cold, and many of the guild members were hugging their cloaks tightly to them.

They passed through the canyons without incident. Their path began to rise, leading them higher into the mountains.

They walked for a long time, until they came to a cave that was so deep, it blocked out all light from the sun. But the guild were not hindered by this at all, several of them instantly used their magic to light the torches they carried, holding them high in the air. One of them passed a torch to Leroy who led their group, and he held it before him, lighting their way.

They continued onwards.

Their path was winding, twisting and turning, until it began to level out, before sloping gently downwards as they came to a small cavern.

The guild formed a wall at the entrance to the cavern, staring in awe at what was before them, many of them extinguishing their torches.

The cavern was already brightly lit. Before them was the creature they sought, the phoenix.

A sad and sorry looking creature it looked towards the end of its life, scrawny and pale with large patches of missing feathers over its body.

The guild stared at it. One of them made a noise.

'Aaaaawwwwww.'

The bird turned to them, sitting on a rock in the very centre of the cavern. It burst into flames suddenly, burning brightly.

When the flames died out, all that was left was a pile of ashes.

'Quick' Leroy hissed nudging Waltz beside him. 'Pick it up.'

'Um' Waltz began uncertainly moving forwards. 'Alright.'

He produced a dustpan and brush brought especially for the occasion, and began to sweep the ashes up, tipping them carefully into his pocket.

'There' Waltz said with satisfaction. 'Safe and sou-'

There was a sudden rumble as the earth shook around them.

Waltz froze suddenly tense. He turned back to the guild.

'What was that?'

No one spoke; they just stared at each other in alarm, simply waiting for whatever was to happen, to happen.

There were several moments of silence, and then, the deafening sound of rock against rock.

The entire cave moved around them, the walls turning and rising until they had left the ground complete

ly.

It was then that the guild realised they were not inside a cave at all, but a hollow in the mountain, above which had rested a mighty beast made of stone.

'The colossi!' Leroy called as it found its feet, rising ever higher above them.

All around them the mountains were moving. There were many of them, though in the confusion and panic could not be counted. Several of the guild members had drawn their weapons, an automatic reaction when faced with a threat, though in this case it was a useless one.

The rocky beast above turned to face them.

With large feet, and great wings that had formed what they had thought was the wall of the cave, a long long tail and a great beaked head. It was a terrifying beast of massive size, with a body that looked like it was made of both rock and earth. Patches of grass grew over its body in places, even a small tree.

It looked down at them with bronze glowing eyes, and roared. A sound that seemed to come from the belly of the very earth itself, the guild members clapped their hands over their ears in pain at the sound.

The beaked colossi ceased its call, drawing its head back to attack. It lunged at them, attacking the guild with all its strength, but they were protected.

While the others had frozen in panic, Waltz had quickly regained control of himself, and at first it might have seemed that he had been saying a prayer, or reciting a spell. But in fact he was calling for help; from the being he liked the least in the world.

The witch that controlled him.

He had felt her smile at him, and knew he would pay the dept for her help later. But that didn't matter now, all that mattered to him was saving his guild, and he knew that this was a threat unlike any they had faced before. If he didn't do something, they would have died then.

But at that moment the witch's curse had become a blessing, and he was able to use her magic for the shortest time.

He threw up a mighty shield, a barrier that protected himself and his guild from the rest of the world. The guild looked about in wonder, realising they had not been attacked yet. And then they noticed the shield that Waltz had summoned.

'Waltz…' one of them uttered, 'where did you learn such powerful magic?'

The colossi was clawing and tearing at the shield, but for all its efforts, it did not even put a dent in the spell.

Waltz glanced back at his guild, when normally he wore an expression of cocky surety and arrogance, now he wore an expression of fear, and that frightened the guild even more.

The shield flickered for an instant, and in this time, the colossi had managed to grab Waltz.

Waltz was able to cast the spell again as he was lifted in the air, the great bird's beak around his body. Waltz threw the spell downwards, using his strength to surround the guild in protective magic, caring only for their safety even as he was hauled away. Waltz moaned in agony as the colossi tightened its grip on him, its beak breaking his ribs.

Are you in need of assistance?

Waltz recognised the voice in his head as belonging to the witch. He could not speak to her now as the breath was forced out of him when his chest had been crushed by the colossi. Now he could only speak to her in his mind.

'Save me…' he begged.

But you already used all of the magic I gave you to protect the guild the witch replied calmly as the colossi carried him away. Do you want some more?

'Save the guild…save them…'

You know it will cost you. Do you want me to save them? The witch asked.

'Yes' Waltz thought. 'Kill the colossi…save the guild…'

And yourself?

Waltz groaned, throwing up an alarming amount of blood as the colossi carried him further.

'The guild…' Waltz thought desperately.

As you wish.

Waltz felt powerful magic suddenly coursing through his body, of the kind he had never felt before.

Waltz used his sudden strength to part the jaws of the bird that held him, causing it great pain as he did so, his very touch burned the colossi. He summoned a grappling hook out of the air by magic, the glowing weapon stabbed the colossi around the back of the neck, and Waltz was able to swing free, soaring through the air in an arch he landed behind its head.

With no hesitation and acting purely on instinct, he summoned a spell he knew nothing about, killing not only the colossi below him, but every colossus that dwelt within the mountains around them.

With a great scream, the flying beast fell from the air, Waltz along with it.

He looked up at the sky above him, suddenly his old self again.

Waltz was unable to protect himself as he fell, hitting the mountain side with full force.

And then he knew nothing.

Leroy strode down the corridor, opening the door at the end without pause. It has been several hours since the incident, and Waltz had been taken to the first healers the guild could find.

No expense had been spared. He lay there in bed, having finally woken. He blinked wearily, gazing about him at his surroundings, feeling confused.

'Hey' Leroy spoke tentatively, approaching the bed slowly and resting his hands upon the edge as the healer left the room silently. 'How do you feel?'

Waltz blinked slowly again, turning very gingerly towards Leroy, facing him now.

'………Leroy?'

Leroy smiled widely, a genuine expression.

'I'm so glad you're alright.'

Waltz blinked again, slowly.

'I feel like………' he thought, his mind was working very slowly. 'I feel like I've been digested twice over.'

'You look worse than that.'

Waltz sighed deeply.

His body was bruised all over, the whites of one of his eyes was pure red, he suffered a concussion, and had several broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and cuts and severe grazes on every inch of his once flawless skin.

Waltz blinked again. He swallowed; his voice was a little hoarse.

'Water…'

Leroy immediately reached for the jug beside his bed, pouring him a glass and helping him drink. Leroy brought the glass to his lips, holding the back of his head as Waltz took a sip.

He began to cough, and Leroy moved back, placing the cup back on the table.

When Waltz stilled again, he spoke.

'How are the others? Are they all alright?'

'They are alive because of you' Leroy answered. 'I don't know what happened back there, maybe I don't want to know and I don't expect you to tell me either. But you saved our lives. If you hadn't done whatever it was that you did, those colossus would have killed us all. But you killed them instead…all of them.'

Waltz stared at him; it wasn't clear if he understood what Leroy was telling him.

'You saved our lives Waltz.'

Waltz blinked again.

'The phoenix…?'

Leroy bowed his head. Waltz looked down at his pocket; he moved to reach into it. Inside, he didn't find the ash he had expected, but he felt something else there.

He took it gently, pulling it from his pocket.

It was a baby bird, with a single little red feather upon its head.

'The phoenix' Leroy said in shock. 'I thought for sure that we had lost it.'

The baby bird cocked its head, looking about the room with its large eyes. It appeared perfectly healthy.

'How…?' Waltz sighed, gazing down at it. 'How did it not die in the fall? I thought for sure…'

Leroy took the tiny little bird from him.

'I'll look after it' he said. 'You just stay here and rest.'

Waltz handed the little baby phoenix over to him, before lying back. His hand fell back down to the bed, and his body relaxed.

Waltz succumbed to a deep sleep, until he woke several hours later. But it was not to a figure that was welcome.

At first, he did not recognise this figure. But then she smiled, leaning forwards on the end of his bed.

'How do you feel?' she asked in a sly voice.

Waltz's heart instantly stopped inside his chest, and he knew suddenly instinctively, who this was.

'Witch' he sighed. 'So it's you.'

The false healer raised her head. Today she appeared as a young woman with short brown hair. She was beautiful.

'Waltz' the witch began. 'You've survived a great danger.'

Waltz looked down at her.

The witch smiles widely at him.

'You have asked great things of me' she said. 'The rest of your guild is alive because of me. I now own their lives.'

Waltz stared at her. He said nothing.

The witch straightened up.

'The rest of the guild trust you now like they have never done so before. They adore you.' She glanced back at him with a grin, clearly amused by this. 'You are like a saviour to them.'

She left the room without another word, and Waltz was consumed by a cold feeling of dread.

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top