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   Chapter 16 Stubbornness Is an Annoying Personality Trait, So Is Not Listening

The Slayer By Lady Lilium Characters: 29427

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:04


The now three members of the guild continued the rest of the way to the blue tower by foot, Waltz moodily cursing along the way and muttering bitterly to himself under his breath.

'Oh come on' Sumaey voiced at last when she was tired of his complaints. 'It's not all bad.'

Just as she said this, her stomach growled. The horse (newly named Squishy) had been carrying all of their food.

'I guess we should have unloaded the horse overnight' Sumaey mused aloud.

Waltz turned around to glance at her, giving her an expression as if she had just vomited a slug.

He then spotted Spirit who walked one step behind Sumaey. Spirit was glaring at Waltz silently.

Waltz swallowed nervously, turning to face ahead again. Spirit didn't talk that much, which Waltz liked. What Waltz didn't like was his piercing stare. Spirit had it in for him; he knew this, as if it wasn't blatantly obvious anyway. He suppressed a shudder as he stormed ahead.

Maybe he will slit my throat in my sleep Waltz thought darkly, or put fire-ant venom in my food…or a scorpion in my boot…

He glanced back again briefly. Sumaey was giving him a strange expression now; it was as if she knew what he was thinking.

Waltz gritted his teeth, staring intently ahead of him again.

Their journey was long and uneventful. It was long and boring and silent and long and silent and far longer than it should have been or would have been…had that stupid water elemental not scared away Waltz's precious stallion.

'My poor Squishy' Waltz lamented. 'Where are you now? Lost in the wilderness, frightened and alone. What will become of you?!'

'Your horse will be fine' Sumaey huffed behind him as they walked. 'Stop being silly.'

'But what if he gets lonely?' Waltz worried. 'What if some creature attacks him…or it gets cold…or there is a lightning storm….what if he is found by a herd of other horses and they pick on him.'

'Oh give me strength' Sumaey rolled her eyes irritably. 'You do realise that there are tons of wild horses roaming these lands, and they are all doing absolutely find without you. And besides' Sumaey added with a flick of her hair, 'he's a stallion. He would be pleased to find a herd of other horses I'm sure. He would be more than a match for any other stallion.'

'Do you think so?' Waltz whimpered, his lower lip trembling.

'Yes Waltz' Sumaey told him shortly. 'I do. Now stop worrying.'

Waltz bit his lip, falling silent.

Far away in the wilderness somewhere, was a bronze stallion with a dark mane and tail, still wearing some of his saddle bags. He flicked his tail contentedly, happily munching at the tall grass around him.

'Alright' Waltz said a long time later, slowing to a stop. 'We're here.'

Sumaey stood beside him, placing her hands on her hips and staring forwards, as on her other side Spirit stood. He cast Waltz a dark glare, before looking with the others forwards towards the manor built upon the cliff edge.

'There's the blue tower' Sumaey sighed wearily. 'We made it.'

The manor was a grand place, large and imposing, built of grey stone and all a single colour, save for the tower, which stood out brightly against the rest of the building. The windows were tall, and from several of the chimneys that could be seen, smoke churned from within.

'It looks warm' Sumaey noted. 'I bet its really nice inside.'

'I bet' Waltz echoed.

They made their way forwards, eventually reaching a cobbled stone road that grew out from the front gates of the manor (the gates were also tall and imposing). But the road went nowhere; instead it faded away into the ground, consumed by the grass around it.

'I wonder what the master is like' Sumaey thought aloud. 'I wonder what sort of character he is.'

Waltz paused as they made their way forwards, glancing off to the side and seeing a great forest nearby.

'I wonder what lives in there' he said, staring at the wild and knarled trees. 'All manner of creatures I bet.'

He turned away, walking ahead again towards the closed gates. They opened just as they reached them.

'We spotted you from afar' said a tall and slender young man appearing through the gates. 'We don't often get visitors. What is your purpose here?'

'We wish to see your master' Waltz droned tiredly. 'Who are you?'

'I am no one' the slender man replied, 'just one of many servants here.' He paused, considering the other figures that accompanied Waltz. 'Come in' he said at last, stepping back so that they could enter.

Waltz did so cautiously.

Inside they found a sizable courtyard made of more grey stone. Standing around in the doorways, stairs and overlooking them from balconies were more young men and women, all dressed modestly, all dressed in black like the man that had opened the door for them.

'More servants?' Waltz asked a little nervously.

The man that had opened the door to them smiled.

'Yes' he said. 'This is all of us. We don't often get visitors, the others are curious as to who you three are.'

Waltz gazed all around him, feeling a little overwhelmed at being the centre of such attention, every single one of the looming figures stared at him, never breaking their gaze. Sumaey and Spirit seemed unfazed by this; it was as if they didn't even notice.

'Nice place you got here' Waltz commented, noting the battlements around them. 'Are you expecting a siege?'

'You never know what to expect' the tall servant smiled. 'That's why it always pays to be prepared.

'I see.'

'Follow me this way' the servant told them.

They entered the main building through one of the small doors, they had to duck their heads to pass through, this was a little more awkward for Spirit, who was an entire head taller than the others. He folded his small wings to him as they went, tail whipping back and forth as they stepped through the door.

Inside the rooms were as grand and impressive a sight as the building had been from the outside. Lush purple carpets were at their feet, mighty tapestries showing all manner of wonderful stories, some of which Waltz was familiar with, others he was not. There were several massive fireplaces that they saw as they moved through the building, hanging balconies, great circular windows built horizontal to the ground above their heads, allowing the light to stream in, chandeliers made of swords that looked as if they had blackened in a fire.

'I've never seen a place quite like this' Waltz said.

'Interesting isn't it' the servant that led them smiled with amusement back at them. 'This is what you see just at a glance, when you look closer…' he trailed off. 'It's interesting working here' he finished, 'you learn a thing or two.'

'I bet...'

They continued to walk in silence for a few moments.

'Here we are' the servant said slowing to a stop. 'He's been waiting for you.'

'That's clique' Waltz scoffed. 'You may has well have said…he's been expecting you…if we walk in there now will he be stroking a cat on his lap?'

'Uh…..' the servant frowned, '…no. We saw you coming from a way away. The servants gathered in the courtyard to wait for your arrival, our master is waiting for you too.'

'Oh.'

The servant indicated the door.

'Go on' he said.

Waltz turned to the door, taking a deep breath.

He reached out a hand, grasping the worn gold doorknob and turning.

He stepped into the room, Sumaey and Spirit following after him. Inside the master was indeed waiting for them, sitting in a chair facing them with a smile upon his face.

'You're a funny man you know that?' the sorceress said to Waltz.

Waltz blinked curiously at this.

'Funny?' he said. 'Am I?'

The sorceress leaned around, towards his desk and hastily put away some papers before turning back to the three and rising to his feet.

'What can I do for you?' he asked them. 'Why are you here?'

Waltz took a deep breath.

'We have been sent here to check on the wellbeing of your apprentice' Waltz began. 'His brother is very worried about him. Apparently he has not heard from his brother for a long time.'

The sorcerers' expression immediately darkened.

'Graham' he said. 'That fool.'

'Who?'

The sorcerer furrowed his brow, glaring down at Waltz. 'The missing brother you seek. His name is Graham.'

'Well…where is he?'

'I don't know.'

'Hmm' Waltz frowned. 'Why? Isn't he supposed to be your apprentice?'

The sorcerer turned away. picking up a pair of binoculars and moving over to the window. He lifted them to his face, staring through and at the large forest before his manor.

'I haven't seen him in a long while' the sorcerer said after a few seconds of staring through the binoculars. He put them down. 'Graham is in the woods somewhere. He has been there for quite some time.'

'In the woods?' Waltz repeated, while behind him Sumaey and Spirit both turned to glance out of the window. 'I don't understand.'

It was then he saw something in the room shift. Waltz's attention flickered down to the sorcerer's chair. Here he saw a dog lying behind the chair, on a fluffy rug set against the desk.

Waltz's attention slid back to the sorcerer, who had noticed his gaze.

'This is my dog Walter. He is an old boy now, I keep him up here because he doesn't get along with the others.'

'Interesting looking dog' Waltz noted, seeing as it slept its slender build and scruffy coat. 'What is it?'

The sorcerer turned back to the window, staring out at the woods. 'It's a deerhound.'

'Why do you keep looking at the forest?' Sumaey questioned. 'Where is Graham?'

'He is in there…' the sorcerer replied, '…somewhere.'

'Yeah you said' Sumaey scowled impatiently as Spirit beside her began to scratch at his ear. 'But why?'

The sorcerer grimaced. 'His brother isn't going to be very happy with me' he mumbled to himself. 'I wonder if he will seek revenge against me.'

'What have you done?' Sumaey asked suspiciously.

'Graham was a tiresome apprentice' the sorcerer mumbled. 'He was disobedient and troublesome and mouthy and complained too much and always got into trouble and never listened…I gave him one last warning…which he ignored. And you have to stand by your threats or else your words mean nothing.'

'Will you get to the point already?' Sumaey snapped. 'Where is Graham and what have you done to him?'

The sorcerer regarded Sumaey.

'I punished him' he said, 'and I have not seen him since.'

'Answer the dam question!'

The sorcerer sighed tiredly.

'Before I answer I just want you to know that I gave him several warning and I gave him several chances. I warned him and told him clearly when it was his last chance, but he did not listen.' The man fell silent; watching Waltz and Sumaey, Spirit was staring at something hidden in the corner of the room, ignoring everything else. The sorcerer spoke at last.

'I turned him into a deer' he answered, 'and set my deerhounds on him.'

'WHAT?!' Sumaey and Waltz both exclaimed.

Spirit glanced forwards again.

'It's alright' the sorcerer hastened, 'I gave him a head start.'

'You turned him into a deer?!' Waltz repeated. 'How are we supposed to find him now?'

'I told you he's in the woods somewhere.'

'But how would we recognise him if we even manage to find him?' Waltz complained loudly.

'He looks different' the sorcerer replied. 'I made it so that he stands out in the dark woods. His coat is pure white so that it glows in the shadows, his scent is distinctive so that he is easy to track, his horns look like branches and his tail is long and thin. He is unlike any other deer you would have seen.'

'Hu?' Waltz made a comical face.

'A distinctive scent?' Sumaey voiced. 'What does he smell like?'

'Sour milk.'

Sumaey raised an eyebrow. 'Why?'

'To make him stand out' the sorcerer replied, 'there's nothing in the forest that smells like that, so he would be easy to find.'

'Because the white coat wasn't enough?' Sumaey asked. 'Then why haven't you found him?'

The sorcerer smiled then.

'It seems' he spoke slowly, 'he has absorbed more of my lessons than I first thought. I have to give him credit. He is not as stupid as he made himself out to be.'

'So how do we find him?' Waltz asked crossing his arms.

'With great difficulty' the sorcerer replied.

'So?' Waltz said expectedly.

'You're welcome to begin searching for him' the sorcerer replied. 'You can do so for as long as you want. I'll even let you return to this manor as many times as you need for food and rest. That's how generous I am.'

'You're not going to help us?' Sumaey asked pointedly.

'Only if my deerhounds accompany me.'

'But he's your apprentice.'

'Was' the sorcerer corrected. 'Now he is even more of a nuisance than before.' He sighed. 'I hate unfinished business.'

'Couldn't you at least give us some help?' Waltz moaned.

The sorcerer paused then.

'There is a single source of water in the forest' he began at last. 'For obvious reasons, he cannot stray too far from there. But he is wary, and the forest is large.' He paused again. 'You would be lucky to get near enough to yell at him, the instant he sees a man, any man…' he glanced towards Sumaey then, 'or woman' he added, 'he immediately runs the other way. I have in the past tried to bring my servants with me, but to no avail.'

'He'll run away from any human?' Sumaey echoed.

'Yes.'

She paused then, turning to glance at Spirit.

The sorcerer noticed this, throwing his head back in laughter. 'Very good' he said. 'It's almost as if he was brought along for this exact purpose.'

'The truth is we have only just acquired him' Sumaey explained. 'We have no idea what he is capable of.'

'Even more of a coincidence' the sorcerer smiled. 'Very well' he said. 'You may begin searching for him. Perhaps you might even succeed where I have failed.'

Shortly after that, the three of them found themselves in the dark and scary forest, with Spirit leading the way.

'Do you think this is such a good idea?' Waltz worried, staring wide-eyed all around him.

'What do you mean?' Sumaey asked glancing back at him. 'You're not afraid are you? I thought you did this sort of thing daily.'

'I do…but…'

'Then what is it?'

Waltz grimaced, reluctant to answer.

'Spiders' he said at last. 'I hate spiders.'

'You have got to be kidding me' Sumaey groaned.

Waltz shook his head shyly.

'What is it with spiders?' Sumaey asked. 'Why are so many people afraid of them? Unless they're poisonous they're not going to hurt you…and most aren't.'

'It's the way they scuttle' Waltz reasoned. 'It's horrible.'

'Crabs scuttle.'

'Yeah but not in t

he same way.'

'Now you're just picking on the spiders.

'They deserve it for being so creepy.'

Sumaey groaned loudly again, turning away.

They walked for a short time in silence, before Spirit who walked ahead of them, stopped suddenly.

'What is it?' Sumaey hastened. 'What's wrong?'

'Shhhh' Spirit said quietly.

They were close to the water now, and Spirit had sensed something. Sumaey and Waltz both fell silent.

They froze where they stood for several seconds, before Spirit moved; stepping carefully forwards so as not to disturb the forest.

They moved very slowly, in utter silence for several minutes until they reached the lake. Here they knelt in the thicket, watching from a short distance away, the water before them.

For the longest time nothing moved, and then Waltz gave a slight gasp.

From behind one of the trees something moved, its coat as white as fresh snow. The three watched in wonder as the stag moved forwards, head bowed.

It was indeed as the sorcerer had described, with white horns that grew upwards and looked more like tree branches than actual horn.

The three of them watched as it drew closer to the water, bowing its head to drink. But just as it was about to do so, its head shot up and it stared straight in their direction.

A split second later it turned and bolted and was gone.

'Did it see us?' Sumaey asked in wonder.

'I don't think so' Spirit replied quietly beside her. 'It must have smelt you.'

'He was…' Waltz uttered, '…beautiful.'

Spirit sight heavily.

'There's no point in going after it now' he said. 'It's already spooked. We'll never catch it now. We should come back tomorrow.'

'He's right' Sumaey agreed reluctantly, rising to her feet. 'We may as well get back to the manor.'

Waltz lingered for a moment, staring back at the lake in the direction the white stag had gone.

'Waltz?' Sumaey asked glancing back as Spirit headed off. 'Are you coming?'

'Yeah' he grumbled half-heartedly, turning away from the lake after a moment. 'I'm coming.'

They returned the next day to the same location, only this time, Spirit requested that Sumaey and Waltz stay back before they had even reached the lake.

'I have an idea' Spirit had said to them, tightening his hand on the coil of rope he had brought with him.

'Why do you have that anyway?' Waltz asked sceptically.

'You will see' Spirit replied. 'Now stay here.'

'Who is he to give me orders?' Waltz demanded of Sumaey as Spirit crawled silently forwards through the forest.

'Just do as he says' Sumaey replied wearily.

'I'm supposed to be the leader of this gang' Waltz protested

'Then keep your mouth shut and pretend you know what you're doing.'

Waltz glowered at her, gritting his teeth and turning sulkily away.

They stayed in this spot for several hours, Sumaey never dropped her guard as she waited. Waltz on the other hand had fallen asleep against a tree, no doubt dreaming of sweet things as he sat there drooling and twitching.

At long last, after even Sumaey was beginning to tire, there came a loud voice in the woods, a call from some distance away. Recognising it as Spirit's voice, Sumaey leapt to her feet.

'Get up!' she snapped at Waltz, kicking him hard in the side.

'Ow!' Waltz declared loudly. 'What the…?'

'Hurry' Sumaey snapped at him running away. 'This way!'

Waltz scrambled to his feet, bending down to grab his trusty sword as he did. He sprinted after her.

They ran through the woods, following the calls.

Soon enough they found Spirit, skidding to a stop at a place far on the other side of the lake. They saw a strange sight indeed.

Spirit had managed to loop the rope around the white stag's neck, and fought with it as it tried desperately to free itself. The two seemed to be evenly matched in strength, but the stag had the stamina, and Spirit was beginning to tire.

'Help me!' he gasped, holding the rope tightly as the stag tried his hardest to pull away.

Sumaey grabbed her own rope she had brought with her that hung at her waist, throwing it out and using her magic to wrap it around the stag's front legs, while Waltz with his own rope, did the same to the back legs.

The rope around the unfortunate stag's limbs tightened, and they pulled in the same direction at once, toppling it over. The stag landed hard on its side, bellowing loudly, its eyes wide with fear.

'WHOOOOOOOO!' Waltz so politely declared. 'We did it!'

'You mean Spirit did it' Sumaey interrupted. 'Good job' she said turning to him.

Spirit looked a little taken aback, before smiling slightly and bowing his head.

'You can stop flailing around now' Sumaey spoke calmly to the stag at her feet. 'We are not here to hurt you, and we have no deerhounds with us.'

The stag immediately stopped flailing, falling silent. He glanced about him, first one way, then the other, and saw indeed that Sumaey spoke the truth.

There were no deerhounds here.

The stag visibly relaxed, body slumping as he fought the rope no more.

'Looks like you've had a few dangerous encounters' Sumaey noted, getting a closer look at the stag's body now. There were little scars and scratches here and there. 'Those hounds must have gotten pretty close to you.'

The stag stared at her with his orange eyes.

'We understand your name is Graham' Waltz spoke up, still holding his end of the rope tightly. 'Is that true?'

Graham stared at him blankly for a moment, before sticking his tongue out and reaching around to chew the rope that bound his front legs.

'Stop that!' Sumaey cried, jerking the rope away from him as Spirit pulled his own rope back, pulling his head away.

Graham continued to reach for the rope, but out of his reach now, all he could do was waggle his tongue, and flick his undeer-like tail hopelessly.

'We're taking you back to the manor' Sumaey told him.

Upon hearing these words Graham began to struggle again, fighting them all with every ounce of strength he had.

'Stop!' Sumaey barked. 'He's promised not to hurt you. In fact if you come quietly and don't cause a fuss, he said he would change you back.'

Graham immediately stopped struggling.

Waltz glanced up.

'Did he say that?'

She shot a dark glare at him, causing Waltz to baulk.

'Oh…oh yeah!' he suddenly seemed to remember. 'He did say that. He definitely said that. I was there, she was there, and he was there' he nodded to Spirit. 'We all heard it…didn't we?' He nodded over-enthusiastically to the others.

Sumaey rolled her eyes at him before turning back to Graham.

'So?' she said to him, 'are you going to be a good boy?'

Graham stared at her, lying calmly on the floor between them.

'Right' Sumaey said. 'I'm going to untie your legs, but he' she jerked her head towards Spirit, 'will keep the noose around your neck tight, just in case you change your mind and decide to run. Okay?'

Graham didn't reply. He didn't resist or fight back, so Sumaey took that as a sign that he would comply.

She relaxed her grip, moving forwards to his legs and untying the rope slowly, pausing and glancing up at him one last time before she untied the final knot. She moved to his back legs, doing the same, and Graham at last stood up again, shaking his body like a wet dog, and clearing his fur of leaves and dirt.

'There' Sumaey sighed happily. 'That's better isn't it?'

Graham didn't reply, he only stared at her with his strange eyes.

'I guess he doesn't talk' Waltz said, 'either that or he's being stubborn.'

'No' Sumaey said. 'He is unable to speak in that body, once he becomes human again…then he could talk. That is what the sorcerer said.'

'Hu' Waltz said, glancing back at Graham who conveyed no expression with his deer-face. 'It must be strange being in that body and running around on all fours.'

'Yes' Sumaey mumbled. 'Very strange indeed.'

When they returned to the manor, the sorcerer regarded them cynically.

'So' he said. 'My young apprentice returns. I never thought I'd see you again.'

Graham made no sound, in fact he did not react in any way.

'Tell me' the sorcerer said raising his head to speak to Spirit. 'How did you do it?'

'With great patience' the water elemental replied, 'and trickery.'

'Very good' the sorcerer nodded. 'Very good indeed.'

'Are you going to change him back?' Waltz asked the sorcerer.

'No' he replied shortly.

If a deer could convey the expression of alarm, that is what Graham did then, glaring at Sumaey in a look that clearly said 'you lied to me.'

'What, you're going to keep him like that forever?' Waltz asked.

'If he proves himself worthy for me to turn him back, or if he somehow gains the knowledge to do it himself, then he will become human again.' The sorcerer grinned slyly behind his hand. 'I wish you the best of luck.'

'That what are we supposed to do?!' Waltz protested. 'Return him to his brother like this? We can't do that! What on earth would he think?'

'I'm afraid I don't much care' the sorcerer confessed. 'He's lucky to have the chance to return to his brother at all' he said. 'He's lucky to be alive.'

'Could you at least stop him smelling of sour milk?' Sumaey asked politely. 'It's rather unpleasant.'

The sorcerer pondered this for a moment.

'Fine' he said at last. 'I suppose that is a reasonable request.'

He strode towards Graham, who fixed him with an unblinking stare.

'Relax Graham' the sorcerer told him. 'One might start thinking that you don't trust me.'

He waved his hand once over the stag's head.

Sumaey took a deep breath.

'Strawberries?' she made a confused face at the sorcerer.

'Why not?' he gleamed slyly, better than what it was before.

He ran his fingers up the stag's horns then, breaking off a piece at the end.

'I deliberately made your horns weak' he said absently, 'so that they may shatter if you fought back against me. I shall make them stronger now so that you may defend yourself. See this as a kindness' he said brushing his magic over the horns. 'You're welcome.'

The sorcerer stepped back with a look of satisfaction.

'There' he said with a smile. 'Graham is ready to go home and see his brother at last.'

The small band left the manor, heading back to the wizards house with the intention of returning Graham to his brother.

But Graham didn't want to go.

'What's the matter with you?' Waltz demanded, trying to push Graham onwards from behind.

But the stag wasn't shifting.

'Don't you want to see your brother?' Waltz asked.

Graham just moaned at him in reply.

'Perhaps he's afraid to be seen the way he is' Sumaey wondered aloud. 'He will be surprised I'm sure to say the least.'

'Is that it?' Waltz asked the stag. 'You don't want to be seen this way by your brother?'

Graham just moaned at him again.

'I don't know what that means!' Waltz yelled back at him. 'Just keep moving. You don't have a choice, we're taking you back to your bother and that is that!'

Graham dragged his feet until they were out of view of the manor, then he refused to move altogether, even threatening to run away again. But Spirit was watching him closely.

'That's it!' Waltz said losing patience. 'I've had enough of this. You will come with us if it's the last thing I do!'

They resorted to tying rope around the base of his horns, and dragging him the rest of the way, all the while Graham pulled back in the other direction, hooves firmly planted in the ground.

'Will you stop that!' Waltz howled at him. 'I'm losing my patience! Don't make me set fire to your tail to get you moving!'

Graham just roared back at him, his voice deep and bellowing.

'If you're going to make a threat then you should carry it out' Sumaey told him turning back wearily, 'or else he will never take you seriously.'

She raised her hand, summoning her magic to her.

Graham bellowed in pain and fury then as the end of his tail caught fire, he thrashed around breaking free from Waltz's grip on the end of the rope that held him. The rope sailed out of Waltz's hands as Graham ran around, trying to extinguish the flames. The three watched in shock as he whipped his tail around, running in circles kicking at the fire in an attempt to put it out.

The fire quickly died seconds later, and Graham began to pant heavily.

He turned to stare at Sumaey, eyes wild.

He bowed his head, the tips of his horns pointing directly at her.

Graham began to walk forwards, picking up pace until he broke into a run, heading straight for Sumaey who stood there with her arms folded, unmoving as Waltz slowly stepped out of the way.

Graham charged straight for her with all speed. But Spirit came between them suddenly, grabbing Graham roughly by the horns and pushing him back before he could hurt Sumaey.

'You will not harm her' Spirit snarled through gritted teeth, arms beginning to shake with the effort of holding him back. 'You will not harm her.'

Graham glared with wide eyes up at Spirit as he pushed forwards with all his strength.

'I cannot believe this' Waltz sighed in despair, slapping his hand to his head. 'This is the worst team I could possibly have!' He stared at the three before him. 'Spirit hates me but loves Sumaey. Graham hates Sumaey and Spirit, and Sumaey is indifferent to everyone.'

He laughed again at all of them.

'How on earth did I get lumped with you lot?'

'Gee thanks' Sumaey said flatly. 'You forgot to mention how much of an idiot you are.'

'I'm no idiot!' Waltz protested.

'Could have fooled me.'

'You shut your face!' Waltz snapped. 'I am the leader here goddamit! I own you all!'

'The hell you do!' Sumaey growled.

'Do not speak to my lady like that' Spirit demanded.

'My lady is it?' Waltz echoed in humour. 'She's not the freaking queen you know' he scoffed. 'How long before you start licking her boots?'

It was at that moment where Sumaey so gracefully sailed towards him, sending a foot to the face.

Waltz fell over in the mud in an undignified manner, with a perfect imprint of a muddy boot on the side of his face.

'STUPID GIT!' he hollered, rising to his feet and lunging for her.

'Do not touch her!' Spirit howled, releasing Graham and charging for him instead.

The three fought in a ridiculous pile in a mess of dust and stars and limbs flailing everywhere, all the while with Graham staring transfixed at the scene before him.

This was a perfect opportunity to escape, but he was too confused by what was happening before him for the idea to even be considered.

And so he stood there and watched, waiting to see who would win.

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