Aldrick looked over his shoulder, and shook his head. I left Hugh and Charles to die! One of them will make a mistake eventually, and Apollos will use that opening to finish off first the one, and then the other. Geraldo, why did it turn out like this? When did we start using the people around us instead of fighting alongside them?
Aldrick slowed his run down into a walk once he reached a raft, fighting against the rope that tied it to a tree and prevented it from being swept down the river, and gave one final look back over his shoulder. He could not afford to wait for Hugh or Charles. Every moment he delayed gave Apollos a greater chance of catching up with him and giving him the justice he deserved. He climbed onto the raft and cut the raft free with a swing of Ryupoto’s blade.
The bank of the river sped by him as he stood at the crude rudder at the back of the raft, which he used to avoid the muddy protrusions that popped up here and there along the river. A small tear formed on his cheek, but he quickly wiped it away. He had sentenced his two most loyal students to death, and Geraldo wouldn’t even mourn their passing. He would just instruct Aldrick to pick out others to train and take their place. He remembered when this started out; Geraldo mourned that they would have to hurt anyone, even if it meant protecting everyone else. Now, he threw people away as if they were disposable. When did Aldrick stop fighting to protect those that he cared about?
Aldrick was going to sit down and have a serious talk with Geraldo once he returned with this beast blade, and he wouldn’t allow himself to be pushed aside or deflected this time. He was going to find the gentle boy within Geraldo that wanted to help the people of this country, and he was going to bring him back.
Tarrumbarrus thundered down the river bank, and Lucas and Tara held on tight to the seat of the wagon. Apollos laughed. “Suddenly I can see the advantage of using a beast blade for transportation!”
The wagon rolled over a rock that sent Lucas and Tara skyborn, and they crashed back onto the seat of the wagon, and grabbed onto it even tighter. Lucas groaned, “Aren’t we going a little too fast, Apollos?”
Apollos bellowed out another laugh. “Too fast? Certainly not! In fact, we need more speed if we’re going to catch up with Aldrick. Faster, Tarrumbarrus!”
Tarrumbarrus trumpeted and increased his speed. Tara gritted her teeth. “What are we going to do when we catch up with Aldrick?”
Apollos stopped laughing, and his face turned serious. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to get that beast blade back. We cannot allow Geraldo to get his hands on anymore legendary beast blades.”
Lucas looked up at Apollos. “What about Aldrick?”
Apollos sighed. “Aldrick and I will settle accounts. When this is finished, only one of us will stand.”
Tara pointed at the river. “There! I see a raft on the river!”
Aldrick heard Tarrumbarrus’ trumpet echo through the valley, and turned to look behind him, and cringed. He saw a wagon pulled by an elephant quickly approaching and pulled the sword strapped to his back free. He dipped the blade into the river and said, “Awaken, Magnavansimia!” Water swirled around the blade and formed into a giant gorilla. The gorilla swam after the raft and easily kept pace with it. “I need you to help me go faster.” The gorilla clamped a giant hand on either side of the rudder and the raft darted ahead, propelled by Magnavansimia’s powerful kicks.
Aldrick watched the river ahead of the raft for anything that might slow him down, but also kept glancing over his shoulder. He cursed; the speed boost that Maganvansimia was giving him wasn’t going to be enough to stay ahead of Apollos and those children. He had sacrificed too much to allow it to end like this! Aldrick looked down at the beast blade lying in the middle of the raft. He picked Ryupoto up and dipped its tip into the foaming waters next to the raft. “Awaken, Ryupoto!”
A cyclone rose up from the riverbank and formed into the water dragon, froze and shattered, revealing Ryupoto. Ryupoto hurried down the river after the raft and Aldrick smiled. “Ryupoto, freeze that side of the riverbank!” Ryupoto turned and shot a stream of water from its mouth that turned into ice upon contact with the ground. Aldrick smirked and turned to face the front of the raft. “Let’s see you keep up with me now, Apollos.”
Apollos gasped as the wagon approached the ice. “Tarrumbarrus, quickly shatter that ice with a tremor!” Tarrumbarrus trumpeted to signify he had heard Apollos and stomped on the ground, sending tremors through the surrounding area, breaking the ice on the path ahead of them. It also broke free rocks from the valley wall that rained down on the path, sent waves surging through the river, and rocking the wagon. “Hold on tight, things are about to get bumpy!”
Tara groaned and wrapped her arms around the wagon seat. “What do you mean, ‘about to get bumpy’?”
Apollos gritted his teeth and pulled on the reigns to steer Tarrumbarrus around a stone that had fallen into the path. “Fine, they’re about to get bumpier.” A stone fell from the valley side and landed on the back of the wagon. The wagon bed groaned and splintered under the weight of the stone. Apollos punched the seat of the wagon. “Milton’s luck! That’s all we need is for the wagon to break now.”
Lucas looked up at Apollos. “What are we going to do when we catch up with the raft, Apollos?”
Apollos grinned. “We’re going to jump on it and get your beast blade back.” Tarrumbarrus raced ahead, growing ever closer to the raft. The wagon finally pulled up alongside the raft, and Apollos handed Tara the reigns. “Keep on along the bank. Lucas and I will need a ride once I’ve finished with Aldrick.”
Tara accepted the reigns from Apollos and gripped them so tightly her knuckles turned white. “You know this is crazy, right?”
Apollos laughed and climbed into the wagon bed. “It may be crazy, but I haven’t felt this young in years!” Apollos helped Lucas into the back of the wagon. “Grab what you need to summon your beast blades. I doubt that you will find much of what you need over there.”
Lucas pulled a chunk of iron out of the supply bag and smashed it against the rock on the wagon bed. A chunk of the rock broke off and Lucas picked it up, and nodded. “Do we have to do this?”
Apollos sighed. “If I could think of another way to do this, I would, but we can’t let Aldrick get away with that beast blade. Tara, move closer to the river!” Tara guided Tarrumbarrus over to the edge of the river and Apollos grabbed the back of Lucas’ shirt. “Time to go!” Apollos and Lucas leapt off the wagon and soared toward the river. They landed with a thud onto the raft and Aldrick drew his sword. Apollos jumped to his feet and drew his sword. “Give back the beast blade, Aldrick.”
Aldrick shook his head. “I can’t do that, Apollos. Geraldo is going to change the world, and this blade will ensure that I can stay by his side and try to ensure he changes it for the better. Magnavansimia, come aboard the raft and take care of the child.” The gorilla pulled itself up onto the raft and growled at Lucas.
Lucas dropped the rock he was carrying and the chunk of iron onto the raft, pulled out his beast blades, and touched them to their respective elements. “Awaken Petrusa and Ferrumlupus!” The stone bear and steel wolf formed from their blade and stood growling between Magnavansimia and Lucas. “Stop that gorilla!”
They lurched forward and Petrusa slashed at Magnavansima’s chest, and Ferrumlupus sunk his steel fangs into the gorilla’s leg. Magnavansimia roared out in pain and batted at Ferrumlupus. Ferrumlupus bit down harder and snarled at the water gorilla.
Apollos and Aldrick were engaged in a deadly dance of steel and man, each taking turns attacking and defending against the blows that seeked to end lives.
Aldrick grinned. “I’m glad to see that your old age hasn’t slowed you down any. I was afraid that this wouldn’t be a challenge.”
Apollos snarled back. “You are as skilled as I remember as well. It’s a pity that I’ll have to kill you here. Too few practice the art of the sword any longer.”
Aldrick’s grin turned into a glare. “I agree that by the end of this fight only one of us will still be standing, but I intend that to be me!”
Lucas snuck over to the side of the raft where Ryupoto was swimming. It rose out of the water and hissed at Lucas. Lucas held his hands up and made soothing sounds with his mouth. “Hey, it’s okay, big guy. Remember me? I’m the one that found you. My name is Lucas. Why don’t you slumber, Ryupoto?”
Ryupoto closed its eyes, and turned back into a beast blade that dropped at Lucas’ feet. Lucas bent over and picked up the sword and smiled. “I didn’t expect that to actually work.” Lucas put Ryupoto into one of the sheaths on his back and looked over to where his beast blades were fighting against Magnavansimia. Petrusa pulled its arm back and then slashed through Magnavansimia’s chest. Magnavansimia grunted and dropped down to its knees. It changed back to a sword and fell with a clang onto the raft.
The raft jerked to a halt, sending Apollos and Aldrick sprawling onto the raft. Lucas flew off the raft, hitting his head on a stone growing from the mud bank the raft had rammed into. Then Lucas fell into the river.
Apollos took the opportunity to jump onto of Aldrick and pin him to the raft. He pulled his arm back and then froze in mid swing when he heard Tara scream. “Lucas, no!” Apollos looked up and couldn’t see Lucas.
Apollos held his blade at Aldrick’s throat and pinned the arm holding Aldrick’s sword to the ground with his other hand. “Tara, what happened to Lucas?”
Tara sobbed back, “He hit his head on a rock and then fell into the river. Apollos, I didn’t see him come back up!”
Apollos growled. “Draxx! This is all your fault, Aldrick! Do you have anything you want to say before I send you to the afterlife?”
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more like it, come back on Monday when I will publish part one of chapter 14 of Ahir, Guardian of Malor, come back tomorrow when I will have all of chapter 7 for you, and Sunday for an update video on what happened previously in chapter 13 of Ahir, Guardian of Malor, and a glimpse of what is going to happen in chapter 14. Check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page connect with me and give me some feedback: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read. Also, if you enjoy reading my stories, and you enjoy drawing, I’m looking for pictures of my characters. If you want to send me your fan art, I promise to include it with some of my posts! I look forward to seeing that art!