Beautiful portraits and statues lined the stairway, but they didn’t draw Milton or Trixie’s attention as they charged up the stairs. Milton frowned at Trixie’s heavy breathing. She didn’t have the luxury of flying like he did, and if she got worn out here her shield would be almost useless. He wondered how much he could lift while flying. Perhaps she could ride on his back and he could carry both of them up. “How much further is it to Lang’kahn’s throne?”
Sil’abo replied, “Not much further, only another couple of flights of stairs.”
Milton shook his head and turned to Trixie. “Do you think you can make it that far, or do you want me to try and give you a lift?”
Trixe smiled and pushed on. “I’ll be fine, don’t worry about me.”
Milton turned his attention back to Sil’abo, “I expected to see more of Lang’kahn’s Aureus’Aevum guarding the palace, but we haven’t seen anyone since we got inside. Do you think they’re all waiting for us in his throne room?”
Sil’abo shook his head. “Lang’kahn is sure to have some of his followers around him, but I think a majority of his forces were focused outside. It would appear that Ahir did a good job of thinning his forces.”
Milton snorted. “Don’t remind me.”
Tor’jahd hurried down the stairs to the Aureus’Aevum he had left down below. He saw the six he had left to open portals still concentrating and the others were just lounging around the room. Tor’jahd growled, “Haven’t you gotten those portals open yet? There is fighting going on outside the tower!”
One of the Aureus’Aevum working on opening a portal cracked an eye open and glared at Tor’jahd. “Opening a portal takes time, and even master Lang’kahn couldn’t open one any faster.”
Tor’jahd shook his head. “We need reinforcements now! If we send more humans at them we might be able to turn more Aureus’Aevum and cause the others to lose heart!”
The Aureus’Aevum sighed. “You’re welcome to try and open a portal faster if you like, Tor’jahd.”
Tor’jahd snarled, “You know I avoid using magic! Master Lang’kahn wants to keep me as I am so that I will provide him with objective council, not just praise and adoration like you sycophants give him. According to you lot his every idea is pure brilliance and can’t possibly fail.”
Sil’abo’s voice echoed up the stairway, “We’ve finally made it to the top, I hope that you all are ready.”
Tor’jahd’s head looked toward the stairway and panic filled his face when he heard Milton reply, “Good, hopefully Lang’kahn hasn’t broken the seal on the sword yet.” A flying golden lion came up the stairs clutching the Powaga Joursi in his hands.
Tor’jahd shrieked, “Milton? I thought I left you injured!” He turned and ran back toward the staircase.
Milton growled, “Tor’jahd? I was hoping that I would find you here! You’re going to pay for what you did to my eye!” Milton flew past the other Aureus’Aevum in the room.
Trixie held her hand out and cried, “Milton, we need to stick together! There’ll be time to deal with Tor’jahd later!”
Trixie’s cries fell upon deaf ears as Milton sped up to the top of the tower after Tor’jahd. Milton’s voice echoed up the stairwell after Tor’jahd. “What’s the matter, Tor’jahd? Don’t you want to perch on my shoulder now? It’ll be just like old times!” Tor’jahd’s shriek echoed back down at Milton and Tor’jahd ran as fast as he could up the stairs.
Tor’jahd reached the top of the tower and looked down at the fighting going on beneath him. He turned to face Milton as he stalked ever closer, and he put a smile onto his face. “Milton, you have to forgive me, this has all been to gain Lang’kahn’s trust! Together we can defeat him once and for all!”
Milton frowned and shook his head. “Save it. I’m not going to believe anything you say any more.”
Tor’jahd’s eyes frantically searched for a way out of this. Why wasn’t Milton believing him? Maybe if he offered to replace his eye? A cunning smile replaced the panic on his face. “You are exactly what master Lang’kahn needs to ensure his rule here. Come with me, and I’m sure that we will find you a place of power once King Dar’duo is dead. We’ll even let you finish off Ahir if you want. He’s no longer of any use to us.”
Milton snarled, “I’m not going to let you use me, or anyone else ever again!” He pulled back his bowstring and fired an arrow into Tor’jahd, and then leapt over the edge of the tower and fired the second shot down into the middle of the fight raging beneath them. Tor’jahd was pulled screaming over the edge of the tower and crashed into the ground, cracking the paving and drawing the attention of the fighters down below.
A satisfied smile filled Milton’s face for a few moments until it was replaced with panic. He had left Trixie and the others alone in a room filled with Aureus’Aevum! He had to get back down there and help them out! He turned and rushed for the stairs.
Trixie raised up her shield and deflected a fireball back at the Aureus’Aevum that had hurtled it at them, and it knocked him back over. The human’s cowered behind Trixie, and one of them whispered, “I regret not leaving with the others! There’s no way we’ll make it out of this alive!”
Trixie gave what she hoped was a reassuring smile, “Don’t worry, I won’t anything happen to you. We’ll get you out of this safely.” She just wasn’t sure how yet, but she wasn’t going to let them know that. Six of the Aureus’Aevum they had stumbled across looked like they were still concentrating on something, most likely a spell of some sort. She wasn’t looking forward to finding out what the spell would do, but she was glad that they were distracted for the moment.
Sil’abo and the other Aureus’Aevum were struggling to keep the attention of Lang’kahn’s followers, but they were outnumbered. The three of them, even with their artifacts weren’t a match for the eight Aureus’Aevum that didn’t hesitate to use magic on them. Several of the Aureus’Aevum were lying on the ground, bound in invisible shackles because of one of the artifacts, but the effect didn’t last long enough. After a minute or two of struggling they would break free of their bonds and go right back into their attack.
Sil’abo was causing chaos in their ranks with his rod that caused whoever he touched with it to become confused. Thanks to that the magic attacks used by their enemies hit allies as often as not, but the third Aureus’Aevum’s frying pan that would turn blazing hot at will wasn’t proving to be very useful. Trixie wasn’t sure how such an artifact hadn’t found its ways to Dar’dou’s kitchens, but then again she wasn’t sure how any of these artifacts went unused.
A portal sprang to life in front of one of the Aureus’Aevum, and Trixie got an idea. She turned to the two humans standing behind her and said, “Go through that portal quickly! It should take you back to our world and change you back to normal!”
The humans looked hesitantly at the portal and all the chaos going on in the room and said, “How are we supposed to make it to that? Surely one of the Aureus’Aevum will attack us before we can make it there.”
Trixie sighed. “I’ll keep you safe, now come on! You need to get back and warn the police that there might be an invasion. Go to detective Miguel and tell him Trixie sent you, he’ll believe you.”
The other human replied, “We will make sure to give him your message. Thank you for everything you have done for us, Trixie.”
The three of them hurried toward the portal, and Trixie deflected multiple magical blows away from the humans. The humans dove into the portal, and once she was sure they were away from danger, Trixie thrust her shield into the portal and it closed. The Aureus’Aevum next to the portal glared at Trixie. “Do you know how long that took for me to open?”
The Aureus’Aevum pulled its hand back to slap at Trixie, but a light arrow crashed into its back, and it was pulled across the room and slammed into the wall with a grunt. Trixie smiled and turned to see Milton floating above the stairs. “Milton, you came back!”
Milton nodded his head and fired another arrow into one of the Aureus’Aevum working on getting another portal open. “Sorry I left, but we don’t have to worry about Tor’jahd anymore. You go on ahead and try to find Ahir. Sil’abo and I will join with you once we’ve dealt with these Aureus’Aevum.” Milton fired his second arrow out of one of the windows, and a second later the Aureus’Aevum went flying out of the tower screaming curses at Milton.
Trixie ran across the room and pushed open the door and rushed into Lang’kahn’s throne room, revealing Lang’kahn sitting upon his throne with the Gladio Protegat levitating above his hands and three of his followers sitting around him. Lang’kahn’s eyes opened and he snarled, “What do you want? I thought I told Tor’jahd I didn’t want to be disturbed!”
Trixie swallowed and hesitantly said, “I’m here to stop you, Lang’kahn, and to save Ahir.”
Lang’kahn’s eyes narrowed and he more closely examined Trixie. “I don’t recognize you, but that shield; wait, are you Trixie?” Lang’kahn laughed before continuing, “You came to stop me with just your shield?”
Trixie’s body started shaking in fear and her voice quivered as she replied, “We will defeat you, and when this is all done Ahir and I will return to our world together.”
Lang’kahn shook his head. “I don’t have time to deal with you right now, I’m in the middle of something very important. I have no quarrel with you, just take Ahir and go.”
Trixie paused for a moment. He was right, what was she going to do against him with just her shield. Even Milton would have a hard time beating Lang’kahn with just his bow. “You’ll just let us go?”
Lang’kahn smiled. “I’ll even promise not to destroy your world. All I’m asking you to do is to walk away from someone else’s fight, a fight that you can’t win. Ahir is in the cage in the corner, just take him and go and I promise to forget that your world even exists.”
Trixie looked at the corner that Lang’kahn had indicated and gasped when she saw the cage containing a black mist and Bar’bou’s bruised and battered form. Trixie rushed over to the cage and Lang’kahn nodded his head and turned his focus back to the sword that hovered over his hands.
Bar’bou sat up and groaned, “Miss Ameliason, you can’t be considering abandoning us now.”
A black mist that floated in the cage that Trixie assumed must be Ahir said, “He’s right, Trixie. We have to stay and fight, they don’t stand a chance on their own.”
Tears ran down Trixie’s cheek. She sniffled and said, “Ahir, what have they done to you? Of course we have to fight, but I couldn’t do it on my own.” Trixie bashed her shield against the cage, shattering it to pieces.
Ahir moved over to Trixie and two arms formed out of mist and wrapped around her. “Did you come alone?”
Trixie shook her head and wiped the tears off of her cheek. “No, Milton and some Aureus’Aevum came with us, but most of them are fighting outside of the tower, and Milton is outside the room with Sil’abo. What are we going to do, Ahir?”
Ahir looked at Lang’kahn and his followers. “The only thing we can do is try to get the sword away from him before he can break the seal on it. I think we have to rush him and hope he’s too distracted to notice us until it’s too late.”
Trixie shifted her stance to prepare herself to run. “On the count of three then?”
Ahir nodded his head and counted, “One, two, three!” Ahir and Trixie rushed across the room as fast as they could. Ahir reached out to grab the sword and Lang’kahn lifted his hand at the same time. Ahir and Trixie were hurtled across the room and slammed into the wall.
Lang’kahn never looked up from the sword, but said, “Please, I’m in the middle of something very important. I don’t have time to deal with you right now.”
Ahir struggled against the magic that held him to the wall, but after a short time he slumped. “What’s the point of even trying? I’m no hero without the sword; I’m just a street performer.”
Trixie continued to struggle against the magical bonds that held her. “You are a hero, Ahir! It’s not the sword that made you a hero, it’s who you are! That’s why the Aureus’Aevum chose you in the first place!”
Ahir snorted. “Some hero I turned out to be. I fell for Lang’kahn’s tricks and let him get the one thing that would allow him to fulfill his plans. I was too weak.”
“You allowed compassion to rule over reason out of concern for your friend. That is what makes you strong. You’re not weak!”
The doors of the throne room burst open and Milton flew inside. “I still think you’re weak and rely on me to save you far too often!” He fired an arrow into the sword and a second one into the ceiling. The sword leapt out of Lang’kahn’s hands and became pinned to the ceiling.
Lang’kahn growled, “I’m growing tired of all these interruptions!” Lang’kahn looked at his followers and said, “Continue the spell while I deal with these intruders.” Lang’kahn formed a fireball in his hand and launched it at Milton. The bonds that held Trixie and Ahir to the wall disappeared when he did and they dropped down to their feet.
Milton flew to the side and the fireball crashed into the doors, knocking them off of their hinges and into the next room. The door slammed into Sil’abo knocking him to the ground. Sil’abo grunted when the door landed on top of him, and he struggled to get out from under it.
Ahir shouted with a hope filled voice, “Milton! Good to see you are alright, what’s our plan?”
Milton flew out of the way of another fireball and shot an arrow into a bit of rubble from the cage and a second one behind Lang’kahn. “Get the sword away from Lang’kahn before he can break the seal on it. I’ll come up with something else if we make it that far.”
The bit of cage that Milton had shot with his arrow flew across the room and slammed into Lang’kahn. Lang’kahn was knocked back a step and he growled, “I am not amused by these games of yours.” He grabbed the bit of cage and threw it to the side, and once it left his hands it flew into the spot where the other arrow was. Lang’kahn formed another fireball in his hand but before he could launch it at Milton another bit of cage crashed into him.
Milton released his pull on the sword, allowing it to fall down into Ahir’s waiting hands. Lang’kahn was hurling curses at Milton under a barrage of broken bits of the cage, so he didn’t notice Ahir rushing up behind him. King Dar’duo strode into the room and held a golden scepter out toward Ahir. “Not my son!”
Ahir’s body went rigid as he felt the king’s will fight him inside of his mind for control of his body. Lang’kahn turned and saw Ahir standing behind him with the Gladio Protegat raised to strike and panic filled his face. Once he saw that Ahir wasn’t moving, he started to laugh and turned to face his father. “This is perfect, not only did you ruin the only chance you had of winning, you also allowed me to achieve my victory sooner than I had planned!”
A third mind joined the fight for control of Ahir, and this mind shoved the others aside as if they were mere flies. Lang’kahn seized control of Ahir’s body and he stalked across the room. Lang’kahn said through Ahir’s mouth, “There was no reason for you to come here, Father. I was going to be coming for you soon enough, you just needed a little more patience.”
Dar’duo’s mind snapped back into his body, and he held his hands up. “Son, this doesn’t have to end in more death. We can talk this through, together. If it’s the throne you want, I will be happy to step aside and allow you to sit upon it. It was to be yours one day anyway.”
Lang’kahn snarled, “I’m not so weak that I need to be given what is mine by right.” The Gladio Protegat darted out and slashed through Dar’duo’s neck. Sadness filled the King’s face before his head rolled off of his shoulders. Before it reached the ground it began breaking down into a black dust along with the rest of his body. The dust flew out the window as if carried on an unseen breeze and the golden scepter fell to the ground, filling the room with a ping.
Lang’kahn turned and walk across the room and handed the sword to his actual body, before giving Ahir control once more. A smile filled Lang’kahn’s face. “My thanks to you, Ahir; without your help I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my victory. Thanks to you, I am now the king of the Aureus’Aevum by right.”
Tears flowed down Trixie’s face as she charged at Lang’kahn. “That was your own father! How could you just kill him like that after he saved your life?”
Lang’kahn flicked his wrist and Trixie was thrown across the room by some unseen force. She crashed heavily into the wall and fell into a crumpled heap on the floor. Her shield dropped from limp fingers and clattered onto the stone floor. “No, Trixie!” Ahir shouted as he hurried to her side. He listened closely and heard that Trixie was still breathing.
Lang’kahn shook his head. “I hope now you see how foolish your attempts to stop me are. Take your friend and go, I will not give you another chance.”
Ahir picked up Trixie’s shield, turned and faced Lang’kahn. “I am Ahir, the Guardian of Malor, and I will defeat you.”
Lang’kahn shook his head. “I don’t understand, this isn’t your world, these aren’t your people; why do you care about what happens to them?”
Another piece of the cage slammed into the back of Lang’kahn’s head and he turned and growled at Milton. Milton raised his hand up to push his glasses further up his nose, and he smirked at him. “He’s a hero; that’s what heroes do.”
Lang’kahn formed a fireball in his hands and hurled it at Milton. Milton dodged the fireball and launched another set of arrows, sending another chunk of the cage flying at Lang’kahn. Ahir ran toward Milton as Lang’kahn fired a barrage of fireballs at him. Ahir was able to reach Milton in time to send one of the fireballs hurtling back at him.
The fireball struck Lang’kahn squarely in the chest and knocked him to the ground. He rose to his feet and glared at Ahir with a gaze that dripped venom and he snarled at him. Calmness spread over him, and he stood up and dusted himself off. “You must understand by now that this is pointless; you can’t harm me. I don’t have to kill you, I just have to wait until the seal is broken on my sword. My victory is inevitable and there is nothing you can do about it.” He sat down upon his throne. “Stick around if you wish. Once I have gathered my followers around me, I’ll deal with you.”
Ahir hung his head. “He’s right, we have to stop them from breaking the seal.”
Milton pulled back the string on his bow and took aim. “I’m already ahead of you.” He released his first arrow and it flew into the back of one of Lang’kahn’s followers. He smiled and fired a second arrow into the wall. The Aureus’Aevum shrieked as it was hurtled across the room and crashed into the wall.
Ahir grinned like a boy that has just gotten away with sneaking a cookie from under his mother’s nose. “They won’t be able to concentrate on the spell if they are being thrown around the room. Milton, you’re brilliant. Send one of them my way, I want to see what happens if they bounce off of the shield.”
Lang’kahn jumped out of his throne and a lightning bolt flew from his fingers at Milton. “Don’t let the human’s distract you! The seal on the sword must be broken!”
Ahir dashed up to Milton’s side and pushed the shield into Milton. The shield knocked Milton back and out of the way of the lightning bolt, but he groaned and clutched his ribs. The lightning bolt crashed into the wall and dust and bits of rock rained down onto Ahir. “Thanks for the save, but next time just push with your hands.”
The Gladio Protegat started to glow golden in Lang’kahn’s hands. It glowed brighter and brighter until Ahir and Milton had to shield their eyes from the light. The glow disappeared and one of Lang’kahn’s followers looked up and smiled. “The seal has been broken, Master.”
Lang’kahn shouted triumphantly at the ceiling, “The hour of my victory has arrived!” He turned and glared at Ahir and began slowly stalking toward him. “I must congratulate you. You have managed to delay this moment far longer than I had thought any human capable of. I hope that this is a suitable reward for such a feat?” He swung the sword down at Ahir.
Ahir raised his shield and the sword bounced harmlessly off of it. The force of the swing reflected back on itself almost sent the sword flying, but Lang’kahn hung on to it and was sent staggering several steps back to avoid being knocked over. Lang’kahn hissed, “Another of Laz’krit’s annoying artifacts. I doubt you will give me much trouble once I rid you of it.” Lang’kahn flicked his wrist once more and sent the shield flying from Ahir’s grasp and pinning it to the wall.
Milton watched in horror as a victorious smile filled Lang’kahn’s face and he pulled his arm back to swing the sword down at Ahir. Milton pulled the string back on his bow and fired an arrow at the sword. Lang’kahn lifted his hand and the arrow disappeared before it reached the sword. He spared Milton a look. “Did you really think that I wouldn’t anticipate you trying to shoot the sword out of my hands? Patience, Milton. I’ll take care you after I have finished with Ahir.”
Milton looked around the room in desperation and saw the Escudo Spegel pinned to the wall. He had taken some crazy shots in his time with the Powaga Joursi, but this one was almost impossible, and he was only going to get one shot at it. He fired an arrow onto the reflective surface of the shield, and immediately fired a second arrow into the ground next to him.
Lang’kahn swung the sword down at Ahir and the arrow crashed into the sword in mid swing, and it was instantly pulled across the room to land at Milton’s feet. Lang’kahn scrambled after the sword. Milton bent over and picked up the sword and drove the point into Lang’kahn’s chest as he dove for the sword. Lang’kahn’s eyes opened wide in shock, and he gasped out, “You don’t understand, I could have done great things for my people, greater than any king before me!” Lang’kahn’s body broke down into dust and blew out one of the windows in the room.
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more stories like it, check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page for updates on the stories here: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see my review of what happened previously in Rebellion on Aquore, as well as a sneak peek at what will happen in the next chapter. Then come back on Monday when I will post part of one the next chapter of Rebellion on Aquore, and check out my newly published book, The Kids on the Case.