Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 138,839,046 Issue: 287 | 13th day of Eating, Y9
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The Ghost of Meridell: Part Five


by kt_fox

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Pale blue eyes carefully watched the Draik sentinel that passed by up above for the third time. The ghost Lupess had been watching him and several other guards for the past four hours. She had found this spot to be the best to sneak in to. The guard here was much less erratic than the others around the castle, which allowed Krystal to time his pace. After doing some quick calculations she took a guess on how long it would take her to scale the wall, and how long she would have until the Draik came back.

     She decided she would have about a minute to spare. Waiting until the guard went into his fourth pass, Krystal took out a grappling hook and effortlessly tossed it up to the wall. She waited all of two seconds before hearing the satisfying clunk of metal hitting stone. Smiling she tugged on it to make sure it would stay, than she began to climb.

     Making it inside took no effort at all. It was actually quite fun. But now she had to focus; this was too important to mess up. The Lupess walked cautiously down the darkened hallways. Keeping to the shadows she was able to avoid the sleepy guards the walked by from time to time. Their eyes were heavy and crying out for relief; if only they could close their eyes for only a few moments. Oh, how good it sounded, but still they would resist. Instead they would continue to walk, slowly; with wide-open eyes, they continued.

     As Krystal watched the third sleepy guard walk by she couldn’t resist the urge to see just how superstitious the Draiks of Meridell were. Taking off her necklace and laying it on a short, decorative pillar, she stepped right out into the guard’s view.

     The Draik’s eyes grew wide with fear as the now transparent Lupess looked straight at him. “Excuse me,” she said innocently, “would you be so kind as to tell me where the treasure room is?”

     “GHOST!” the guard shouted as he took off down the hall. “It’s a ghost! The castle is haunted!”

     Krystal laughed uncontrollably as the Draik ran screaming down the hall. She grabbed her necklace and resumed walking. To Krystal’s surprise, and delight, she rounded the next corner only to find the treasure room, unguarded, and begging her to walk right in.

     Taking the invitation she carefully sat her necklace on the floor and walked right through the locked door. The Lupess glanced around the room and immediately found what she was looking for. Right in the middle of the room was a small, round, wooden table. On that table sat a red, velvet pillow, and on top of that pillow rested the gray sphere.

     For wanting to keep it safe, Krystal thought, they sure aren’t guarding it very well. The Lupess shrugged and walked towards the object. “So, you’re going to rid me of my plight,” she whispered softly.

     The Lupess reached out for it, though she knew she wouldn’t be able to actually touch it. Krystal’s fingertips only brushed the surface ever so slightly, and to her surprise she could actually feel it. Her eyes glowed red for only a second as an image exploded in her mind’s eye. A large blue Lupe dressed in squire clothes was walking down the hall toward the treasure room. And he had a sword.

     Krystal jerked her hand away from the orb as if it and burned her. She didn’t know how or why, but this thing was warning her of the approaching squire. The Lupess whirled on her heals and walked back through the wall. Just as she bent down and picked up her necklace she heard a familiar baritone voice.

     “You!” Jeran said as he stared dumbfounded at what he had just seen. “How did you do that!?”

     This wasn’t good, Krystal knew. True, he was supposed to see her, but he wasn’t supposed to see her walk right through the wall! Without a word, the Lupess took off down the hall. She ran as fast as she could, practically knocking over every guard that she came across in her mad dash to get out of the castle. If she got caught now, the plan would fail. And if she let that happen, Raylac would never let her see that sphere long enough to even blink at it, let alone long enough to find out how to make it cure her.

     To her surprise, none of the guards were even following her; not even the squire. But it couldn’t be this easy. Krystal skidded around a corner and headed right for the double doors at the end of the hallway. She swung them open and ran out. Unfortunately, what she thought was an exit turned out to be the courtyard training grounds.

     No one was behind her yet; if she hurried, she should have time to make it over the wall. The Lupess raced for the nearest wall. As she drew close to it, there was a sudden gleam in the moonlight. Krystal instinctively ducked out of the way as a sword slashed at the wind just overhead. It was too far away from her head to be meant as anything but a warning, but it still made her fighting reflex kick into gear.

     Without losing a step Krystal swept her foot under the handle of a training sword that had been left out. The action sent the sword spinning straight up into the air. The Lupess did another sweeping kick and knocked the legs out from under her opponent. As he fell, Krystal threw herself to the side and did one quick somersault. In one smooth motion the Lupess rolled to her feet and grabbed the falling sword safely by the handle.

     By this time her attacker made it back to his feet and she as was able to see him for the first time. She wasn’t all too surprised to see the Lupe squire standing in front of her. The Lupess smiled sweetly and took on a defensive stance. “Not bad, for a squire,” she said playfully.

     “Not bad for a thief,” Jeran said with grim resolve, though his tone was somewhat playfully. “Now if you would be so kind as to tell me what you were doing in the castle, I might be able to let you off easy.”

     Krystal lunged at the squire and swung her sword at him. Luckily for Jeran his reflexes were sharp. He brought his sword up just in time to block the thief’s attack. “And pray tell, Jeran, what makes you think I’d bother telling you?”

     Jeran shoved her back and sent her staggering. “How do you know my name?”

     “Oh I know a great deal about you, Jeran Borodere.”

     The Lupe squire shot forward and brought his sword down, intending only to scare her, but the Lupess was on to him. She sidestepped and in turn brought her sword down on top of his, pinning it to the ground. “Alright, you have my name. May I at least have yours?”

     Every one of Krystal's instincts told her she was being baited. But if this was going to work she would have to ignore her feelings. “Krystal,” she replied without so much as a blink.

     Jeran smirked as if he had some grand joke to tell. “That ‘walking through walls’ thing is a neat trick. Must be lousy when you want to steal something, though.”

     Krystal cocked her head. This Lupe was up to something. “Well, if you must know, it’s a curse. One that can only be lifted with that nice gray sphere you’ve just added to the royal treasury. So if you don’t mind, I’ll just be taking it off your hands.”

     “Not today.” Jeran punctuated his words by bringing his sword up as fast as he could.

     Taken by surprise, Krystal lost her grip on her sword as it went flying. The Lupess didn’t wait. She took off like a shot, climbed over the wall and disappeared. Krystal smiled as she heard the sounds of Jeran following behind. She had to hand it to him; he didn’t give up easily.

     The Lupess quickened her pace and ran off into the woods. Grinning, she glanced over her shoulder and called to him, “Bet you can’t keep up!”

     “I bet I can!” Jeran called back. Grinning, he realized that this was more of a game for this thief than anything else. He quickened his pace, but he was quickly reminded of just how hard it was to follow this Lupess through the woods like this.

     Finally he saw her slow down as she came to a break in the trees. However, just as the Lupe ran into the clearing he realized that Krystal was nowhere to be found. The smile on his face quickly faded as his instincts screamed for him to get out of there. Jeran drew his sword and carefully looked around. But even with the precautions he had taken, he still didn’t hear it coming.

     In a blur of red and black, the Lupe squire was almost knocked to the ground by a force greater than he’d ever felt before. Quickly regaining his balance Jeran looked up to see that his attacker was a large red Kyrii in a sandy colored tunic and black cloak.

     In his hand he held a deadly looking sword, sharp enough to cut a rock in half. His black eyes showed no emotion at all as he regarded the Lupe coldly.

     No words could describe the battle that took place next. It was quite a struggle to say the least; considering that a squire was fighting a highly trained killer. And on that note, Jeran fought quite valiantly against the Kyrii... unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.

     The whole thing lasted mere seconds, though to Jeran it seemed like hours. He was exhausted, while the Kyrii had hardly even blinked. But the squire wasn’t giving up; he had to do this. He had to prove himself worthy of wielding the sword that Sir Gavin had entrusted to him.

     Perhaps it was Jeran’s overconfidence that he could win. Maybe it was that he was too tired to fight anymore, but he just didn’t realize it. Whatever it had been, it had gotten him into serious trouble. As Jeran charged his opponent, it looked like he might actually strike him. But with speed that Jeran had never seen before, the Kyrii dodged the Lupe’s attack, spun around and swung his sword.

     Jeran dropped his sword and cradled his injured forearm. His eyes watered as he clenched his teeth in an attempt to hold back a cry of pain.

     While he was distracted with his injury the Kyrii lunged forward and shoved Jeran to the ground. The Lupe hit the ground with a grunt of pain. He was helpless. He had lost his sword and with the Kyrii standing over him there was no way to get to it. It was at that moment he realized he was looking at his final moments of life.

     The Kyrii raised his sword, preparing to deliver the blow that would end the squire’s life.

     “JERAN!”

     Sir Gavin came rushing out of the woods, sword in hand. The Kyrii whirled on his heels and tried to block the knight’s attack. As Jeran rolled out of the way and to his feet he heard the Kyrii hiss in pain. The Lupe glanced at the two combatants for only a moment before racing for his sword.

     He never made it that far, though. For as long as he lived, Jeran would never forget what happened next. He heard a cry, but this time it hadn’t come from the Kyrii. The squire turned around only to see his knight master fall to the ground. Everything seemed to go in slow motion as the injured Kyrii fled from the clearing and Jeran raced to the downed Champion.

     Rain began to pour out of the gray clouds that had gathered overhead as Jeran called on every last bit of his strength to carry his fallen friend. True, Sir Gavin was still alive, just barely, though.

     Jeran clung to the hope that if he could get the knight back to the castle, he would be all right. But somewhere deep down, the Lupe knew that wasn’t true. Rain pelted Jeran in the face as he walked, with a heavy burden, and a heavy heart.

     Pale blue eyes watched the squire leave with his heavy burden. This wasn’t supposed to happen. This hadn’t been the plan. Krystal watched Jeran with almost sympathetic eyes. Shaking her head she whispered to herself, “This wasn’t supposed to happen...”

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Ghost of Meridell: Part One
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Two
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Three
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Four
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Six
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Seven



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