Once Upon a Time – Chap. 16.5

It wasn’t until settling back on her feet that Sylvia took full notice of the threat before them; it was actually a sight which delivered more reassurance than dread. Four guards stood a few feet away, decked out in the sack-like hooded garments of every other guard she’d seen, all motionless with gaping mouths. This was understandable since there were three monsters standing behind her. It became more understandable when the guard on the far left pointed at the vampires.

Hey, we hung you in cages and left you in the sunlight!” It was perhaps the first time Sylvia had ever heard a statement so perfectly combine the tones of confusion, horror, and disappointment.

Yes, you certainly did.” V nodded while providing his consolation. “And if vampires truly melted, turned to dust, exploded, or whatever else was supposed to happen-” he shook his own finger at the guards in mock approval, “-it would have been a very successful way to kill us. A trifle cowardly, but successful.”

Deigen raised a still squirmy Arthur over his head as though the child were a trophy the guards needed to claim. “Perhaps now you can redeem yourselves and fight rather than resorting to old wives tales to do your dirty work.”

The guard closest to Megan was also the quickest responder to this suggestion. He hoisted the girl over his shoulder and began racing down the hall in the opposite direction of his opponents.

Hey, where are you going!” yelled one of his comrades.

I’ll take this one to the artifact room for the ritual, you guys handle getting the other children!”

The three remaining guards did a double-take at their retreating friend before staring blankly ahead of them. The guard in the middle took a step back while speaking to his friends. “You know, I think that little ritual of the Keepers might go fine with just one child, they probably don’t really need the other two.”

The guards on either side of him bobbed their heads in agreement and the three turned on their heels almost in unison.

As they began their departure as well, V shook his head in disapproval. “Oh, no no, I do not think so.”

Megan felt a whiff of air tousle her hair and, after noticing V was now chasing after the guards, realized he must have jumped over her. A second later Deigen tossed Arthur back into her arms to join the chase and she felt a pat on her shoulder. She glanced over to see the pat being delivered by a zombie hand.

Seth nodded at the boy who she struggled with to keep from getting away. “Nice catch.”

As he hobbled off to go guard catching with the vampires Sylvia had a sudden desire to throttle not only him, but all three of the monsters. Here she was, once again reduced to being a child wrangler and one of the guards had even called her a child while everyone else saved the day. Obmuj let out a few frightened squeals and the monkey climbed up to rest on her shoulder. Sylvia sighed; at least she wasn’t the only one staying behind to be defended.

V reached his target first, which happened to be the guard leading the retreat. Having a vampire now standing in their path and holding a surprised comrade by his shoulders naturally caused the other two guards to halt their course. Deigen grabbed the middle guard by his cloak’s hood. While the vampires made no attempt to sink their teeth into anyone, Seth apparently decided he would just be a typical zombie when he reached the third guard and bit into the man’s arm – and screamed as though he’d been chomped into as well.

Everyone in the hallway completely stopped what they were doing to watch the zombie sprawl on the floor and let out another wail. Even the guard he’d bitten simply stared at him in confusion. Seth finally recovered enough to stand back up and let out an aggravated groan that echoed off the stone walls. He glared at Sylvia, who was equally as bewildered as everyone else until he spoke a sing-song version of her spell. “Undead creature hunger no more for those living on land, for the pain you acquire shall be greater than you can stand? Blast your spell, Sylvia!” He kicked the guard’s leg in frustration but even this simple action appeared too much for the zombie to handle as he again yelled twice louder than the person he attacked. Seth stomped his feet and glared at her. “I can’t even kick someone without unbearable pain? Wonderful, Sylvia, just wonderful!”

Sylvia rolled her eyes at him. Sorry, but I believe somebody was trying to grab me out of a tree because they mistook me for dinner when I came up with that.”


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