Once Upon a Time – Chap. 42.2

Trevor_and_Seth_coloredTrevor backed away from the monster’s outstretched hands until he felt his heels scrap against a firm and immovable barrier. Without meaning to, he must have led their slow speed chase into the spiral staircase that led up from the castle’s main hall. At first this seemed to present an new avenue of escape – until a zombie gripped his shoulder and moaned behind him. Realizing this one must have been waiting for him at the first few steps and seeing his first adversary still gaining ground toward him, Trevor knew he needed to act. He whirled around and sliced the hand that continued pulling him back.

Or perhaps thumped would be more appropriate to say than sliced, since the only weapon at his disposal was a splintery wooden sword rather than a real blade. Either way, it did not appear from the zombie’s expression that he was much impressed with Trevor’s choice of action.

“Why are you hitting my hand?” complained Seth as he stepped down to the floor to stand level with him. “I told you, you have to chop my head off.”

“But you were grabbing me,” argued Trevor. “I thought if I chopped off the hand—”

“My hand is going to try to eat you.” Seth let out a heavy sigh. “And that’s the fifth time I would have succeeded if I was really trying to attack you.”

“Seventh if we count the two times I would have gotten you earlier,” said Deigen while making one last mocking wave of his still outstretched arms before letting them rest at his side. “Trevor, why didn’t you try to attack me, I was right in front of you?”

Trevor shrugged. “I dunno. I was scared. Besides, you’re a vampire.”

“I know, I know, but I’m pretending to be a zombie.”

“Maybe if he had a real sword to practice with, he wouldn’t be so scared,” offered Ian from the middle of the stairway where he sat with Simone, Sylvia, V, and Bastiick. “It’s a little hard to chop a zombie’s head off with a broomstick.”

Seth nearly toppled over by trying to whirl around and face him. “I need to keep my head for now if you don’t mind and in case you’ve forgotten, you’re the primary reason we’re not using real swords again.”

“My leg feels fine.” Ian shrugged. “I just won’t throw my sword in the air next time.”

“Yes, I think that’s a very good idea for all involved.” V clapped his hands and stood. “Okay, new plan for during the attack. Trevor, don’t try to defend yourself against any zombies because I’m convinced you’ll only end up as one. Just run or hide behind me and Deigen. Simone can attack zombies overhead with her pellet shooting machine—”

“It’s called a gun where I’m from,” said Ian.

“And Ian you can stay out of harm’s way by helping her load the pellet shooting machine,” continued the vampire as if he hadn’t even heard the foreign word. “Bastiick you did quite well earlier, I think you’ll do fine.” He waved his arm at the ogre and little girl below who had just been spectators to the entire fighting practice. “Algar, I don’t even think anyone would be foolish enough to mess with you. Young Meriall, I think it’s best if you stay someplace safe here in castle.” He looked to his right. “Sylvia, you need to practice more, go on down there while there’s still time.”

“I don’t need to practice with some stupid wooden sword.” Sylvia spoke as though she were reminding everyone of something for the billionth time. “I can just use magic on them.”

“No you can’t, young lady!” yelled Albert from behind them. Everyone looked up to find the zombie and Gwendoloena making their way down the stairway. “You tell me you haven’t been taking every opportunity to practice defending yourself?”

“I don’t need to practice fighting, Uncle Albert!”

“I agree.” Gwendoloena stopped on one of the middle steps to stand behind the group. “I think it would be most beneficial if you watch over Meriall during the attack and, speaking of our unwanted guests, they are here.” She turned to V and nodded. “I heard the outline of your plan down the hall, I believe it will work well. Albert and I also spotted two carts of zombies being unloaded when we passed the third story window and there are a handful of the Keepers henchmen behind them.” She turned to Deigen. “Are the other guards in position?”

“Yes, your Majesty. Everyone is where they should be.”

“Except me apparently!” yelled Sylvia as she stood and glared at Gwendoloena. “We’re about to have a war take place just outside your castle, against the most powerful villains in the entire world, and the important job you’ve assigned me to is babysitting a little girl?”

“That was an excellent summary, Sylvia, thank you.” Gwendoloena nodded. “And if you would like to bake some cookies during this dreadful ordeal, I leave the kitchen completely at you and Meriall’s disposal.”

Sylvia rolled her eyes. “Bake cookies!”

“Yeah, cookies!” cheered Meriall. “Can we make a pie too? I love making pies!”

Gwendoloena laughed. “Oh course, you and Sylvia can make any kind of pie you like, little one.”

“I’m not baking cookies, I’m not baking pies, and I’m not playing big sister to some kid!” Sylvia stomped her foot and pointed at Seth. “If it wasn’t for me, he would be just like all those zombies you saw in the carts. And I did that with magic!” She took on a whining tone as she pouted at the queen. “When we first met, you said you had no doubt I’d be a powerful magician one day.”

“But that will not be today.” Gwendoloena squeezed her shoulder with a soft smile. “And do not think that your duties are any less important than anyone else. Every hand and every job is important during a battle. Even baking cookies and pie.”


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