The Rise of The Dragon Queen – Chapter 14

Late that night, the traffic in the area died down and Vixia and I slowly crept out of the crate that we were hiding in. Now it was so quiet around us that you could hear the chirping of crickets and what I suspected was the croaking of frogs, basking in the puddles from the earlier rainfall. I peered around the corner of the building, seeing that the street was completely empty. Vixia followed silently as I snuck around the wall’s edge. I stepped onto the sidewalk and looked around, searching for any nearby shops. That was when something caught my eye.

Just down the street, at the corner of one of the city blocks, there was a shop with the windows still lit. I could see the silhouette of a man behind the glowing panes of glass and guessed that he was probably preparing to close the store. I looked over to see Vixia watching him as well. I took her hand and her attention was brought back to me.

“I have an idea,” I told her. “Let’s get over there and wait for him to leave.” She nodded in agreement and we crossed the street together. We headed behind the building that stood across from where we had been, hoping to avoid any guards that might be patrolling. I looked to the sky, finding a trail of smoke that I figured was from the chimney of the shop. We followed it and found ourselves beside the shop, creeping along in the dark alleyway beside it. I edged toward the corner of the building, finding that the man we had spotted earlier was now locking the door. I ducked behind the wall and waited until I heard him walking away before I peeked out from around the corner again. He had disappeared into the night. I walked over to the door, finding a sign hanging over it.

“A blacksmith’s shop?” I whispered under my breath. I looked over at Vixia, who was peering around the corner at me. I motioned for her to join me by the door and she walked out into the light of the nearest streetlamp. She also read the sign and crossed her arms.

“What now?” she asked. I shrugged. That was when she did something that I had never seen before. Her wolf-like ears perked up as if she had heard something and she stepped closer to the door. She took the lock that was hanging off the door’s latch in both of her hands.

“Vixia, what are you—” I stopped as soon as I heard her begin mumbling a few words under her breath, but I don’t remember what they were. Her fingers glowed with an odd green light and she pulled on the lock. It clicked and when she opened her hands it fell to the ground with a clattering sound. I stared at her, amazed.

“What was that?” She turned to me and shrugged.

“I don’t know. Zelora told me to do it.”

“I still don’t know who that is.”

“I’ll explain later. Come on.” Vixia opened the door and headed inside. Now it was my turn to follow her lead. I left the door open behind us and stepped into the building, awestruck by what was inside.

The hearth at the center of the room emitted a low glow as it cooled, providing just enough light to illuminate the weapons on the walls. Swords and daggers were to my left with shields and maces to my right. My eyes scanned the room, where I found a large assortment of axes, hammers, and sets of armor either pinned to walls or locked away in glass display cases. My eyes then found Vixia as she wandered further into the shop, toward the back right corner of the room, where staffs were displayed on the wall. I followed her, finding that she was staring at them in awe.

Mage’s staffs? I had never seen one in real life before, but they looked just like the ones I had seen in books. My attention was turned back to Vixia when she grasped my hand. When I looked at her, she was pointing further up on the wall.

“I want that one.”

My eyes drifted up to where she was pointing and I instantly knew what she was talking about. There was a staff up high on the wall that appeared to be crafted from both wood and metal with a glass orb, which was about the size of the palm of my hand, secured at the top. The weapon was set high up on the wall, far out of our reach.

“How are we supposed to get it?”

“Well, how would the blacksmith get it down?” We both thought about it for a moment. We were trying to come up with an answer when we heard a shout from behind us.

“Hey!” Vixia and I both jumped and looked over to the door, finding a man standing in the doorway. I quickly realized that he wasn’t the man who had locked the door earlier, but I couldn’t tell if he was a guard or not. “What are you doing here?” he asked, stepping toward us. In a panic, I grabbed the nearest sword and held it out in front of me.

“Stay back!” I screamed, my voice cracking. “I will use this if I need to.” Looking back, there is no way that he could have believed me with how badly I was shaking. My arms and the blade trembled as I held it out.

Shit, shit, shit! I looked at Vixia, watching as she reached her hand up toward the staff. Her palm glowed again as she whispered something. The staff then shined with the same light and lifted itself from its place on the wall. She held out both of her hands and it immediately plummeted straight into her grasp. The man and I both stared at her in disbelief as a smile crossed her face.

“Let’s get out of here.” She grabbed my arm and pulled me over toward the nearest window. With a quick blow from the bottom of her staff, she broke the window and started to climb through.

“Hey, wait a minute!” the man yelled in protest. He rushed for me, but I managed to jump through the window before he could get ahold of me. Vixia and I ran off into the night, now equipped with our first weapons.

Vixia and I headed back the way that we came and found ourselves back at the gap in the city’s surrounding walls. The shorter girl shoved her staff through first and then took my sword to do the same when I finally voiced the question that I was still holding onto.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“Do what?”

“The glowing thing with your hands,” I replied, holding out my hand in mimicry of how she lifted the staff. She shrugged and turned back to the wall.

“I don’t know, but I heard a voice. I think Zelora told me to do it.” I tilted my head as she crawled through the hole in the wall. I followed behind her.

“And Zelora is?” Vixia reached the other side and kneeled on the ground, picking up her staff again.

“She’s my friend. The one that lives at the shrine that we went to earlier.”

“Friend?” Vixia nodded as she stood up. I decided to let it go for the time being and grabbed my sword. That was when I realized that I didn’t have anywhere to put it. “Crap, I forgot to grab a sheath.”

“It’ll be fine. We’ve got to get moving, though. I’m sure there are more guards looking for us now.” She was right. We walked off, heading back into the forest.

Vixia and I spent most of our days traveling around the kingdom of Zaledrid after that. After some time, Vixia managed to explain to me that Zelora, the friend that she had referred to, was once a popular goddess but was forgotten by time. Since she had first visited the shrine, Zelora spoke to her directly and Vixia was her only follower. With the help of the magic that Zelora gave to Vixia, we managed to take up quests almost everywhere we went. As time went on, the search for the two young girls who left the orphanage died out and we were able to begin using our real names again. Even so, we never stayed in one place for too long, since I was the only one out of the two of us that was old enough to not be sent back at that time.

That is, until we came to Tidalsong City.

It was the day before Vixia’s 18th birthday and we were walking along the cliffs at the edge of the city. We were looking out at the ocean, the wind whipping our hair and blowing in our faces. I watched as the waves crashed against the shore and stared at the city sprawled out in front of us in awe. Vixia squeezed my hand.

“Pretty, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.” She tilted her head, resting her cheek on my hair. “Maybe we can find a way to stay here.”

“Sure, I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

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