And Then There Were Monsters Scene 29

The sinhearts were driven into a blind rage by the death of their knight. Although the ones surrounding Jack and myself almost killed us, even with my new found strength and reflexes, it proved quite fortuitous for our allies. The sinhearts attacking them broke and ran back towards us when they heard the howls, and were easily cut down by the shield wall and the archers. They were able to come rescue us shortly thereafter.

A few hours later, once we were finished hunting down as many of the fleeing monsters as we could, we decided that it was safe to call in Chief Explorer Varn and his delvers to start dismantling the bones of the fortress and haul everything back to New Grandsbriar.

“I heard you had some minor trouble with a sinheart playing at knighthood,” Vale quipped immediately upon seeing me, after he gave me a hug. He looked me up and down. “Rather sprightly for a dead fellow.”

I grinned. “Reports of my death were greatly exaggerated, I assure you.”

The blond man smiled. “I am sure.” Roark came stalking out of the grass, presumably having finished organizing his archers, and Norn strode up from the pyre of corpses, his mouth conspicuously shut. “So what is the plan now?”

“Same as it was before,” I noted. “Get the materials back to the Hellpit, help the bandits with their building, then dismantle Old Grandsbriar…” I smiled, still trying to keep my mind off the fact that I had killed my daughter—monstrous or not. “Lots to do.”

“I meant with our report to the king,” Vale insisted. “We have been gone for two weeks, after all. He only gave us three. What do you think will happen if we do not make it back in time? Send more troops?”

“Who will promptly be slaughtered by monsters they do not believe exist,” Jack noted as she stepped up to my side. She, like Norn, was carefully not mentioning what she had seen and heard on the battlefield today. “You need to leave immediately.”

“Unless we leave a week ago, we will never make it back in time,” I pointed out. “By road, it is a three week trip. Even as the crow flies, it is still two.”

“Only on foot,” Captain Gaven said as he came up from behind me, clapping me on the back. “Our carts may not be fast, but they are faster than walking. Especially if they are otherwise empty. And we can teach you how to get the leaf-dancers to jump. You can cross ravines and rivers, all sorts of things that would normally be impassable to a horse.”

I raised an eyebrow. “You are giving us one of your leaf-dancer carts?”

“You need something to show your king, do you not?” He grinned. “It is the least we can do for the men who helped save the village! I saw you out there, Wreth! You fought like a demon. I had no idea men could even move like that!”

I smiled weakly, uncomfortable at the reminder of my recent…change. “Yes, well, we appreciate it greatly.” I looked over at the delvers and other workers, loading up the carts. “I suppose we should wait until you take the first load back to town, at least.”

Gaven just grinned. “Perfect! That means one last hot meal before you go!”

I nodded. “Sounds wonderful.”

It would also give me time to figure out what exactly I had done to myself.

It seemed harmless enough.

But I was slowly remembering that the Devil always did, at first.