The Girl With The Bow
Book One in the Nyla Series
(C) 2013, 2016 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
Nyla shuffled her feet as she entered the throne room. The wide canopy of the ceiling was always a sudden change from the tight-cornered tunnel that led to it. The drum sat in the far corner of the room, its grey, worn skin held tight by crisscrossing crimson ropes that ran the length of its body, a little shorter than Nyla herself. It was beating as it always did, the large wooden mallet floating above its surface, tapping out its insidious rhythm, but Nyla no longer really heard it unless she was listening to it.
The Overreacher was there, munching on a turkey leg. The trails of meat, cut off by his teeth, jiggled at their ends as he munched them. Grease glittered in the torchlight.
As Nyla shuffled closer, he stopped eating abruptly and peered at her. “What are you doing there?” he asked. “Girl!” he demanded, for she had taken no notice of him. “Answer me!”
“I’m just walkin’,” said Nyla.
“Why are you walking in my throne-room?” he insisted, looking over the top of the greasy bone in his hand. “Did I send for you?”
“No,” replied Nyla sullenly.
“Then why are you here?”
“I’m bored!” Nyla whined. “What else am I supposed to do?”
The Overreacher regarded Nyla with a wry expression of amusement. Nyla tried not to look back at him. He was an enormous creature who had once been heavily muscled, but now just looked like he sat around a lot (which he did). His once-fancy shirt of crimson was stained with grease and dried-up sauce. A giant mace lay against his enormous leg like a favorite pet. On his manicured feet were diamond- and ruby-studded sandals whose gems reflected the sickly yellow light that permeated the room. On the Overreacher’s unkempt head was a crown ten times as gaudy as his shoes, golden pendants hanging from every crest which shook as he spoke.
“Have I not given you enough to do? Go and clean my bathing chamber.”
“It smells like you,” Nyla retorted.
“Insolence!” raged the Overreacher. “This is why I am forced to punish you! Why do you not obey me instantly as the others do?”
“What would be the point?” Nyla asked.
“I should reduce you to ashes,” snarled the Overreacher, touching the tip of his mace.
“You don’t want to do that,” Nyla shot back bravely. “You keep me here ‘cause you’re bored too. I’m the only one around here you can talk to.”
“It is true,” mused the Overreacher. “You speak your mind. This amuses me. And you are no threat to me.”
That was true too, Nyla thought. Even if she had wanted to leave, she never could have. There were no clear tunnels out of the mountain. And had she tried to escape, she surely would have aroused the wrath of her keeper. The Overreacher tolerated her, but she knew she might push him too far. She had seen him turn others of his mindless slaves to dust with a gesture from his sorcerous mace when he was in a rage.
“So do something,” Nyla whined. “You never do anything.”
“What should I do?” the Overreacher asked.
“You could get up off your chair every once in a while.”
“No…” muttered the Overreacher. “I can send my mind wherever I will it to be. I have no need to exert myself overmuch.”
“Fine,” sulked Nyla. Then she said nothing, waiting for the Overreacher to speak. But he did not. He had fallen into a ponderous silence. “You could free that man,” she offered.
“What?” started the Overreacher. “The man? You saw him?” he demanded, turning red in the face.
“Who is he?” Nyla asked, unfazed.
“One of those ridiculous heroes who long to meddle in the affairs of kings.”
“How’d he get in here, anyway?”
“I do not know,” murmered the Overreacher.
“You could ask him,” suggested Nyla.
“I do not need to ask,” corrected the enormous man, throwing his bone contemptuously across the floor. It skidded to a stop by the stone wall. “I demand.”
“You could demand,” repeated Nyla, egging him on. “I’d like to see you demand something of someone.”
The Overreacher considered. He rubbed a greasy finger up and down his chin.
“Of course, if you’re scared…” mumbled Nyla, moving away.
This comment successfully aggravated the Overreacher. “What did you say? Afraid? How dare you!” With the same greasy finger, the Overreacher made a gesture in the air. From out of nowhere two guards appeared. “Bring me the new prisoner,” the Overreacher barked. “Have him here in one minute or I’ll have the two of you kill each other.”
The guards hastened to obey.
More about The Girl With The Bow
When Vival, Knight of the Fittest, risked his life to rescue the princess from Veer Isle, he never thought he’d be the one who needed to be rescued. And to make matters worse, the girl he was helping didn’t want to leave! The first book in the Nyla series introduces Vival, Knight of the Fittest, Tom the Incredibly Helpful Sword, two mysterious island dwellers named Cher and Sherluck, and Nyla, the mysterious girl with the bow.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including The Speed of Darkness and Seven Ways the World Can End.
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