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
As they balanced on the jagged pock-marked stones along the water, Vival surveyed his wrecked craft. There was no hope of repairing it out here. Glum, irritated, he failed to notice anything else.
Nyla, happy to be back on land, looked up. “Well, that’s better!” she said out loud.
“What?” Vival demanded, still glaring at the holes in his prow.
“The rain’s stopped, dummy!” Nyla snapped back, holding her hand out to the sunshine that had driven away the storm.
Vival looked up. The clouds were clearing, blown away by a swift western breeze, leaving clear blue sky behind. Given everything else that had happened, he failed to see the bright side. “So?”
“’So?’” Nyla mimicked. “If we’re gonna have to walk on this island, at least we don’t have to walk in the rain.”
Vival nodded dully. That was true. But where to go? “We don’t want to stay out here. Some unsavory people might find us. Do you know anywhere on the island to go?”
“No, I only know the place under the mountain.”
“We could go back there,” Vival suggested, thinking out loud.
“Are you crazy?”
“Now that the Overreacher is gone, the people might help us…”
“Your plan has a couple of flaws!” Tom piped up cheerfully. “First of all, you don’t know whether or not the Overreacher is gone. The Lich may have failed.”
Vival nodded, scratching his chin. He hadn’t thought about that.
“Second, you don’t know whether the people under the mountain are nice people or not.”
“Yeah!” Nyla put in. “Just because you freed them don’t make them good people! This place isn’t called Veer Isle for nothing.”
“In fact,” Tom went on, happily, “The name predates the arrival of the Overreacher by centuries. The people of this place are known for their productivity, not for their welcoming natures. The Lich King isn’t just terrible because he’s dead. Several thousand—“
“Thank you!” barked Vival. “I’ve got it now.” He glowered at the horizon as the ocean became calm in the suddenly warm afternoon. “Well, where else are we supposed to go?”
No one had an answer.
They gathered up the few supplies they had: the sword, the dagger, a small skin of fresh water. Vival started climbing the rocks to get away from the waves. After a moment, he paused, thinking something was wrong. Looking back down at his shattered boat, he saw Nyla looking dolefully at him. Shaking his head, he sidestepped down the shore until he was next to her. Then he offered her his hand.
It took them a long time to make their way up the cliff face. Vival had created a makeshift sheath out of rope from the boat to secure Tom to his back. He kept Nyla in front of him and pointed the most likely places where they could advance up towards the top. Nyla, while afraid to come down the cliffs, was reasonably brave about climbing up them.
“I’m sorry I cause so much trouble,” Nyla muttered bitterly, as she supported herself on the treacherous rocks, finally making it over the lip of the cliff.
“You’re no trouble,” Vival said shortly, still thinking angrily about the boat. He pulled up alongside her, watching her carefully to gauge her level of exhaustion.
“But I’m no help, either.” After a second’s pause, Nyla realized that Vival wasn’t going to contradict her. She felt worse than ever. “Why don’t you leave me here and go on alone?”
“We’ve been through that,” Vival said. “I’m not leaving you.” “Why not?” Nyla demanded, as though Vival was ignoring a sensible suggestion.
“Because,” Vival sighed, “I have a job to do. Leaving a little girl stranded on an island with no friends…”
Trying to talk over his mistake, Vival hastily continued. “…would go against everything I stand for. The Sand Witch knows where you belong…”
“No she don’t!”
“Well,” Vival said. “She’s a witch, and she’s the one that asked me to rescue you. So I think she knows…”
“She don’t know me,” argued the girl. “Nobody knows me!”
“Then tell me.” Vival demanded suddenly, turning to face her. “Where are you from? Who are you?”
“I don’t have to tell you anything!” Nyla yelled.
“If you tell me, I can take you home myself!” Vival cried. “If you don’t want to see the witch…”
Surprised and frightened, Nyla turned away from him before he could finish. She sat down quickly on the grassy cliff bank overlooking the ocean. She pulled her knees up to her head and bent her neck down.
Vival squirmed, awkwardly. He felt as if he had said something wrong, but didn’t know what. When Nyla’s grief lasted longer than Vival’s ability to wait, he offered the best apology he could muster. “I’m sorry.”
Nyla did not answer.
“I said I’m sorry!”
Nyla was not going to give him the satisfaction of answering him. She kept her head buried to make sure Vival could not see her eyes.
Vival’s own eyes flew up to the sky. He wiped his brow. The day remained pleasant and warm, but the sun was beginning to go down. Night on Veer Isle was bound to be unpleasant.
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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