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
It wasn’t Chere that returned, but a moth-eaten boy of eight. He came running up the hill, a piece of paper in his hand. Without a word, he handed it to Vival, then waited.
Vival, not knowing what to do, patted him on the head. The boy, obviously expecting more than that, kicked Vival in the shin. As Vival was jumping up and down in pain, Nyla said, “We don’t have any money, but thank you.” Then she gave the boy a kiss on the cheek.
Smiling a little, the boy left satisfied.
When Vival had recovered, he opened the piece of paper. He read for a moment. “It’s from Chere. It says to meet her at Fort Poleo. She says Sherluck will be there first. She says we need to tell him that the Overreacher is gone.”
“Will that make him want to help us?” Nyla asked.
“I think so. He’s going to need me—“
“Need us!” Nyla interjected.
“…need us,” Vival agreed, “to get back in there. Maybe we can strike a bargain.”
Vival, with Tom the Sword still keeping quiet on his back, took Nyla towards the dilapidated fortress overlooking the water. It was a small, square earthen embankment, only about fifty feet on a side, the built-in rotting wooden frame from which soldiers had once been able to survey the shoreline was all that remained of the fortification.
The only access to the fort was across a rickety wooden walkway that straddled a gully, ten feet deep. The gully had a small stream running through it which emptied out into open air on the other side, as the fortress looked over a steep drop towards the town and harbor.
Moving quietly, listening for any sound on the inside of the fortifications, Vival led Nyla across the small walkway which was in fair condition and did not rock. Apparently it had been replaced and used fairly recently. Still, the drop beneath it was enough to make Nyla hold very firmly to Vival’s hand.
Within the earthen walls nothing remained but a one-story shack with a tower next to it from which one could survey the area. The rest of the fortress was abandoned and empty, with only a few depressions on the ocean side marking where cannons used to have been.
“Do you think anyone’s here?” Nyla whispered.
Vival shook his head. “I don’t think so. Why don’t you stay put while I peek in the window?”
“I don’t want to be by myself!” Nyla argued.
“All right! Come with me then. Just keep quiet.”
“You’re the one talking!”
Deciding that responding in kind would get him nowhere, Vival got down on his hands and knees instead and crawled towards a window in the wall of the shack, keeping Nyla right behind him. Peeking over, Vival saw a single large room with windows on all four sides, and a large table in the middle. “It’s empty,” he whispered to Nyla.
“Well, then,” Nyla said, raising her voice a little. “What do we do?”
“We wait for Sherluck to arrive. Let’s just hope he gets here first.”
Nyla and Vival hid themselves in a hollow opening in the fortress earthworks. After a while Vival began to doze. He was awoken by a tug on his sleeve.
Silently, Nyla pointed to the little house. There the long, lanky figure of Sherluck, still wearing the flashy but now obviously threadbare outfit, was slipping along the ground towards the shack. His gait was careless and his face with its buck teeth seemed to be permanently smiling, but his body was cautious and alert.
Suddenly he stopped. Looking straight at Nyla and Vival, who thought they were well concealed in the cave, he frowned, his lips barely covering his teeth. Then he slowly turned.
“Sherluck!” cried Vival, racing out. The skinny Sherluck, transfixed by the sight of the enormous man running towards him, was momentarily paralyzed. Before he could regain himself, Vival was upon him.
“What do you want?” he cried, holding up his hands, as if Vival was going to attack him. “I gave you a place to stay! What do you want?”
“Nothing! We’re here to help you!”
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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