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 was pleased to discover that she really did remember how to navigate these tunnels. After only a couple of wrong turns, she found her way through halls that looked familiar. At last she came to the door of the armory. She paused, looking through the grated window.
Thousands of swords lined the walls in a room so deep the back of it could not be seen.
“Tom!” Nyla whispered through the grate.
There was no answer from the swords.
“Tom!” she tried again, a little louder. “Are you in there?”
“No, but I am,” said a huge man with a deep voice. “You’re a strange looking little girl. What are you doing down here?”
“I…” Nyla stammered, backing up a step. “I was looking for a friend.”
“I’ll be your friend,” the man said, stepping towards her.
Nyla didn’t believe him. “Okay,” she said, quietly, her voice shaking a little. “Let’s be friends. But I got to go, okay?” She held the Vee A’La and the bow behind her.
“That would hurt my feelings,” said the man, smiling. “You don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings, do you?” He reached towards her with a powerful arm.
“Soldier!” cried the voice of the Clef. “Unhand her!”
The soldier looked up, startled. “You know this child?”
“The King wishes to see her,” said the little man, speaking far more bravely than he must have felt. “I am to take her.”
“Ah,” said the soldier. He smiled. It wasn’t a nice smile. “Then I’ll take her for you.”
“That will not be necessary,” said the Clef, but he was losing his resolve. Already the soldier was walking away with Nyla and the Vee A’La and bow.
Quickly, the Clef retreated into the shadows where Chere was hiding. “What should we do?” he whispered to her.
“You have to go with her!” Chere cried. The soldier had already disappeared with Nyla. “If the Lich King takes the Vee A’La…”
“But how can I recover it?” the Clef moaned.
Chere considered. “We’ll need some help,” she said quietly. “Can you find us some help?”
The Clef shook his head. “I am friendless here except for Antheppe. None in this place know me since the trance.”
“Well…” Chere said slowly. She seemed to be unwilling to continue. The words came hesitantly from her. “I have an idea…and it may be a bad one.” Her lips were tight. “But good or bad, I can’t do it myself. Only Sherluck can.”
The Clef looked down at her hands which were tightly gripping the small flask. “You will change back into him?”
“I have to,” Chere said bitterly. She sighed, trying to keep the tears from filling her eyes. “It’s always this way. I end up needing him.”
“What about the potion?”
Chere regarded the flask for what seemed like a long time. Her heart hardened and the tears dried unused in her eyes. “If he got it, he’d take it for sure,” she said. With a quick, furious motion she threw it at the wall of the tunnel. It shattered into a million fragments of glass and liquid. The Clef gasped.
Trying to keep the bitterness out of her voice, Chere looked at the Clef. “After I change, I want you to repeat this message to Sherluck.”
The soldier stood stiff at attention, frozen in terror. That was not the case for his friend whom the Lich King had just turned into an ice statue.
“What do you mean you lost them?” demanded the Lich, moving a step closer to the soldier. His right arm flailed randomly and accidentally chipped off the nose of the frozen man. It flew about three feet, skittered across the floor and stopped against the wall next to a crumpled figure of a man, tied in ropes. The other soldier watched the nose fly away, then brought his eyes, the only part of him that could move, back to the skull-features of the Lich King.
“One of them was a sorcerer!” the soldier piped in a voice both squeaky and tight.
“A sorcerer?” repeated the Lich King, leaning towards him.
“Yes!” insisted the soldier. “I’m told he changed his shape.”
“Into what?” pressed the King.
“A woman!” cried the soldier, placing his hand in front of his eyes.
The Lich King waited for more. When there was no more, he raged. “A woman? Is that it? No dragon or wyvern, no worm, not even a rat?”
“No, my Lord!” said the soldier in the tiniest of voices.
From the corner the crumpled figure stirred slightly. He had been left against the wall by the Lich King and forgotten for the moment. The news about the magic seemed to interest him.
“Then why didn’t you capture her?”
“We were afraid! We have been under the Overreacher so long that any m…m…magic…” The soldier’s eyes turned towards the statue of his friend. He could not look away from that blank, translucent expression, the noseless ice-face staring into nothing.
“Fah!” the Lich King spat. “If magic is what scares you, I’ll give you so much magic that you’ll—eh?”
Another soldier had entered the room. My Lord!” he cried. “I have brought the girl to you.”
“Is this the sorcerer?” the King hissed, moving closer to Nyla. She shrank away, moving in spite of herself towards the wretched man that brought her.
“N…no, my Lord!” offered the terrified soldier from behind the Lich. “It was the other one! This girl has no power…”
“He is wrong, my Lord!” cried a voice from a different doorway. The Clef entered the room. “She does have power. She was trained to work our deepest magic in the time before you came.”
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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