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
All at once the hundred leapt up from their seats as if jerked by invisible puppet strings. As a body, they hurled themselves at the mercenaries who stood, somewhat shocked, at the onslaught. Even the Goon had been unprepared for the attack. Backing behind his men, he shouted, “Take this place!”
There was an uproar as one-hundred-and-twenty-four voices all joined in battle. The subjects of the Lich King were not all armed. Some were nobles who, despite their long trance, had retained their skill in the use of their swords. These the mercenaries took in stride. But others were women, clothed in raggedy dresses, without even a knife. Yet they were under the control of the Lich King and they attacked without fear, screeching and clawing at the mercenaries with their fingers. The seasoned soldiers were unsure what to do about the women, most of whom, in their experience, had always been passive victims.
The soldier that had been guarding Vival seemed undecided. At last, shaking, he thrust himself into the battle on the Lich’s side. Nyla shook Vival. “Get up!” she yelled over the screaming in the room. “That soldier’s gone! He’s not guarding you anymore. You can help me stop the Lich!”
As before, Vival shook his head.
“Stop being stupid!” cried Nyla. “Get the Vee A’La!”
Vival moaned, hiding behind his arm.
From far across the din, Nyla saw a form moving cautiously around. Was it the Goon? No, the well-dressed Goodfella was against the wall, watching his men try and take the crowd of bewitched attackers. As Nyla peered, she made out Sherluck, creeping along behind the terror as if trying to decide what to do.
Seizing her courage, Nyla took a deep breath and darted across the space. The Lich, too engrossed in the act of controlling 100 people, took no notice of her at all. He gestured around with the instrument and bow, as if conducting a murderous orchestra as she ran within his bony arm’s reach.
Dodging sword blows and clawed fingers, Nyla reached Sherluck. The sly man seemed surprised to see her. “Sherluck!” Nyla cried. “You have to help me stop this!”
“What are you talking about?” Sherluck replied, as if insulted. “I am helping you! I brought the Goon!”
“You brought him?” Nyla cried, disbelieving.
“Yes! Chere gave me a message! She said to bring the Goon and get the instrument.”
“Okay, but the Goon isn’t going to take the instrument!” Nyla snapped.
“I know that!” Sherluck exclaimed. “But what else do you expect me to do?”
“You can stop this whole thing!” Nyla told him. “All you have to do is grab that Vee A’La in the Lich’s hands.”
“What?” cried Sherluck. “Are you kidding? He’ll kill me!”
“If he defeats the Goon, what do you think he’s going to do to you?”
“The Lich doesn’t know me,” protested Sherluck. “I’m getting out of here.”
“You can’t get off this island,” said Nyla. “Not without the Goon’s help. Goon lives, he’ll kill you for leaving. Goon dies, you’re stuck here with us!”
Sherluck seemed to be calculating in his head. Nyla could tell by his eyes that he was seeking some kind of way out of the argument. When none appeared and he quickly ran out of places in his mind to hide, he nodded at last. “All right,” he said. “But what am I supposed to do exactly?”
“I don’t know,” admitted Nyla. “Just follow me!”
As the two of them crept across the floor, Sherluck more than once had to dodge the sword-strike of his own allies, the mercenaries, who couldn’t tell at this point who were friends and who were foes. At last they came within ten feet of the pupetteering Lich King.
“I’ll get behind him and you shove him over me,” Nyla said.
“Push him so he’ll fall over me!”
“That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard!” Sherluck screamed.
“You got a better idea?” Nyla demanded, feeling helpless.
Breathing deeply, Sherluck rose to his feet before the Lich. Then he shimmered.
In the second before the disoriented Chere had time to recognize her plight, the Lich King paused at the sight. “The sorcerer!” he whispered through lipless teeth.
“He always does this to me!” Chere shouted at the top of her lungs.
But for once, Nyla understood that Sherluck was acting out of something more than cowardice. In the second during which the Lich King was distracted, Nyla ran at him and grabbed the Vee A’La and bow, pulling at it with all her strength.
It did not give way.
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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