Click here to read Part One.
Normally, the girl wouldn’t have screamed. It took a lot more than a single arrow to faze her. But when the tree exploded into a mass of razor-sharp spikes of ice, it was too much.
The horse reared and spun to the left, nearly bucking its riders off of its back. The girl wrapped her arms tightly around the boy as the horse galloped off towards the west. Several more arrows followed, but, fortunately, none were nearly as close as the first. Still, the girl gasped every time a tree was demolished into shards of ice.
As soon as the arrows stopped, the boy — with some difficulty — slowed the horse and turned it around to get a good look at what was behind them.
They both sat, speechless, and gazed on as a storm of ice approached. Trees, bushes, grass, and anything else in the path of the huge army froze and crumbled to the ground, leaving a frozen wasteland in its wake.
After the initial shock, the boy started trying to calculate numbers. Any army that helped them would want as much information as they could get. If they believe us at all. The boy’s heart sank as he had the thought. Why would anyone believe them? What proof could they give?
“What are you waiting for?” the girl asked after a few moments. “They're coming. We need to get out of here. And we can't go to Stormport, they're coming from the northwest. Cliffhaven is—”
“We need one of their weapons, and we’re not leaving until we get one,” the boy interrupted. “No sane person is going to believe that an army of ice monsters is chasing us unless we have solid proof.”
“So what do we do? Walk up and ask them for one of their swords?” The girl let out a mirthless laugh. “I'm sure that will go well.”
“Great idea,” the boy answered. “Hold on.”
He dug his feet into the horses sides, and after a moment of hesitation, it started towards the advancing line of ice.
“What are you doing?” the girl yelled over the sound of the horses galloping hooves.
“Asking them for a few arrows,” the boy answered. When the girl started to protest, he turned to face her. “Trust me. Please.”
She pursed her lips and stared ahead for several moments, but finally nodded.
“Thank you,” the boy said, and turned back towards the ice. As soon as they were within what he judged to be an arrow shot away, he spun the horse around and yelled over his shoulder, “Excuse me! Could we borrow a few of those ice arrows please?”
He was rewarded with a half dozen arrows, one of which narrowly missed the horse’s leg.
“Cover me!” he shouted as he jumped down to the ground. The girl yanked her bow out of its place among the supplies and quickly nocked an arrow. The boy began to gather the arrows from the frosty ground, careful not to touch the blue-ish metal tips, which he presumed was where the ice power came from. He was proved correct when he touched the tip of one to an as of yet unfrozen piece of ground, and the grass crumbled into ice chips.
He looked down at his boots, which were starting to frost over as well. Quickly grabbing the last two arrows, he swung himself up onto the horse’s back. As he did, the girl released her arrow and quickly nocked another.
“We've got at least ten coming at us,” she told him as she fired another arrow. “They’re on foot, but I'd suggest we get out of here.”
The boy kicked the horses sides — though it hardly needed any encouragement to flee the ice, which had begun creeping up its hooves. They shot off towards the southwest, quickly leaving the range of the enemy’s arrows.
Once it was obvious that they had escaped, the girl let out a laugh. A real laugh. “I can't believe that actually worked!”
“It was your idea,” the boy answered.
She slapped his shoulder. “I know when I was being an idiot, you don't have to rub it in.”
The boy laughed. “You weren't. You just needed a little hope. We all do sometimes.”
The girl smiled. “Thank you.”
“Any time,” he answered. “I have to say though, I'd probably be dead if it weren't for your shooting skills. You must've had an excellent teacher.”
She slapped him again.
“So, I'm not allowed to compliment you at all, or…?”
The girl rolled her eyes and replaced her bow. She started to turn back around, but changed her mind and grabbed one of her arrows. “Can I see one of those ice arrows?” she asked.
“Sure,” the boy answered. “Just be careful not to touch the tip, that's where the ice comes from.” He let go of the reins for a moment, selected an arrow, and handed it back to the girl.
“Thank you,” she said, grabbing the shaft. She carefully examined the arrow for several seconds. Standard arrow, nothing odd about it. Except the tip… she thought as she examined the metal arrowhead. It did, as the boy had noted earlier, have a blue tint, but it was a bit more complex than that. In a few places, it looked like plain steel, but most of it had a nearly transparent blue coating covering it. Looks almost like ice. She placed her hand near it, and felt intense cold radiating off of it. She drew it back quickly, shivering. He was right, she thought, glancing up at the boy. Whatever this is, it's definitely supernatural.
Carefully, holding the arrow away from herself, the boy, and the horse, she touched the tip of the ice arrow to the tip of hers. She watched in fascination as the metal arrowhead slowly frosted over and then began disintegrating. When it reached the wooden shaft, however, it moved so quickly that it appeared to explode into pieces of ice, as the trees had back in the forest. With a short cry, she let the few pieces of ice she had caught fall to the ground and drew her hand back towards herself. It was unnaturally cold, and her skin had turned a pale shade of blue. After a few frightening moments, though, it returned to normal.
She tapped the boy’s shoulder and held the arrow out to him. He took it and put it back in his left hand, which held the other five arrows.
“Where are we going now?” she asked.
“Cliffhaven,” the boy answered. “As you said, it's closest and has the largest army. I've heard that it also has the largest library on the island. If we can find out anywhere about the power the commander of the ice army wields, it'll be there.”
The girl nodded. “To Cliffhaven, then.”
Written by Elia Tyson
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room