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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Amadea and the Divinity Blade - Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Amadea watched from her father's side as the men who sought her hand in marriage lined up to take their turn on the scale. Since they were all qualified enough to co-rule – according to the Emperor's tests – they would be weighed against each other. The first two men in line ascended the stairs to the opposing scales. The man on the right was raised higher than the one on the left by three notches.
One by one, the other men were weighed against the man on the right, each weighing equal to or less than him. Those who were equal were told to stand aside, while those that were found unworthy were bid farewell. Out of the forty-three men who had returned from the dragon – or troll – in time, twenty were weighed before a man was raised higher than the first, by two whole notches. Those who had been equal to the first man were weighed again, all were at least one notch lower than him, and so the first line continued.
Zephyr had purposely placed himself last in line for he had wanted to be judged only once, against whomever was the worthiest out of all who went before him. At last it was his turn, and he approached the scale slowly. After this, it would either be him, or the other man who married Amadea in three days. It suddenly occurred to him to wonder what would happen if they were found equal? He took a steadying breath, and stepped onto the scale.
"Will you accept Amadea's hand in marriage knowing that she is-" A voice in his head was interrupted by another. "There will be hardships ahead. Will you vow to stay by her side and fight as her equal against whatever may come?"
Zephyr had not expected to hear voices, but he sensed that it was important to answer them. "Yes, I vow to fight beside her, to protect her as best I can, and to sacrifice my own life to save her if necessary," he thought in reply.
There came quite a few chuckles in his head. "That is all very well, but are you brave enough to live with her, and allow her to risk her life should it be necessary?"
"What is that supposed to mean?" Zephyr demanded.
"It means it is easier to sacrifice your own life than allow a loved one to do so."
"Then, am I destined to lose her?"
"We did not say that. We merely asked if you were willing to take that risk."
Zephyr thought this over. "Yes, if I must, but I would prefer not to."
There were more chuckles. "You once said that she seemed to be made for you; well, you were made for her as well."
Time returned to normal, though Zephyr had not realized that it had stopped until now. He looked to see the results. He was level with the seventh notch above midline!
"Precision leap!" Amadea recited the spell Zira had just whispered in her ear, and jumped from her seat in the Imperial viewing booth to land on the scale next to Zephyr. She rewarded him with a passionate kiss. "I just knew you would be chosen!"
"Do you know if the Gods talk to everyone who steps on the scales?" He asked.
"I don't think so, although they did talk to me when I was chosen as Heir. What did they say?" Amadea wondered.
"Several things, the most important of which is that I was made for you."
"I could have told you that." Amadea kissed him again.
The pair of flying horses – who had decided to nest in the Imperial Forest just outside the Imperial City – flew circles around the affectionate couple. Unnoticed by them, Amadea and Zephyr were floating high above the scale, radiating light like a small sun.
The crowd, which was chattering excitedly, suddenly gasped in alarm. A monster appeared in the sky about twelve feet away from Amadea and Zephyr. It looked like the product of a troll mating with a giant hornet, and sent out an attack like a lightning-fast black cloud, which effectively knocked the couple apart. They fell, only to be caught by the flying horses.
Zephyr shouted the first spell that came to mind. "Ice Spear!" He didn't have his sword on him since it was forbidden to bring weapons to a weighing. The spear shattered against the monster causing it nothing more than a scratch. He quickly followed it with "Spirit Arrow!" This had more effect, but not much.
Amadea deflected a second black cloud by backhanding it. A second later, she realized that she shouldn't have been able to do that, but it happened as a reflex. Now, her left palm tingled and itched. She tried to resist the urge to scratch it, but found her right hand making a fist against it as if she were gripping a hilt. She pulled her hands apart to reveal a sword emerging from her left hand.
"The Divinity Blade!" She breathed in awe. The monster seemed to pause at the sight of the sword, giving them a moment to attack it.
"... I summon a boulder to crush thee!" Zephyr incanted. A gigantic boulder appeared a few feet above the monster, and dropped onto its head, knocking the monster to the ground.
"Stalagmite!" Amadea cast a complimentary spell. The earth under the monster responded by driving sharp spikes into it. The monster roared in pain and outrage.
"Lightening Strike!" Zephyr cast as his horse circled closer.
Amadea asked her horse to angle into a dive, then jumped from her back at the right moment. She was now plummeting into the monster sword first, timed to strike just after the lightening faded. "Divinity Blade Flawless Strike!"
The blade punctured the monster's heart. He made noises of pain, and grabbed her in an attempt to dislodge her.
"Funeral Pyre!" Amadea shouted causing the monster to burst into flame, and burn until he was nothing more than ash. Amadea stepped back, slid the sword back into her hand, and swayed as the extra surge of power receded.
Zephyr landed just in time to catch her as she collapsed from exhaustion. He gathered her into his arms, and asked his horse to bring them to her balcony.

Go To Chapter 10 

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