The Fight for Salvus
After all the trouble that has happened around the small town Salvus, the Militia decides to finally end this thorn in their side once and for all. Naturally, the citizens of Salvus have something to say about that.
Cairo hadn't expected things to go so wrong all at once.
The battle had begun well - his rider, the Sword, was obviously a brilliant fighter, being made of only metal and wood. Cairo used his metal magic to deflect any blows that reached him. But slowly, the duo had been separated from others in Salvus, and forced back into the garden that Cairo loved so much.
At first, only a few soldiers had surrounded them. Then, their dragons arrived, and before he knew it, they were surrounded. The Sword floated behind Cairo and the two watched as the circle of enemies surrounding them just looked back. They knew that they had the rider and dragon cornered.
Cairo sent a mental message to the Sword - 'What do we do? There's so many of them, and I can't see anyone else who could help,' he thought.
The response was instant, calculated. 'An illusion. You use your magic to make it look like the plants are coming to life and turning into horrifying creatures, that ought to distract them.'
'Hmm. Not bad.' One of the enemies was saying something about surrender, a chance to save their lives, but he was happy to let them talk while he focused. Cairo looked deep inside himself and found the magic he needed. He thought about the plants in the garden around him, the ones that had been trampled and the ones that were still whole, and imagined them growing, changing, becoming creatures ready to fight his enemies.
When he looked up, the soldier who had been talking had stopped. Indeed, everyone was staring. Cairo smiled. It seemed that his illusions were still alright. As the illusionary creatures emerged, some of the soldiers panicked and started firing guns and swinging swords. Cairo focused on making it seem as if the beings were getting hit, but that left him unable to do much else. As several people and dragons charged at him, it fell to the Sword to do the rest.
The metallic rider swirled and twisted in the air, deflecting blows and offering his own in return. Several of their opponents fell back, perhaps to fight somewhere else or think up a new plan, but there were still too many remaining. This was a hopeless battle.
Cairo's illusions flickered, and some of the enemies saw it for what it really was. They returned to attacking Cairo and the Sword directly, and the metal dragon switched his magic to throwing metal shards in every direction he could.
The duo were fighting a losing battle. Cairo was fighting his best, but he was pretty sure this was going to be the end anyway. 'Are we trying to escape or going down with the ship?' he thought at his rider.
'We might not need to,' the Sword thought back, and as they collided with a dragon's claws. 'I sense more company soon.'
Cairo glanced up into the sky and saw something delightful. Basil was flying down with his dragons and what looked to be a captured soldier. He was so relieved, and distracted, that his magic wavered and a gunshot hit his shoulder. The metal dragon winced, and hardened his scales again at once. ...That was gonna need to get looked at later.
"DON'T WORRY, WE'RE HERE TO HELP!" Basil called from above. There was a sudden pause in the battle as everyone looked up to the new arrivals. Titanium, Basil's largest dragon, waved a claw at their apparent prisoner while the winged red panda kept on shouting. "SURRENDER NOW OR WE'LL, UH, WE'LL..." Basil, hovering, glanced about for a moment, as if he was talking silently with his dragons. "WE'LL KILL YOUR PRECIOUS SCIENCE FRIEND HERE!" He leaned in to the prisoner and whispered loud enough that Cario, and thus, likely everyone, could hear - "Don't worry, we're just bluffing. I would *never*."
Cairo scoffed at what felt like the worst rescue attempt ever. Then he jolted as one of the enemy dragons snarled. "Well, the same goes for you, then." As the dragon reached for Cairo, the Sword swung, and things descended into chaos once more. Cairo leaped at one of the enemy dragons that was slow to jump to attention and threw them away into another one, and then he reached to pick up a pumpkin and toss it at someone else.
Basil and dragons jumped into the fray, making things slightly more equal. Friend and Bougin bounced around, making themselves extremely hard to hit as they traded blows with the militia members. Titanium circled above, the captured soldier on his back, and rained down a torrent of magic.
What eventually turned the tide was Basil traveling through the reflection realm to exit from a shard behind who seemed to be the ringleader of the group. He hit them over the head with a bunch of tomatoes, and then gasped and apologized profusely when they dropped unconscious.
Seeing their leader downed, and knowing the tide was turning against them, the rest of the group was quick to get out of there. Cairo sighed in relief as they left, and turned to Basil and his dragons. The Sword hovered at his side. "Thank you, for saving us. We were in some real trouble there," Cairo said. The Sword bounced up and down in the air - a nod of agreement.
"No problem!" Basil replied, chipperly. "We're helpful, right, Friend?"
Friend nodded, but the poor fellow looked more concerned than anything else. "Are you hurt?"
Cairo looked down at his shoulder and shrugged. Ouch, that was a bad idea. "Only a bit. Give Sword and I a break from the fight and we'll get right back to chasing these fellows away."
Basil landed on the ground and trotted forward. "Well, if you're willing, you could come with us to Alf and Walker and Hartwin? We're gonna see how they're doing, offer our assistance. You might be able to get your shoulder looked at, too!"
Cairo and the Sword came to an agreement very quickly. "Alright, we'll come with. Who's your, hmm... friend, then?" Cairo said eventually for the both of them.
The captured Militia member waved her tied hands. "I'm Evelyn. Hey there." She turned to look down at Basil, from her spot atop Titanium's scaly back. "You didn't kill anyone?" she questioned.
"Duh, of course not! That's kind of a rude thing to do, right?" Basil laughed. He turned and started heading in the direction of where the artifact was. It wasn't far from here, only perhaps a few minute walk. But Cairo felt that every step took ages, the sounds of battle echoing faintly around them. He was expecting more trouble, and the Sword was, too.
Evelyn was quiet. Thinking, Cairo assumed. Was this the average Militia member? Not all that bad, really. Apart from the whole trying to destroy the town bit. Cairo had a wishful dream of talking with every bad guy out there and changing their ways towards good. He didn't think that would be possible. But Aren'dra had changed, and Alfred had gotten away... perhaps once this was all over, he could do something to help there. (It would be over someday soon. He was sure of this.)
Friend and Bougin chattered on as the group advanced. The Sword and Cairo hung back and had their own mental conversation. 'What if they don't figure out the artifact?' The Sword thought first. 'We only have a few more hours before we're overrun, I bet. I don't want this town to die.'
Cairo summoned up all the optimism he could and sent it Sword's way. 'That won't happen. I won't let it happen.' he offered. 'After we check on how they're doing, I bet we'll be able to find other folks in the fight and give them the good news!'
The Sword paused, in thought. 'That would be nice. I just don't like that we're strolling around when others out there are getting hurt.'
'We'll go back out there. I just need a moment,' Cairo returned. He hated to admit it, but his injury was really hurting. He did his best to ignore it and keep walking, but he was exhausted, and so was his magic. 'I don't want to have to get rescued again because I'm not able to defend you. Defend myself.'
The Sword simply gave a mental nudge of understanding, and the two returned to a quiet silence. There were, thankfully, no enemies that ambushed them along the way to their destination. The group made their way down several alleyways and to a little, tucked away building in the center of town. Basil strode confidently up to the front door and knocked. "Hey! Super cool science guys! Guess what?"
A pause. The door eventually swung open, and Alfred answered the door with a dagger in hand and an angry face. He relaxed when he saw who it was. "Oh, thank goodness it's you," he said, lowering his weapon. "Are things going alright? I hate to say it, but we're still having a lot of issues here."
"Eh, it's alright," Basil shrugged. "We're holding them off but they've broken through to the outskirts of town. But I'm here because -" he pointed to Evelyn, hands tied and holding on to Titanium. "I've brought a friend!"
Alfred glanced at the new person, then did a double take. His face paled. "You - you brought a soldier here? What do you think you're doing, Basil? Now they know exactly where we are!"
"Scientist, actually," Evelyn muttered. Cairo wondered if this would actually end well or not. He wasn't all too sure.
"Hey, come on, Alf! She knows sciencey stuff, and since we captured her she said she might be able to help us figure it out! Right?" Basil flapped up into the air and nudged Evelyn in a friendly way, as if there was no tension at all.
"Um. Yes," Evelyn said, very obviously uncomfortable about being scrutinized by Alfred's piercing gaze.
"You're seriously expecting me to work with the enemy?" Alf exclaimed. From inside the building, there was a commotion. Probably the others still working away, Cairo hoped. This argument outside was escalating, and Cairo wanted to stop it.
He stepped forward and put himself between Basil and Alfred. "What about Aren?" Cairo asked.
Alf paused. "What about her?"
"She was in the Militia and she left, even lost one of her dragons to get that artifact to try and save us. I understand that you have reasons to dislike these people, but... who's to say that can't happen again, with someone else, if we just show them our kindness?"
Alf's eyes were full of turmoil. The Sword hovered nearby, ready to intervene if things went badly. Thankfully, it didn't. "I'll give her a chance, then," he said, dropping eye contact. "You all had better be right about this. I don't want anything else bad to happen. That's all."
He opened the door further, turned around, and moved inside. After a moment, Basil followed ahead merrily, as if there had been no argument at all. His dragons followed, Titanium dropping Evelyn from his shoulders and watching her closely as she walked in. Cairo and Sword hung back, hesitated.
The Sword spun in the air to face Cairo, as much as a floating sword could. 'That was quite daring,' they said mentally.
'I couldn't have just let them fight. We already have someone we're fighting, aren't we?' Cairo responded. 'I like that Evelyn person. Maybe she's not perfect, not yet, but I see hope for her, somehow.'
The Sword floated up and down in the air. 'We'll see,' they thought. 'But either way, I'm glad that you're my dragon.'
Cairo smiled. 'And I'm glad that you're my rider. Let's go see what they're doing in there, yeah?'
'Sure. And you'd best get your shoulder fixed up. When we get back into the fight, we'll chase them all back!'
'You bet we will,' Cairo agreed. And he walked through the open doorway, to a temporary safety.