Tainted Victory – Chapter 12, Part 1 (Page-a-Day)

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Chapter 12: The Farewell

Hugh did move again, whether he wanted to or not. Claudia came over to him and poked him with the end of her crossbow. “I’m not dead,” he said. His voice was weary and eyes were closed tight. 

“Just checking. I was more wondering if you could help with the mess I made,” she said.

“Which one?” Goblet asked. “There are quite a number around here.”

“I thought it was pretty obvious that I meant the ball thing,” she said. 

Goblet walked over to the glob of soldiers. They were still all passed out. Goblet sniffed the air. It was not rancid by any means. He poked his finger into the ooze. It was wet, viscous, and sticky. He pulled his finger out. A trail of the ooze followed out with him. It dripped onto his hand. He held out his tongue. 

“Do not eat it!” Olivier cried.

Goblet blinked, closed his mouth, then flicked the ooze off onto the floor. “What? Why should we listen to you?”

Evelyn marched Olivier over. She held him by the fabric on his collar, and with a tight grip on his arm. “Yeah, why listen to you?

“Because this is quite rare and incredible!” He said. “Which one of you did this?”

Claudia holstered his crossbow. “It was me. It was that arrow that I did not know what it did.” She crossed her arms and looked at the ball. She could feel Olivier’s eyes trying to get her attention. She refused to give them the satisfaction. 

“Do you know what you did? Do you know what power you just tapped into?” Olivier’s voice perked up.

“I shot the arrow and this happened.” She turned to look at him. Her eyes were solid beads. “As for the power… I will find that out on my own!”

“What about freeing them?”

“I could pull them out,” Goblet suggested. 

“I do not think that would work,” said Hugh from the floor. 

“I know what to do,” Claudia said. She walked over to the ball. “Olivier said that I was the conduit for magic, not the arrows.” She held her hand out. The ooze sprung up. It slapped onto her palm. “I just have to will this away.” She said that like she knew what that meant. Unfortunately she did not. She just wanted the ooze gone and her arrow back. She placed that image at the front of her mind. She closed her hand around the protrusion of ooze before her. She continued to think about the arrow, and the men just laying on the floor. The ooze in her hand squirmed and shifted. She wanted to scream but kept her mind focused. The squirming and shifting gave way to solidity. It was an object she remembered. A wooden shaft. She held onto it tightly, then yanked it free. The arrow broke the surface of the ooze. The remaining drops splashed onto the arrow. The ball began to melt away into the cracks of the stonework. 

“Impressive,” Evelyn said.

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