Part 3

Soris advanced carefully along the corridor’s walls, certain that he would bump into Fulgerus in no time. The views presented earlier by the surveillance cameras had shown him where the intruder was heading to. Any moment and he was about to encounter Bardan’s son, whom he didn’t know yet. For now, Fulgerus was just another enemy, whose movements gave away a higher level of skills compared to the soldiers he’d fought before.

Soris had his hand on the gun, prepared to shoot in case someone would show up out of a corner. On the corridors, he sometimes had to make his way between stoned guardians or servants. They were all statues. Our palace is unusually decorated today, he thought.

The bracelet buzzed. He was receiving a call. “What is it, Dual?” he asked in a whisper, eyes still vigilant.

“Selunia’s been caught!” Dual answered in a panic.

“What?!” The prince stopped in place.

“I mean she’s surrounded. She’s no escape!”

Soris’ eyebrows drew a sharp crease on his forehead. “And you’re doing nothing?”

“What can I do?” he sobbed. “They’re many. I don’t have her powers. I can’t fight those giants.”

“Shoot them! You don’t have to fight them directly. What on earth? Have you lost your mind completely? Can’t you think anymore? Go! Go right now! It’s an order. And report back!” The conversation was hung up abruptly.

Soris cursed between his teeth, tightening his grip on the gun’s handle. What if it was indeed as serious as Dual presented? What if Selunia was truly held captive? Losing her in such a moment was equal to losing the fight.

*

Soris had one last corridor to pass, one that was swerving to the left. After the corner, a passage of about twenty steps followed, and at its end, a heavy door of old oak was waiting for him. It led to the underground, the place where the prisoners were held captive.

At a stone’s throw, before the prince would reach the corner, his black bracelet rang. Dual let him know about Selunia’s victory. Soris smiled relieved then lifted an eyebrow. An idea had struck him. He closed the conversation and continued to talk loud, “Good. I’ll be right there!”

He started running towards the dungeons, ignoring the fact that his steps were echoing clearly on the stone pavement. After the corner, he continued his run for a little then stopped. The last footstep dissipated in the corridor’s cold air. The prince returned stealthily along the wall, his gun pointed at the corner. In this cat-chasing-mouse game, I feel like I’m not the chaser anymore…

As he passed by a door which was of no importance, he pressed its handle and pushed it wide open, a loud creak following. The prince waited, his brown eyes squinting at the silent corner. After a whole minute, he showed up: the masked man who’d jumped over the fence, Fulgerus himself.

Soris pulled the trigger.

Fulgerus lifted his arms, his vambraces shielding him from the storm of laser-bullets. A few of them got through and left some painful cuts. But, instead of taking shelter behind the corner, Bardan’s son lunged to the prince. He kicked the boy’s gun away then grabbed him by an arm and pulled him close. A real fist fight began between the two experienced warriors.

*

“So that string must be hit for the spell to be broken?” Soris asked then looked at his watch. “It’s been almost half an hour! We must hurry. Selunia, you go outside and distract it. Dual and I are going to shoot from the inside.” He prepared his new laser-gun. “If it’s hit from multiple directions, I’m sure it won’t escape.”

Selunia went out immediately. Soris started searching for Dual in the anteroom. He found him lying on the ground passed out, his back leaned against a wall.

“Dual, come on, stop pretending,” he said, kicking the guard’s foot. “You made me feel so worried when you didn’t take my call. Get up!” The prince gave him another gentle kick. “That animal was killed. Now it’s time to get rid of the spell. If we just lie there doing nothing, we might have to fight a hundred of those wolves.”

These words worked like magic. Dual sprang on his feet. “Sure! Let’s shoot that snake!” Meeting the prince’s long stare, he mumbled an excuse, “Gosh, there was something strange in the air; it made me fall asleep.”

Soris shook his head then went to open a window, beckoning to Dual to do the same, on the opposite side of the anteroom. With a clear view to the skies, both of them prepared their guns and peered to target Vittria’s string of beads.

Selunia found it first, so she shot at it several times, failing to hit it. The boys then started their own attack. It didn’t take long for their plan to show its efficiency.

Taken by surprise, the string received several laser-bullets, lost its balance, then a little shinning sphere weakened it completely. The energy stored by Selunia inside that globe had covered it completely, weakening its influence over the place.

After this, the three Aridens watched with much interest to see if their action would break the spell. The string started spinning at a great speed, its details melting into a simple circle. A strange wind started blowing, opposed to the direction the string was spinning. The rustle of the leaves murmured a pleasant sound, proving that the spell was broken.

Selunia looked around, feeling the magical breeze brushing through some wisps of hair left untied. “We defeated it!” she rejoiced.

When the snake of crystal had fallen on the pavement, Dual shouted out loud, “You did it, girl! Hooray!”

She turned around to face her comrades, first noticing the prince’s smile and then Dual’s powerful applause. Soris was a little distracted by the new light on his bracelet. It had been blinking for a whole minute already. It showed that someone was trying to destroy the protection added at the gate of the old castle. Breaking the spell wasn’t enough. We have to get them out before they can encounter the inspectors.

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