It was rather strange to think that a handful of months ago Draal hated the Trollhunter. The small human was surprising, and he honestly didn’t know what life would be like without him. He would probably be the Trollhunter, the boy would be living a normal life, and… he would probably lose the impending battle.
James Lake Jr. was like a brother to him. Funny how things like that change.
A few months ago, he thought Blinkous Galadrigal was, well, a pain in the rear — as the Trollhunter’s closest friend would say. Now, he was an admirable companion. A battle brother.
A few months ago, he and AAARRRGGHH!!! would rarely converse. Now, they were speaking on relatively friendly terms. And discussing battle tactics. Mostly, they discussed ways to help improve the Trollhunter’s training.
Nothing could have prepared them for Blinky’s kidnapping or the fact that the Trollhunter would be going into battle injured. He expected it to happen eventually, but the boy was still soft. He wasn’t ready for it yet.
“But if not now,” Draal said to himself, as he and the others move to the Trollhunter’s aid, “he won’t ever be.”
“Uh,” the Trollhunter’s friend said, looking up at him, “you okay, dude?”
“I’m fine,” Draal said.
They jogged through the sewer system that wound underneath Arcadia Oaks, following the tracking device. It was several minutes before the little dot on the screen slowed to a halt.
With the rain and gloom acting as their cover, they managed to avoid being seen by humans as they saw the familiar forms entering the museum. Quick as they could without causing any alarm, he, the Trollhunter’s friend, and AAARRRGGHH!!! followed after them.
The voices of the Trollhunter and Stricklander bounced off the hard surface. Draal had a feeling if he and AAARRRGGHH!!! hadn’t been there, the poor boy with them would have gotten lost.
As the pair slipped behind a pair of curtains, the three of them got into position.
“Okay,” the Trollhunter’s friend said, “we got to be as dramatic as possible.”
“May I ask: Why?” Draal said.
“Because that’s how it’s always done. Duh.”
“Yeah,” AAARRGGHH!!! said, “duh.”
Draal rolled his eyes. Dramatics. These humans and their taste for it was exhausting.
“And now,” the Trollhunter’s friend said, his words a soft whisper, “we wait.”
One minute passed.
It was three minutes before they heard the beeping — the signal to slide into the final position.
He could hear Nomura (of all the Changelings, of course she was here) grumble through the fabric.
“Not Trollhunter,” Jim said, his voice clear and distinct above the others. “Trollhunters .”
AAARRRGGHH!!! reached out and pulled the fabric down. The Trollhunter’s friend raised his wooden bat (which was a stupid and utterly silly weapon).
“I am Toby,” he said. “Grandson of Nana. Fan of hard rock!”
His hand lowered to his cellular phone taped to the makeshift armor and pressed the screen. Soft jazz carried out of the speaker.
“Sorry. Wrong playlist. Hold on one second. Oh, okay, here it is.”
The sound of distorted electric guitars broke out, and they readied to charge. Light and magical armor swirled around the Trollhunter. The battle was on.
Draal only had one opponent in mind. He tossed himself into a ball, a snarl ripping through him as he charged up the stairs to the top of the bridge to where the Trollhunter and Bular were locked in combat.
He broke their swords apart and forced Bular back.
“I am Draal the Deadly,” he said, blocking Bular’s fists, “son of Kanjigar, and you will suffer for my father’s death!”
Draal didn’t see much of the battle the others waged against the few others — and the Goblins — with Bular. He was too focused on the enemy in front of him. The destruction they made was simply the consequence to their cause.
AAARRRGGHH!!! stepped in, kicking Bular off him at one point, giving Draal a moment to reassess the situation. It was a good and a bad thing. Good, because he could help the others. Bad, because… Nomura got in the way.
“Care to rekindle what we had, Draal?” she said, sneering up at him.
“Rekindle this,” he said, charging at her. Her dual-khopeshes swirling around. If they had been younger and there hadn’t been a fight to the death, Draal would have reminded her of their training. But now wasn’t the time for that.
If he had been paying more attention, he could have thrown off Nomura easily, but he wasn’t.
A blinding flash, and he knew that the worst had happened. The Amulet had been ripped from the Trollhunter and was fixed into the central keystone of the bridge. And he wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been for the new Changeling, the one who’d allied himself with the Trollhunter.
“Killahead Bridge,” Nomura said, clenched between his fist and the pillar. “The time is now!”
He tossed her away and charged at the bridge with a great cry.
Tug as he might, even he couldn’t pull out the Amulet. He had to. The Trollhunter was stuck in a rather painful looking arm lock and the others were too far away.
Please , he pleaded, please let me help them. Let me help my friends!
Something in the Amulet heard him. It gave a little pulse and a chime, budging only slightly. There was a whisper in his ear, something that sounded like his father’s voice.
He felt Nomura land on him and try to claw his eyes. He was able to jerk his head and throw her off. He didn’t hear her cries and then silence from her.
The Trollhunter begged him to let go, but he couldn’t. Not when he could tell that he was so close . He had to. And he was almost… almost there.
The Second Battle of Killahead Bridge ended in victory but not in glory for them all. There was still more to go. Bular was still alive.