Surrounded on all sides, the tall, monstrous creatures bore down on him. He tried not to look right at them. He knew what awaited if he did. Steer horns embedded in the face of a shark fused with the body of a bear disgraced the halls of the once powerful castle. However the hind legs were made of a rabbit. They tracked sludge around what was once a beautiful tapestry long rotted and faded. The claws resembled that of a wild cat and were just as sharp. The granite walls were scratched with claw marks. The mangy, water proof fur was stained with the blood of his comrades.
To his left, one fell.
The man wiped blood off his face. He looked at his sleeve in disgust, backing up to his comrade’s side.
“Kyntak, what is it now?” He asked turning. They stood back to back, swords drawn.
Kyntak huffed. One, a strong and reckless one, leaped at him. Left and right, his sword deflected the claws and horns. He danced around the beast, parrying strikes, trying to find an opening.
He lunged smoothly, liquid silk. He could smell sweat and blood infused with the sharp bitterness of steel invade his senses. Under it all that was the cloying sweetness of death. It burned.
Kyntak grinned, kicking the beast in the hind leg. It raised its head, howling in pain. His blade found the artery and slashed across tearing open the windpipe and vein. Warm rain showered over him, bathing him in red and heat. The metallic sharpness of iron clung in his throat.
“One of us has to make it to the tower,” He retreated to Sevadonn’s side, shaking a little. The other man plunged his blade into a monster’s chest cavity.
He could see it. The blade sliced through the stomach and diaphragm. The lungs were shredded. At last the blade found the heart and it howled in pain. Blood stained Sevadonn’s gloved hands.
He retreated snorting in distaste. He wiped his blade on the matted and bloody fur. “Why?”
Kyntak deflected an attack from a lithe beast. “We can destroy the central sphere there. Once we do, these man-made chimeras disintegrate.” He hoped so. The idea made sense in his head. If one could destroy the source of power for the chimera then they would be nothing more than a fusion of meat. They would fall apart and rot. Though, no one could confirm his theory. Anyone who tried was part of the muddy brown slime that covered the floor.
Sevadonn placed a dagger in its eye. “How do we know that?”
“You’re really asking me that question? I may be bisexual, but I’ve got my facts straight.” Sevadonn wasn’t stupid. One couldn’t trust information sold by sell-wand witches. Especially those by the name of Shuji.
“Haha, Joker.” Sevadonn slowed one down while Kyntak placed a spear in its back. It collapsed in a bloody heap, wheezing.
“That’s right.” Kyntak winked. He pointed to the shadows around the edge of the room. “I see the passage.”
“Go.” Sevadonn smirked tossing him an extra dagger. “Kiss the princess for me.”
Kyntak grinned. “Got it!” He jumped, vaulting off one of the bulls racing for him. The ground and chimera whizzed past his head. Better than any treasure. He could fly.
His feet found the ground and lost it again. The hall vanished to dampness as he slammed into staircase. The beasts sniffed outside for a second before returning to the living prey. Kyntak sent a silent prayer to the sky. The shadows of the corridors enveloped him in its soft arms. The musty atmosphere was filled with dust and refracted light. Kyntak started sprinting up the steps. He had a friend to save and a princess to kiss.
At the top of the 1305th step, he found a door. Why anyone put a door at the top of the 1305th step was a question for another time. The door, which had to be the right door seeing as it was the only door, was gilded with the name “Princess’s Keep” so anyone who had any doubt was then assured.
Kyntak pushed open the door and peered inside. The room was perfectly clean. Not a particle of dust dared to settle on any surface. Light illuminated the room, reflected off mirrors and other reflective objects. He stared in wonder at the cross-crossing rainbows that danced across the walls. His eyes found the four poster bed in the center of the room. Just beyond the soft, hazy pink curtains was a shape on the bed.
He approached softly. The curtains revealed a lovely face, creamy as milk. He would see the dark dusting of the shadows her lashes on her cheeks. Her cheeks were flushed with a sprinkle of pink. Her lips were rose quartz, a gentle, delicate pink. The scent of roses wafted off of her skin. He smelled the musky autumn rose dance with the fragrant Parisian pink. He sat down by her head, avoiding her luscious curls. Her dress, silk and batiste, flowed like water and shimmered. Her hands rested on her stomach and there lay a deep blue sphere. Inside he could see the beasts raging. He found the princess and the core.
“Halt.” Kytnak turned to face a spear.
He smirked. “The Red Guard?” The man at the other end was his age and dressed in red and white. The dual colored doublet was emblazoned with heart brocade. His red cowl barely covered his dark hair and alabaster skin. His eyes glowered out, a rich indigo. A dark cape draped over his shoulders. His red trousers were tucked into his boots. Kyntak almost snorted at how the two of them contrasted.
“Knight Six of Hearts,” he responded.
Kyntak’s smirk grew. “Well, hello, darling. Name’s Kytnak, thief extraordinaire.” He glanced at the spear and then the girl.
“You must be here to guard the sleeping princess’s virtue.” He sighed dramatically. “Good thing I’m not all that interested in stealing from princess.” The man’s brows drew in. He frowned, the facial expression marring his pretty features. Interesting.
“I’m more interested in this.” Kyntak extracted the blue sphere from between her cold fingers.
“Bye, baby.” He threw it against a wall, barely missing Six’s head. It shattered in a rain of glass and bell like tinkling.
The knight pulled back his spear. “That’s a first.” He studied the pretty shards that littered the plush carpet. “Most leave their comrades to die.”
“And you spear them through the heart.”
The man grinned, razor sharp and white. “A traitor doesn’t deserve a princess.” He put his spear down. Kyntak realized that the spear would have been useless in the small room. No, if this man wanted to kill him, he would have stabbed him in the back with the pretty bit of blue steel at his hip.
“You wouldn’t let your sister marry one.” Kyntak sighed. Heaven knows he would never let his sister, if he had one, near a renegade of any kind. He was a thief but at least a thief had some honor to his name.
The man shrugged; it was a minimalized movement in his shoulders. “That too.” Kyntak gave him a genuine smile. Interesting.
A clattering came from the steps. “Kyntak!” Sevadonn, in his heavy boots and dripping blood trundled into the room. He glanced from the bed, to the guard, to the princess, to Kyntak, to the princess and then the guard, at Kyntak again, and finally at the princess again.
“I thought you were going to kiss her.”
Kyntak got up off the bed and dusted himself off. He hoped there weren’t flower petals clinging to his clothes. He had better things to do than pick flowers off his doublet and the guys down at the pub would never let him hear the end of it, if he came in dusted in glitter and pink.
He placed an arm around Six’s shoulders. “Nah, as it is, I’m much more interested in this one.”
He pressed a kiss to Six’ s nose. The man stood stock still, clue eyes wide and red stealing across his cheek bones. He could cut himself on those cheek bones. Kytnak turned to Sevadonn and winked.
“Go on, gallant knight. We don’t have forever.” Sevadonn wiped blood off his face and gingerly pressed his lips to hers. She exhaled softly against him.
He backed up quickly, licking his lips. “I’m very sorry, miss.”
Her peaceful expression shifted. Her eyelashes fluttered. Her eyes were a rich blue just like her brothers. She saw him, clenched her teeth, and growled, “You better be.”
She looked around for the nearest weapon and found it in a bottle of perfume. She threw it at his retreating figure. The room filled with the pungent scent of sandalwood.
“Why the hell were you kissing me? What are you a rapist? Do you know who I am? I am princess Nai!” She glared at him. “Where are my guards?”
Kyntak let out a low whistle. Princess Nai smacked Sevadonn’s arm repeatedly with the fallen spear, insulting and threatening him all the while. When it snapped, she kept on going.
“Dodged a bullet there.” Six startled out of his shell-shocked state.
“She likes him,” he remarked.
Kytnak winced as Nai hit Sevadonn in the chest with a pillow. “How?”
Sevadonn planted a hand on her head as she tried to charge at him with a fragment of the broken spear. He looked mildly alarmed at the turn of events. “Kyntak!”
Six surveyed the unfolding scene placidly.
“She expresses her love for the men in her life by attempting to kill them. Our mother was the same. If she didn’t try to slit our father’s throat in his sleep, he knew she was displeased with him.”
Kyntak looked at Six and then at Nai. He smirked at Sevadonn’s glowering face. “Good luck!”
“She wouldn’t actually hurt him.” Six whispered in his ear. Kyntak turned and placed another kiss on Six’s forehead.
“Don’t let him know that.”