Thank you, c7a7t7, for always reading and giving me such amazing comments I am so sorry I haven't updated this earlier but life happened and when I had time I couldn't think of anything, writers' block is an amazing thing (not really), anyways I hope you enjoy this chapter and as usual comment and let me know if there's something I can do to make this better.
"That thing was on the entire time," Ashley said after a moment of silence but that silence was terribly loud, the sound of pounding hearts and the fear made it unbearable.
"That means they know where we are!" Billy realized. Snapping into action he grabbed Excalibur and turned to Ashley, his eyes flashed with energy and confidence.
"Ashley, I want you to wait outside; I bet Tanner went out for a midnight flight and will arrive here soon and we cannot let the Cobras find the dragons, if they did our race would become endangered and possibly extinct, understand?" His gaze was hard and commanding. "When the dragons arrive get them to fly someplace far away, someplace safe."
"What about Bonnie?" Ashley asked pushing down her fear.
"I'll get her, then I'll meet you outside with the dragons, okay?"
"Tanner?" Ashley asked, her thoughts falling to the young, courageous warrior. Billy shook his hair, his brown locks sweeping above his eyes. He paused and blinked.
What about Tanner? They couldn't just leave her; she'd never leave them! He groaned inwardly, Tanner, if only you didn't like these midnight flights! He met Ashley's eyes and shook his head remembering all those times Tanner flew in in the heat of battle ready to fight and give her life for her friends.
"She'll show up, just get the dragons away from here, understand?" Billy's eyes smoldered as his fist tightened on Excalibur's handle. Ashley gave a nod and ran to the door as Billy ran towards the dark hall.
"Billy!" Ashley called. Billy turned to face her. Her eyes were a mix of worry, fear and confusion. She struggled for words as her mouth shaped different words but each one remained unsaid. Billy's features softened as he awaited Ashley's next words.
"Good luck," she finally said with a sigh. Billy gave her a weak smile and a firm nod.
"You too," he whispered back. Then they turned and went their separate ways, both knowing that those words could be the last words they ever said to each other.
Billy shook his head and focused on the task ahead; getting his beloved Bonnie to safety. He pulled Excalibur out from its scabbard and held it ready as his heart thumped against his chest.
Keep us alive and safe in your arms. Do not let us fall into darkness and do not let our paths end here, Billy thought forcefully. A sound rang in Billy's ears as he sensed danger, as it grew digging deep into his stomach and climbing up his back into the base of his skull. Fear exploded in his chest and seemed to form ice on his bones making them stiff and rigid. He took a deep breath and breathed out hot stream feeling the fire in his belly grow in intensity.
Keep us safe!
Tanner flew silently over the hills flying as fast as she could ignoring the pain enveloping in her wings and the tightness in her chest. She closed her eyes and when she opened them they were a dragon's eye. Now Tanner could see in the blackest black and darkest night.
Stupid! You left them alone after you knew the Cobras were back! She scolded herself her anger burning deep in her stomach. She lowered her head and felt the wind kiss her nose softly and pull at her hair. Her sword bumped against her side as she flew.
Finally she reached the church and stopped taking in her surroundings and assessing the situation. Something caught her eyes. It was a human moving about a few meters away from the church. It crouched by a bush, as if wanting to be hidden but stood high enough for it to be seen. Tanner focused on the figure and nodded as realized; the figure was Ashley.
Tanner landed soundlessly behind Ashley and sunk up behind her. Then Tanner reached over and placed a gentle hand over Ashley's mouth. Ashley tried to screech and thrash but Tanner held her in place.
"Shh," she shushed gingerly in her ear, "it's just me. Tanner." She felt Ashley relax in her grip. "I'm gonna release you, keep quiet, okay?" Slowly Tanner released Ashley and took a step back as Ashley sighed and turned to face Tanner.
"You scared me! Listen, the Cobras are here; they planted a GPS system in the knife they killed Mikko with!" Ashley explained shivering in the cold wind.
"Yes, I thought they did something like that," Tanner muttered deep in thought. Then she looked around Ashley. "Where's Billy and Bonnie?" She asked urgently.
"I don't know; Billy sent me out here to wait for the dragons, while he went to get Bonnie, she went to bed. I haven't seen them since." Ashley spoke clearly and evenly, her voice showed no signs of panic, only her eyes.
"How long ago was that?" Tanner asked her murky eyes hard as glass.
"About ten minutes ago." Tanner nodded and put a hand on Ashley's shoulder.
"Good, Ashley, see that hill?" Tanner pointed to a nearby hill that climbed high into the sky. Ashley nodded. "Good, climb the hill and wait for the dragons there, they will see you I promise you. I'll get Billy and Bonnie out here and deal with the Cobras. If we don't get here in ten minutes after the dragons arrive then you go with them, go someplace safe," Tanner ordered. Ashley gripped her arm.
"Where?" Tanner leaned over and told her.
"It'll be safe, now I'll be back, stay here and keep quiet." Ashley watched amazed as Tanner run into danger without a single thought for her own safety as she ran into the dragon's den.
Tanner crept putting one foot in front of the other as silent as the night itself. Her breaths were deep and low as her sword was held at the ready in case of a sudden attack. The church itself was cold, dark and unwelcoming. A cold, malevolent draft blew in from an opened window biting and exposed flesh. Huge, dark clouds enveloped in the sky bearing the promise of thunderstorms. Tanner could feel shivers on her skin and deep within her. This storm would compare to the storm that flooded the Earth in the times of the Great Noah and the Great Flooding.
Good, she thought to herself her eyes on the clouds, it'll provide cover for the dragons, Ashley, Billy and Bonnie. A flash of lightning filled the air, creating a void of white light.
Turning away, Tanner crouched down and listened, closing her eyes and allowing her senses to extend into the deepest, darkest shadow. Taking a deep breath she heard a sound. Opening her eyes she gave a confident nod and gripped her sword tightly in her hands as her knuckles turned white.
Once upon a time, very long ago; a lifetime ago Tanner would have felt fear edging in her heart and into the back of her skull but not anymore. Now all she felt was calm and pose as a sense of duty overcame her. It was her duty to protect the anthrozils and the remaining dragons as it once was her mother's duty.
Her eyes turned hard as glass as a deep fire ignited them, rage and enmity filled her powering her muscles and giving her strength.
Pray, her mother's voice filled her mind calming and powerful, like a wave. Pray for wisdom and let the grace of the creator fill you, do not let anger and hatred power you as I once did. Do not fall to the Song of the Watchers, rely on the Lord above.
Tanner shook her head and breathed deeply.
Sorry, Mom, but he hasn't done much for me lately, she thought mentally and physically preparing herself, besides I work better on my own.
"Bonnie!" Billy shouted as loudly as he dared making his way through the eerie and desolate hallways. His skin crawled as if he had fallen in an ant hill and he jumped at every shadow expecting a Cobra to jump from the darkness eyes gleaming hatefully and knives glinting savagely. He felt fire in his belly and reassured himself but it had been awhile since he had been in a fight, besides, from what Tanner said he wasn't sure if he stood a chance.
"Bonnie!" He called louder fear and uncertainty creeping into the back of his skull.
What if they caught her and she's already dead? He pictured Bonnie's stone cold corpse and felt a shudder of pain, rage and anguish through his body.
No, he assured feeling as if a ray of sunshine had hit his heart giving him courage, strength and faith, no, she'll be fine; I must have faith.
"Billy?" Bonnie's timid voice came from a dark shadow, the darkest in the room. Billy recognized the room as the main room, the room the church- when it still operated- used as a congregation and a place of worship and praise. Billy felt relief wash over him as he spotted her silhouette in the shadows as thunder boomed outside causing the windows to shake.
"Bonnie!" Billy ran towards her until his skin felt as if it was moving, his danger senses kicking into overdrive. He stopped and studied Bonnie closer. Why would she be in the shadows?
Gritting his teeth Billy grabbed Excalibur and held it at the ready realizing her predicament. In a flash he lighted Excalibur up as the light pushed away the shadows. Billy was right; behind Bonnie was a tall man in a dark trench coat holding a knife to her vulnerable throat. Billy paled as he inspected the room around him. He was surrounded by men with broad swords and crossbows.
"Smart man," the man holding Bonnie captive mused stepping back into the tiniest shadow hiding his face, but his yellow eyes shone evilly through the shadows.
"Put the sword down," the Man ordered. Billy looked down at his sword and threw it to the ground with the slightest hesitation, he wasn't completely unarmed but that sword was his greatest advantage.
"I know who you are, Billy Bannister, son of the Great Clefspeare," his thin lips formed an eerie smile, "and I know that you are a fire-breather so don't try it."
"What do you want?" Billy asked trying to sound brave but his eyes trembled as fear crept into his mind and setting root in the deepest part of his heart. The Man threw back his head and laughed.
"You know enough about me to guess," he hissed and moved the knife closer to Bonnie's throat nicking it as a thin stream of dark red blood trickled down her throat staining her brilliant white shirt red. "I can assure you, though, I mean you and your pretty girlfriend here no harm." He smiled again and watched the blood run down her neck tantalizingly.
"Leave them alone!" A voice boomed from the rafters. Billy and Bonnie both shared a look of praise, joy and glee. They would know that headstrong voice anywhere.
In a brilliant jump the figure landed squarely in the middle of the room and taking out a good size of the Cobras' army in the blink of an eye.
It was Tanner Hawk, the Lioness Reborn.