Chapter 43

A roar came up behind Regina, causing her ears to ring. Her men were shouting, and if she thought to look behind her, she would see they had unsheathed their swords, raising them high above their heads as they ran behind their leaders. The drums were beating fast, almost in time with the Queen's heart.

As Heliose took off at a trot fast enough to gain momentum, but slow enough to keep the armies right behind her, she unsheathed Lilith, the pure black metal shining in the light. She felt the wind swirl past her on her exposed neck, her hair up and out of her face. The black metal of her armor moved with her as her steed moved her strong muscles beneath her.

The golden army in front of them began getting closer, marching methodically, all in step. As Regina got a better look at them, she noticed their faces were also pure gold, set in a disturbing, impassive frown. As one, they drew their swords, the sound of metal on metal screeching. Without warning, they all began to run, those in front stretching their swords out in front of them.

Regina hugged her steed, crouching low over her. She saw the others do the same on their horses.

The group was about to meet the army, the men behind them starting another yell, showing their full devotion to the path they were taking. She felt her steed picking up speed, and just before the first line of the enemy reached the four of them, their steeds jumped. The Queen couldn't hear anything but her own heartbeat in her ears. She looked off to the side and saw the shining gold beneath her.

They landed with a crash, swords slashing at their legs immediately. The group slashed back, finding the weak spots in the armor quickly. Charming dealt the first wound, effectively slashing off one of the golden soldier's arms. But instead of blood coming out, what appeared to be melted gold poured from the injury. Regina watched as it hit the ground. Smoke came from the grass and she smelt something burning. Panic nearly overtook her as she realized what was happening.

"Don't let their blood touch you!" she yelled. She heard her order be shouted through the ranks and Emma looked at her with a touch of fear on her face. "It will burn your skin," she said, keeping Heliose under as much control as she could.

The soldier that Charming had mortally wounded got back up, it's face still in its passive aggressive form. Regina swung her sword at it, but it jumped back. As it lunged forward, the Queen kicked it back, sending it sprawling on the ground. Charming urged his horse sideways, smashing the soldier's head beneath his horse's foot.

"We have to get off these horses!" Snow yelled, using her sword to swipe at soldiers that would not fall when injured. "We won't be as easy to spot!"

Regina nodded once and hopped down from her horse, smacking its rear and sending her off at a gallop. The other three did the same, and when Regina looked over to make sure Emma was still ok, she saw a golden soldier approaching her from behind. With a yell, Charming stormed past the Queen and his daughter and slashed at the things legs, sending it toppling over. He pushed his sword through the golden armor and straight into the soldier's stomach. But still, the soldier kept moving towards the princess.

"They're not dying!" Charming said, twisting his sword, the golden blood nearly touching him.

The Queen looked back over to Snow to see that she had been battling the same soldier for a while. Another soldier engaged her in battle, and soon another joined. Emma fought one as well, and Charming swung his fist at whoever came near them. They backed themselves into a circle, and as it seemed there would be no escape for them except death, Snow thrust her sword into a soldier's skull, sending the burning, golden blood everywhere. Regina held up her hand, a shield protecting them from the harmful substance, and the soldier fell to the ground, unmoving.

"Their heads!" Snow yelled, out of breath. "Attack the heads!"

Regina smiled darkly as she gathered her magic, letting the discord around her fuel her emotions. With the flick of her wrist, she sent spikes into the heads of the golden soldiers around her. This time, Emma generated a shield around the group. Now that they had figured out their weakness, they could manage them.

The Queen glanced behind her for a moment, seeing the discord that had erupted. Her men were doing the best they could, she knew, under the circumstances. But she hoped this battle would not be an outright slaughter. But, she had to keep her mind focused on the present.

She turned around and slashed through the neck of a soldier beside her, then another. And when one put up a fight, she cut off the arm wielding the sword before incapacitating it. The rest of her group appeared to be doing just as well, but she noticed Emma tiring.

"Keep going!" she yelled at the princess. Emma looked at her, and holding out her hand, shot a ray of light directly beside Regina's head. The Queen looked over her shoulder and saw a soldier lying on the ground, their face slowly melting away. Regina looked back at Emma and raised an eyebrow before resuming her battle.

As the group killed one soldier, it seemed another appeared to take its place. Regina knew they had to have killed countless soldiers alone, but it seemed it wasn't even making a dent in the enemy's forces. She had to call additional troops to her aid.

The Queen held up her sword and a red flare came out of the tip, soaring high above the battlefield. From the ridges on either side of her, she heard battle-cries. On one side, black poured down the earth-made ramp, and on the other, silver did the same. A volley of arrows came from both sides, taking out nearly one-hundred golden soldiers, and a few of her own in the process. The Queen continued her slaughter of the soldiers within her reach. She quickly switched places with Emma, both keeping their backs to one another. Regina saw Charming cut off the head of the soldier he was battling and a small drop of golden blood fall onto his skin. He screamed, the blood acting like hot metal against his skin.

Regina ran over to him and waved her hand, the blood not disappearing from him. She bend down quickly and picked up a blade of grass and wiped it off, the pain appearing to back off slightly. Charming grunted in thanks and began cutting his way back through the soldiers in front of him.

Regina sighed and did the same. She looked around her. There was too much chaos. Her men were battling two or three enemies at a time. Golden swords were covered in red blood, and it seemed like she could do nothing to help. She had to reserve her magic for as long as she could because, when she got to the estate, she was going to have to put everything she had into that spell.

She looked around again, her sword now defending and killing purely on Regina's instinct. She shouldn't have brought all of these men. Their families, their children, would only know they died in a great war that hardly anyone made it out of. She felt a lump in her throat form, knowing she had torn apart countless families.

She screamed then, her rage and raw emotion no longer able to be kept under control. The Queen held out her hand and she let some darkness take her over. More spikes, just like the ones before, began impaling the golden soldiers. She walked forward, slowly, deliberately, waiting for another to come at her. When one did, she slashed their head off cleanly and formed a shield around herself to protect against any of the blood that may drip on her. She saw Emma struggling with one soldier in particular and quickly dispatched it with a flick of her wrist, its neck breaking then sliding off its shoulders.

Emma looked at her and saw purple swirling in her eyes. But she didn't have time to stand idle as another soldier appeared, requiring her attention.

Regina pushed forward still, making sure the rest of her group was keeping pace with her. Charming was holding his own, but Snow and Emma had to combine their forces to keep moving. The Queen saw sweat pouring down their faces, making trails in the dirt that had begun to cover them.

The Queen looked forward then, noticing the shaking of the ground beneath her feet. A large, golden soldier stepped in front of her, blocking her way. She took a step back, his head reaching far above her own. He swung his arm sideways and Regina just jumped out of the way. He brought down his sword and Regina blocked with her own, but fell to one knee, the sheer might of the being in front of her forcing her down. She pushed back, but he didn't budge. He kept pushing down, pushing all of his weight on her. Their swords kept getting closer and closer to Regina's face. The Queen pushed one final time with all her might, and surprisingly, the brute fell backwards. As he fell to the ground, Regina spotted an arrow embedded in the small space on the head of the soldier vulnerable to such attacks. She looked toward where the arrow had come from and noticed Snow looking at her. Regina nodded a brief thanks and Snow acknowledged it with the same gesture.

Regina went back to cutting her way through the soldiers. She allowed herself to be consumed by the pure hatred she was feeling towards the golden soldiers slaughtering her men. Her citizens. It was her duty to protect them and she would make sure that she took out as many of the enemy soldiers as possible in order to give them a better chance.

"Regina!" she heard Emma yell. As she looked back, she saw a shadow growing larger over her. She looked up and saw a boulder, one that her own siege weapons had fired, begin to fall towards her. Emma looked up as well and grabbed her mother by the waist, jumping out of the way. The boulder smashed down, and Charming yelled in fear for her daughter and wife.

"They're ok!" Regina said, keeping Charming from running over. Several golden soldiers now barred their way from joining back up with the other two. "They're both alive."

"We have to find them," he said, looking down at her.

"We have to get to the estate. They know the plan. We have to go."

Charming looked at her, the fear still present in his eyes. "They're both alive?" he asked.

"Yes."

"Then let's go."

A/N: Another chapter already? Why yes. Yes, my little chick-a-dees. Y'all are just so nice that I really wanted to get this written. Besides, I'm addicted to reviews. You're like my drug suppliers or something. Except you aren't scary and we don't have to meet in dark alleyways.

Next time in Blood Red Love: Emma's mouth will hang open in shock, a bird will attack, and Snow will run awkwardly.

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