No. This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.
“You cheated! You lit the floor on fire during a proper duel,” she resolved.
“I didn’t cheat. I simply used the skills required of me.” Andrew drew back the blade and turned to Winston.
“Thank you, Andrew,” the leader nodded. “It’s unfortunate that the Top Hat gene doesn’t pass on to the female sex. You have some skills on you.”
Lucy glared, her mind trying to turn over a new solution – a new answer. “You are bloody liars. You tricked me.”
“That’s the way the game is played, Miss. O’Rourke! If you don’t like it than you will not make it very far in this life.” Winston boomed, striking fear into her heart. He snapped his fingers three times, whistling three different pitches for each.
“Sir! Is that really necessary?!” Lewis gaped, his normally quirky smile turning to quick horror.
“What is he doing?” she asked her twin. Both faces paled as three circle burnt themselves into the marble floor.
Each looked like an intricate dream-catcher with the same spiraling letters from the bottles surrounding the outside of the circles. As each second past, the lines grew brighter with heat, a steam rising from them. It would shift and spin on the ground like a leaf on a lake, sending ripples out onto the marble floor. Drums from the distance pounded louder and louder when suddenly the lines snapped like broken wires on a tightly wound violin. From each opening, came the creatures of whispers – dragons.
Lucy fell back, terror gripping her very being.
Massive beasts with scales of metallic hues of all colours. The first looked as if he had come from the early rays of a sunrise. Brilliant orange-silver against stripes of gold and white. Yet his limbs turned to a dark navy. His wings were translucent and thinly draped against his scales. His neck was long while his head was small.
The second dragon was dark green with the same long neck and head. The only difference was his butterscotch wings that lay like a peacocks, yet would flutter open ever so often to expand wider than expected across his dark tan body.
The final beast was a vivid gold with a green emerald head and a crown of horns. While its neck was only a bit shorter than the others, his face and snout were bigger and longer. Its wings doubled as its arms and claws.
“What’s going on?!” Lucy squeaked, her voice losing its courage.
“Top Hats are not under the Queen’s jurisdiction. And I think we need to make you an example for others who might think they can do the same.”
“Please!” Lucy pleaded.
“Far too late for that,” Winston called.
Even Andrew and Sebastian looked shocked.
“You can’t!” Sebastian yelled, his own hands shaking in anger as orange sparks flew to life.
“Hush, boy! I can and I will,” Winston gave Andrew a look before he could speak up. “I won’t kill her, but she must suffer. I want her fear to be known throughout the nation. Then people will remember we are not a group to be taken lightly.”
There was nothing to be done. No brothers to protect her this time. No way for her to protect herself. Vaan held Sebastian firmly by the arm. Lewis sighed in pity, and Andrew force himself to look away from the scene – a lingering sickness that he couldn’t save his own sister.
Lucy stepped back as the dragons surrounded her. Even from her spot, she could feel heat radiating from their bodies. Their yellow eyes watched her as steam and smoke billowed from their nose and mouths.
“I’m going to die,” she whispered.
“No,” a strange, unknown voice echoed within her head. “Call them.”
“What?” Lucy looked around desperately.
“Call them. You know what to do. Call them out. And they will come,” the airy voice whispered.
The dragons began to rush forward. Their eyes locked on their target.
A heat shot through Lucy, pulsing out from her very core. There was a ringing in her ears, and the world burst with vivid colours. Something had shifted from within. Fire spun in her soul and she knew exactly what was needed. Lucy opened her mouth and from her voice came three pure pitches, traveling into the air.
The world stood still. The Top Hats were surprised by the sudden melodic cry. More importantly, the dragons stopped in the tracks. Their wings folded up as yellow eyes immediately turned to gaze at the windows. The room was silent, hearts pounding on ribcages.
Lucy felt strangely drained, as she glanced around the room. The dragons had stopped.
“What are you doing?!” Winston finally yelled. “Attack her!”
The dragons again refused to move.
“Attack!” He shouted.
Not a muscle twitched.
And then. . . they came.
©2016 E. M. Vick