Black Moon Draw (Chapter Nine, page 2 of 7)


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I drop the medallion and release a breath. My dress is splattered with blood, my hands shaking.

"I told you not to leave my side!" The Shadow Knight snatches my arm.

I push at him. "I didn't have a -"

"Silence!" His roar makes me jump. Sheathing the axe, he pulls out his sword and tightens his grip around me. "Hold on."

Hold on? "Are we going somewhere?" I ask.

His scent is stronger, pulling at my senses. Despite his abruptness, I'm grateful to see him. I don't know how many warriors I can threaten with the medallion before they wisen up and realize if I had any power, I'd use it.

"Aye."

One minute, we're standing in the midst of his enemy. The next, my breath is snatched away, and everyone and everything around us freezes in place. We move among them the way I ran through the trees of the forest. Clutched against the Shadow Knight with one arm, I watch in horrified fascination.

Swords appear to have stopped almost mid-strike while the enemies running to attack us move almost too deliberately to see. The world didn't really stop. It's just slowed down.

Or we sped way up.

The Shadow Knight's inhuman speed has knocked my breath from me. He slashes at those around us at full speed in a lethal dance that leaves no one alive in our vicinity. His heart beats quickly and steadily, his scent wrapping around me with his momentum. He's all but carrying me; my toes barely touch the ground, and there's a weird purple glow around him that I can't explain.

We reach an area surrounded by Black Moon Draw warriors.

The otherworldly experience ends as abruptly as it started, and I begin to breathe once more. My senses catch up to me, the clash of metal and war cries jarring me. The Shadow Knight lowers me to the ground, and I wobble, my equilibrium slow to recover after the wild ride.

"What . . . was that?" I ask, looking up at him. He's no longer glowing and his sword drips with blood.

"Stay behind the line," he orders. "Disobey and I will have your head, witch!" Releasing me, he launches forward towards the battle.

There's no line I can see anywhere. I can't even tell where his army ends and the enemy's begins. I'm in the middle of a buffered area about twenty feet across, ignored by those nearest me.

"Witch!" My squire's cry is panicked.

I search the throngs around me for a glimpse of him and spot him finally. He's a good fifty feet away, trying to flee half a dozen determined pursuers. I cringe at the thought of seeing the poor kid cut down and look around for anyone to help him.

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