The following is chapter eight of The Dragon Protector.  (Need to start at the beginning?  Click here to go to chapter one.)

By the time Micah reached his unconscious friends, the soldier had already tied Cyr’s hands behind his back and was in the process of tying Lydia’s hands.  Micah wasn’t sure whether he should praise the guy for his efficiency or berate him for shooting his friends.

He cleared his throat and opted for a little of both.  “Nice work, soldier.  What’s your name?”

The man glanced up, resumed his tying, then jumped to his feet a second later holding his Jolt Blast.  “You’re Micah.”

“Yes.  I am aware of that.  I want to know who you are.”

“Ramsey.  I’m, umm, Ramsey.”

“Why did you shoot these people, Ramsey?”

“They tried to cross the bridge.  People aren’t allowed to cross the bridge.  Unless it’s you.  You can do whatever you want.”

“Of course I can.”  Micah found his characteristic cockiness comforting yet obnoxious.  No wonder he never had any friends until he boarded the Iria and learned how to be part of a team.  Although it irritated him to listen to himself, he remained in the cocky mode Ramsey expected.  “I can also get you to do whatever I want.”

“Yes, sir.  What can I do for you, sir?”

“Drop your Jolt Blast, untie this man, and bring him to me.”

“Right away, sir.”  The weapon clanged against the wooded bridge, and Ramsey quickly cut through the ropes on Cyr’s wrists.  “Where am I taking him?  Back to the portal to take to the castle’s dungeon?”

“No.  We’re not going back to Zandador just yet.”  Micah picked up the Jolt Blast with one hand, slung Lydia over his shoulder with the other, and used the weapon that looked like a handheld crossbow to point to the house he had just come from.  “Bring him to the second house on the left.  I’ll wait for you there.”

While the man struggled to lift Cyr, Micah marched to the house, gently placed Lydia on the dusty cot, and waited for the soldier.  As soon as Ramsey dragged Cyr inside, he turned to Micah for further instructions.  “What now?”

“Now?”  Indecision paralyzed Micah.  He could jolt Ramsey and escape, or he could jolt Ramsey and stay to explain Javan’s plan to Cyr and Lydia once they recovered from the electric shock of the blast.  Either way, Ramsey needed to be zapped.  “Now I shoot you.”

Micah pulled the steel bow string back, clicked it into place, and engaged the trigger.  A spark of electricity flashed through the shaft made of Midnight Stalker scales, and the string that scraped along the top helped create a lightning bolt that shot straight into Ramsey’s right shoulder.  He jerked and twitched his way to the floor.

Lydia began to stir.  If Micah was going to go rogue, this was his only chance.  He had to leave before she woke up.  Why weren’t his feet listening to his head?

“What did that man shoot me with?”  Lydia sat up, shaking her head and rubbing her arms.  “My blood feels like it’s on fire beneath my skin.”

“It’s called a Jolt Blast,” Micah said.  “It stings for a bit, but you’ll be completely recovered in an hour or so.”

“Fantastic.”  Lydia stood, wobbled, and regained her balance by leaning against the wall.  “Where are Javan and Taliya?”

Micah looked at the door, then back at the short-haired warrior struggling to stand.  In that instant, he made his decision.  “You might want to sit down for this.”  He stepped over Ramsey and helped Lydia resume her seat on the cot.  “They’re working on a plan to keep Keckrick safe, and we’re going to need your help to execute it.”


The story continues with How to Negotiate with a Dawn Stalker.