LadyStar: Escape from Widow Island, Part Four
In this new multi-part serialized fiction story for The Mary Sue, LadyStar: Escape from Widow’s Island tells the story of Jessica and her team of fighters pitted against their teacher during the last phase of their training as Ajan Warriors. Check out more LadyStar books here. Click here for Parts One, Two, and Three.
“Sometimes Ranko gets impatient.”
— Jessica Halloran
Near The Shroud
Jessica’s breath was stolen from her in a heart-pounding instant. She fought urgently to keep control as the arachnid horror obscured the moonlight. It’s razor-sharp hair glinted. The gargantuan widow advanced like a striking snake, and Jessica smoothly danced back, holding Aria in the classic overhead defense stance she had practiced until she could deflect blades in her sleep.
“Goofy!” Ranko shouted as she rushed to her friend’s aid. Before she could get far, the humanoid creature she had been fighting slammed into her from behind. The two fighters rolled to the ground. Ranko flipped over on her back and grabbed Thundercaller’s handle tightly. Just as the snarling beast got back to its feet, the head of Ranko’s Hammer punched into its midsection, shoving it back and off-balance.
Finally the spider lunged towards Jessica’s weak side and caught her foot and leg with a slicing bite.
“Jessica!” Talitha cried.
The girl was lifted and thrown forward, landing hard on her arms and elbows. Aria clattered to the ground. The impact stole her breath once again, and she coughed against the dusty hollow pain.
Alanna realized none of the warriors had time to be entangled with the small fries while her friend fought a giant-sized spider all alone. Something had to be done and quick. Her opponent warily circled. It was the right tactic with a spear, Alanna thought. She had to entice the creature to the attack so she could get in close. Then she had an idea.
The Warrior of the River retreated bit by bit as the dark humanoid advanced. She did her best to look scared of the spear as she pretended to stumble once. The creature advanced more boldly and offered a half-attack, which was exactly what Alanna wanted. She scrambled back and then pretended to fall.
A moment after she landed she looked up just in time to see her opponent move in for the kill. The spear-thrust was right where the Winterdancer expected it. She caught the weapon with both hands and drove the head into the ground, turning her hips into a savage straight kick right into the evil fighter’s throat.
Somehow, Jessica managed to get back to her feet and gather Aria before the gargantuan black widow could gather itself for another stab. One of Jessica’s boots was nearly destroyed, and the necrotic poison eating into the fabric was beginning to burn her skin.
She could almost hear Reina’s voice telling her to be mindful of her power as an Ajan Warrior. “A bigger and stronger enemy only becomes invincible when its opponent defeats herself.” She had heard the words so many times. Now she understood their power even more clearly than before.
My greatest strength is in the power I give others.
The Topaz Astral gleamed in Aria’s pommel.
Talitha gasped. She had never seen Jessica call upon a second astral in combat before. The blade of the Sunrise Warrior’s golden sword burst into bluish flames at exactly the same moment the head and handle of Thundercaller began to glow with the same light.
Suddenly, Ranko’s weapon felt as if it were a tenth its normal weight. The Warrior of the Storms squinted as she realized the new gift Jessica had just given her. It was one of the Minstrel’s many blessings. This one carried the power of Topaz color magic. The power of the winds.
Way to go, Jessica! Ranko thought.
She was on her feet in an instant, her heavy boots clanking as she advanced on her enemy.
The creature snarled and gathered itself for another lunge, but before it could attack, the Crimson Champion hefted her War-Hammer and swung it laterally with every ounce of strength she could muster. The head of the mighty weapon began to spin in a wide circle, and in an instant, Ranko Whelan became a hurricane-like vortex of destructive energy. The arcane energy of Jessica’s blessing infused her attack with incredible force. The head of the two-handed bludgeon began to emit blue-white bolts of fiery electrical intensity.
With only a moment to react, the shadowy creature instinctively tried to meet strength with strength. It rushed forward, intending to smash the Hammer-wielding girl with one blow, but the moment Thundercaller connected, the hurricane exploded.
Pieces of broken stone in various shapes resembling humanoid body parts rained down over the battlefield, but the Warrior of the Storms did not slow or stop. To Talitha and Cici’s surprise, she seemed to be gathering even more energy. Enough, in fact, that Ranko had attracted the attention of the huge shining black spider.
Now that she no longer had to defend herself quite as aggressively, the Warrior of the Sunrise had time to prepare even more powerful battle magic. She winced at the burrowing feverish torment creeping across the skin of her leg and concentrated all her powers on her Sword. This time she summoned the Citrine Astral.
Talitha knew what was about to happen, and she mentally tried to prepare herself for all the good it would do. Even if she raised Trueblossom to protect herself and Cici, it wouldn’t stop the impossibly bright beams of pure light Jessica was about to unleash. Her friend’s voice echoed into spangled clouds above.
“I can see the future, and it has a beautiful sky!”
Jessica Halloran’s words sounded as if they surrounded the battlefield. For just a moment, a glimpse of a pastel-colored sunrise appeared behind the Minstrel Warrior, and the blade of her Sword reflected golden-white rays. The spiral-like bloom of impossibly intense light cast sharp shadows behind each of the other warriors.
Translucent rays cascaded across the spider’s legs and body again and again, burning and scorching its evil carapace. It hissed with an ominous rage and turned on Jessica once again. Smoke rose from its wounds as it charged, fangs ready to tear Jessica Halloran to pieces.
Jessica reversed her stance and raised Aria with trembling arms. She would only have one chance.
Prepare for battle and don’t miss next week’s chapter as the Greatest Fighting Team of Teenage Girls Ever Assembled continue their impossible quest to Escape from Widow Island!
W. Scott’s LadyStar series is celebrates its fifteenth year in 2015 with the release of a brand new collection of thrilling fantasy stories filled with romance, magical creatures and spectacular battles! Visit the Official LadyStar Bookstore and join the adventure!
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