A few dimensions over, Holly sat astride her mount, peering through her spynocs (Indashi binoculars, made from exosaur leather and hand-crafted lenses) at Flaysac’s bandits, who were stationed throughout various outposts on the Ankaran Mountain Range.
Thanks to time slippage, in the hour it had taken for Peter and his friends to breach ANOS, Holly had spent a year on Elithia. After she broke through to the Southern Reach, she’d find the Eye of Scylish, bridge this world with Earth, then lead her Death Riders (a cadre of her fiercest warriors) into the portal. First on her list was Peter Lee. She’d pike his asshole, then decapitate every fuck-knocker who’d pissed her off. After that…
She lowered her spynocs, her brow furrowing as she thought it over. What would be better: being a teen-queen cheerleader, or staying as she was—a badass king in charge of a bloodthirsty horde?
She shook her head. There’d be time to think about it after the assault.
“Yes, milord?” She coaxed her mount forward, sidling up beside Holly.
“Everything is in place.”
Holly was touched. The favorable report was par for the course, but still, having a trusted lieutenant was a top-notch luxury. Holly had learned (the hard way) that reliable help was a rare commodity.
“You impress me Yinhalka. You’ve been…” Her voice caught. “You’ve done good.”
“Thank you, my liege,” Yinhalka replied.
“Uh…do me a favor.” Holly continued to look straight ahead.
“Call me Holly. Not in front of the others, when it’s just us. I would…I’d really appreciate it.”
“Of course, mi—Holly.”
Holly cleared her throat. “Good. Now let’s fuckstart Flaysac in his goddamn face.”
Yinhalka straightened up and shouted: “BLAST-LEADERS! READY YOUR ORDNANCE!”
Calls of “Blast prep!” echoed through the lines. Fresh-lit catapults cut a bright line of dots along the base of the mountain range.
Yinhalka chopped her arm down. “LOOSE!”
Enormous spoons rocked forward, sounding out a series of rickety creaks. The cannons’ fuses burned and vanished, and the roar of powder shook the air. A wave of destruction arced forward, marking the night with smoking red trails. The missiles crashed against the slopes, dust and debris leapt up from the impacts. Bandits scrambled back and forth, extinguishing fires with buckets of water.
Blast-leaders screamed at their teams to move faster, dammit—faster! Fresh boulders were loaded onto spoons, fresh shot was rolled into barrels. Once they were set, each team lifted a skull-emblazoned flag. There was a momentary pause as Holly’s captains counted flags. All teams ready, the captains signaled. Yinhalka raised her hand.
“LOOSE!” She sliced it down in a violent chop. Iron and stone smashed the peaks. Bandits scurried behind cover.
Yinhalka turned to Holly. “How many volleys would you like to—”
“All you’ve got. Two supply trains are on the way. We have plenty of ammo.”
Yinhalka nodded and spread her arms in a wide V—the signal to keep firing. Flags waved from side to side, broadcasting acknowledgment.
Holly smiled. She hadn’t killed Krul’Dar and Wodec, but they were small potatoes compared to Flaysac Chinsay. And Flaysac Chinsay was small potatoes compared to Peter Lee.
Soon. Her smile widened.
I’ll see you soon, Peter.