A few dimension over, Holly was sitting astride her mount, peering through her spynocs (the Indashi equivalent of binoculars, fashioned from exosaur leather and a pair of hand-crafted lenses) at Flaysac’s bandits, who were stationed throughout various outposts dotting the Ankaran Mountain Range.
Due to time slippage, in the hour it had taken for Peter and his friends to break into ANOS, Holly had spent a year on Elithia preparing to fight her way through the mountains. She planned to bridge this world with hers, then lead her Death Riders (a cadre of her fiercest warriors) into the portal. First on her list was Peter Lee. She’d pike him through the asshole, then decapitate every fuck-knocker who’d pissed her off. After that…
She lowered her spynocs, brow furrowing as she thought it over. What would be better: go back to being a teen-queen cheerleader, or stay 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?” Yinhalka coaxed her mount forward, sidling up beside Holly.
“Everything is in place.”
Holly was touched. Yinhalka’s 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 solid help was one of the rarest commodities in all of existence.
“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 said, continuing to look straight ahead.
“Call me Holly. Not in front of the others, but 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 night-darkened base of the expansive mountain range.
Yinhalka chopped her arm down. “LOOSE!”
Enormous spoons rocked forward, sounding out a series of rickety creaks. The cannons’ fuses reached the end of their burn, and the roar of powder shook the air. A wave of destruction streaked toward the mountains, marking the night with smoking red trails. The missiles crashed against the slopes, dust and debris leapt up from the impacts. Tiny bandit outlines scrambled back and forth, extinguishing brushfires 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 high into the sky. There was a momentary pause as Holly’s captains counted flags. When all five blast companies had declared themselves ready, Yinhalka raised her hand once again.
“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—”
“Everything you’ve got. Two supply trains are on their 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.