At this point, Holly had spent three years in Kor’Thank’s body, while only a few months had passed on Earth. She barely remembered what life had been like before laying siege to Flaysac’s outposts.
Two weeks ago, she’d mounted a super-aggressive push, spearheaded by an elite cadre of her light-armored shock troops. Unfortunately for her, Flaysac had enlisted his outlaw peers: a handful of free-thinking bandit-kings. They’d come together to defend the peaks, which they needed to maintain their freedom of movement, and consequently, their freedom of trade.
According to Holly’s advisors, Kor’Thank had left the bandits alone. Aside from the occasional rabble-rouser, the outlaws were—by and large—a collection of well-intentioned merchants. Kor’Thank, apparently, had actually admired them. Not openly, but through begrudging comments here and there.
Which was batshit crazy, as far as Holly was concerned. Allowing independent agents to set up shop in your back fucking yard? Unacceptable. You couldn’t trust people to police themselves. No—you had to make them fall in line. With force, if need be. (To be perfectly honest, it was way more fun when you did it with force.)
Her brutish approach wasn’t working, which was really, really pissing her off. It had worked in preschool, when she’d stolen her peers’ toys and milk. It had worked in eighth grade, when she’d driven her enemies to alcohol and Ritalin (one of them got pregnant at the tender age of twelve—a rousing success in her vengeance-twisted mind). It had worked on the cheer squad, when she’d finalized her place as Head Bitch In Charge by dropping Lizzy on her stupid fucking head.
Being a horrible cunt had always, always worked.
Yinhalka rode up on her raptor, coated in fresh streaks of blood and mud. Her disheveled appearance was due to the fact that three hours prior, a small force of Flaysac’s troops had snuck past some lazy guards. Yinhalka had spotted them during their approach and killed them all. Typically, she would have imprisoned or killed the Indashi sentries, but the fighting was costly; they needed every arm that could swing a sword. As a substitute punishment, she’d sent them up to the front line.
“Yinhalka.” Holly turned to her general. “Any news?”
The excitement in her voice was unmistakable. “In the last four hours, we’ve taken twelve of their outposts. They’re no longer fighting as a unified force; they’re divided into scattered pockets.”
“What about their reinforcements? Can they shore up their—”
Yinhalka shook her head. “We’ve established a perimeter of heavy blocking elements, loaded the terrain with skirmishers and cavalry. Our archers have the high ground; they can easily pick off any raiders.”
“No reinforcements…which means we’ve cut off their logistics.”
“Correct.” Yinhalka grinned—the smile of a handyman who’d worked long and hard on a stubborn project, and was seeing the end come into sight. “Two of our battalions have just arrived.”
“Have you ordered them to—”
“They’ll be joining the assault within the hour.”
Holly’s lower lip trembled. At last. At long last.
“Holly?” Yinhalka’s tone became tentative.
“Nothing, it’s just…” Holly’s voice cracked. She took a moment to gain her composure. “It’s just been so long, and I’ve worked so hard to…never mind. Keep me posted.”
Yinhalka bowed her head.
“As you wish.”