Holly had acquired a working knowledge of magic. She could knock someone over with Senkilo’s Cannon, or create a semi-transparent haze with Shindalthi’s Cloud, but this wasn’t enough—the purpose of the Cannon was to kill or maim, and the purpose of the Cloud was to conceal the caster. Holly could do neither, and it pissed her off to no end.
She’d been at war for goddamn years. She was fucking sick of it. Forty of her best were currently on standby, ready to hop on their mounts and assault the pass.
Flaysac and his bandits had become complacent. His guards laughed and joked as they manned their posts. Some of them would strut around without armor, or take a quick snooze when their sergeants weren’t looking. Their lax behavior was unacceptable, but understandable. Victory bred complacency in the mightiest of warriors, and Flaysac’s guys were no exception. They’d been tearing the ass out of Holly’s army like rabid frat boys who’d wormed their way into high school va-jay-jay.
(Holly had been at college parties where would-be rapists had tried to roofie her friends. She wasn’t altruistic—that wasn’t why she’d uppercutted their nutsacks and Krav Maga’d the shit out of their faces—she saw her peers as valuable resources. They were pieces on a board: pawns she needed to advance her position.)
Pawns. Like the Indashi. These roided-out ape-monkeys would help her return to Earth, so she could rip off Peter’s face and revel in his screams.
“Warriors!” she shouted, riding Braveheart-style before a line of mounted barbarians. “My Death Rider elite! Chosen for your ferocity, as well as your gigantic fucking balls!”
Evil chuckles swept through the line.
“And now!” Holly swung her gaze from side to side. “Now you fulfill your motherfucking destiny!”
They banged their shields with weapons and gauntlets, screaming and hooting like meth’d up linebackers. Spittle flew and dotted the ground.
“That’s right!” Holly roared. “Let’s skullfuck Flaysac in his motherfucking FACE!”
The Riders went into a crazy-ass frenzy. They bumped chests, slapped skulls, and shoved each other as best they could from atop their mounts. It was like watching a mosh pit filled with dino-borne maniacs.
“TO WAR!” Holly screamed. She raised her blade high above her head.
“TO WAR!” Morning stars, spike-clubs, and squared-off swords punched toward the sky.
She galloped toward the encampment’s exit, her Riders following hot on her heels. As they made a beeline for the base of the mountains, she smiled beneath the shadow of her helmet.
Holly Dent was a coldhearted bitch, but she wasn’t wrong.