Right, so this was my second attempt at that short story contest I mentioned in the last post. I might continue this in the future as a little mini-adventure.

The clash of swords rang out in the air as Jenna swung her saber upwards, hearing it collide with her opponent’s silver blade. She winced and ducked, dodging a second strike that whistled over her head, ruffling her cinnamon hair. She raised her sword up to block a third swing, pushing her opponent back. She dug her heels into the sand and pushed harder, but her opponent pushed back.

“I suppose we’re at a stalemate.” Ricardo, her training partner, grinned at Jenna from around the X made by their swords, reaching up to brush his messy dark brown hair out of his eyes.

“Not quite.” Jenna reached down and drew a small throwing knife about the length of her whole hand from wrist to fingertip, pressing the tip against Ricardo’s stomach lightly so as not to draw blood. “I win.”

Ricardo staffed back, dropping his sword to his side with a rueful laugh. “You’re tough to beat, Jenna.”

Jenna grinned, a sparkle in her eye. “Aye, but you’re tough to fight.”

Both sheathed their swords. “Enough,” Ricardo said. “Get some rest. Maybe do some of that paperwork.”

Jenna headed up to the library in the large palace she stayed in. Training as a warrior bodyguard for the princess of the land, she got to stay in the palace as she worked.

It was late into the night when she finally turned off the light in the empty library. Carrying her lantern so she would not misstep in the hallways, she walked down the aisle, right hand running over the spines of ancient books as she walked.

There was a sudden crash from behind her, and a cold wind rushed in as moonlight pooled on the floor. Jenna whirled around, hands already reaching for her saber, paperwork fluttering to the ground and long forgotten.

Her saber was gone.

She debated whether or not to run for help, but no, it was too late – whatever had broken through the library wall loomed high above her head, casting a dark shadow upon her from the moonlight. She froze, terrified, frantically searching for something that might help her, but all her weapons had mysteriously disappeared.

“Ricardo!” she screamed as whatever it was swept a claw at her. She ducked hurriedly, and it smashed into the bookcases. She fell to the ground as one landed on her leg, trapping her as books and shredded paper piled around her.

There was a crash in the back and Ricardo jumped in with his saber. “Hold on, Jenna!” he yelled, then leapt forward to slash the beast with his saber.

“What’s going on?” called a voice from the back, by the staircase.

“Princess, stay back!” Ricardo yelled to her.

The monster took the momentary distraction to swipe its tail at Ricardo, smashing him back against the wall. The princess shrieked and hurried over to where he lay among the broken rocks.

It rounded on Julia. She tried to scurry away, but her leg was still trapped beneath the bookcase, and she could not move. “Help,” she cried out weakly, but no one could hear her.

The monster swept her up in its paws, its claws clutching her tightly. She winced as she felt her ribs crack, and screeched as it forcefully dragged her leg out from under the bookcase, leaving a long but shallow scrape.

Her wail was cut off as the monster took off, large wings flapping as it flew into the night out of same hole it made breaking in. Ricardo stumbled over to the hole, the princess close behind.

He patted the sobbing girl on the shoulder. “She’s the third this month,” he whispered, softly so the princess wouldn’t hear. “What’s going on?”

The princess buried her face in his shirt, still crying, and he put an arm around her. “I’ll find Jenna,” he promised. “Even if it costs me my life.”