Chapter 25: Frozen Highway
Sage Heart sidestepped until the bus was no longer behind him, his sword pointed at the fox in front of him. “Since you seem to know who we are please tell me your name.”
“Snowy Heart Fox.” Snowy didn’t draw his bow or raise his voice but watched at the floating disc of water repositioned itself to stay between him and Sage Heart. “Are you really going to fight me here? I would prefer if you came quietly, Sage Heart Bear.”
Sage Heart tensed, “You still haven’t told any of us why you’re doing this. Why do you need us to come with you?”
“Because our lady, Soul Heart, wants to see you. She also told me not to spend time talking if I could help it.” Snowy drew back on his back on his bow with an arrow of cold, “Now please, just come with me.”
Sage Heart narrowed his gaze, “I may consider your offer if I can speak to the rest of my family before I simply travel off with you to see your lady.”
Snowy drew the arrow back on his bow, “That will not be necessary. My friends are seeing to your family. You’ll see them when we get to my home.”
“What are you doing to my children?” Sage Heart tightened his grip on his sword.
“With luck, nothing. Based on our previous interactions I suspect things will get violent.” Snowy kept is bow trained on Sage Heart.
Crafty Heart had run to the front of the bus to watch the proceedings. She gripped the stairs’ handrail too tightly, “What’s going on out there?”
“I don’t know, miss, but please just wait for the tow truck.” The bus driver looked from Crafty to the front window again.
Hidden Heart approached Crafty from behind and put a hand on her shoulder, “Please, just let Sage Heart handle this.”
Crafty tried to take a calming breath but couldn’t contain her frustration, “I’m going out there to help!” She dropped down the steps and forced the door open. She dropped onto the grass and conjured her staff from her chest symbol.
Sage Heart and Snowy Heart were still staring each other down when Crafty charged in. Snowy saw her out the corner of his eye and, on instinct, turned and fired at her legs. Crafty let out a cry of pain and surprise as her legs froze and she face planted on the road, skidding a short distance. Sage Heart charged into action with a battle shout and swung at Snowy but was intercepted by the floating water disk.
Snowy jumped back and fired at Sage Heart. Sage Heart dodged aside and fired off a clod of earth at Snowy then charged in again. Snowy’s water disk was able to block the clod of earth but Sage Heart was able to get close and with a cry he sliced into the fox’s side, drawing some blood from Snowy. Snowy cried out in pain and jumped back, expecting a follow up attack.
Sage Heart stared at the blood on his sword, then took a deep breath, “No, I can’t kill him. I need to get under control.”
Snowy saw his hesitation as he used water to heal the wound in his side. While Sage Heart was still distracted, Snowy conjured an arrow of fire on his middle finger and an arrow of ice on his index finger then brought the arrows together creating a red and blue spiraled arrow that he drew on his bow. “Antipode shot.” He fired the arrow at Sage Heart sword. Sage Heart yelped and dropped his weapon as the cold and fire swirled around it until it shattered.
Snowy Heart Fox lowered his bow, “You are disarmed, now come with me.”
“I am not disarmed,” Sage Heart conjured a rock and fired it off at Snowy, which he just barely dodged aside as his shield failed to block it. “Merely inconvenienced for the time.” Crafty Heart meanwhile had drawn her hands down to her feet to use her own kinetics to remove the ice, ignoring the road rash on her side and her bloody nose.
“Then perhaps I should change my tactics,” Snowy drew an arrow of fire on her bow and pointed it at the bus, “Come with me or I will force your hand.”
“Like hell!” Crafty Heart charged in and swung her staff at Snowy’s head. The water shield stopped her blow but Crafty pulled one of her hands back and then shot it forwards and sent a burst of frost over Snowy’s face.
Snowy Heart was unmoved. “Even if I wasn’t use to cold weather, I’ve adapted to the cold through my element. Please don’t waste my time.” The fire arrow dissipated and Snowy conjured a dagger of pure cold in his right hand that he stabbed it into Crafty. Crafty slipped back, dodging almost by accident as the dagger thrust into where she had been a moment ago.
Snowy was about to stab down when Sage Heart charged in, a longsword in his right hand and a shield on his left. Snowy turned at the last second and tried to stab his ice dagger into him but struck his shield instead. Sage Heart bared his teeth as the cold covered his shield and transferred to his arm but he swung his sword hard and slashed into Snowy’s left arm, plowing through the disc of water which splattered everywhere.
Snowy cried out in pain and felt his arm go limp, dropping his bow in the process. Before he could speak or reply, Sage Heart pulled his sword back and stabbed it though Snowy’s heart. Snowy was stunned for just a moment then he blacked out.
Sage Heart pulled his sword out of Snowy then caught him as he slumped forwards. Crafty stared at him in horror, “Is he dead?”
Sage Heart shook his head, “Our weapons can’t kill anyone unless our killing intent is overpowering. I had to get it under control earlier or I might have killed him just now. We need to keep Snowy Heart with us until we get back to the city.” Sage Heart lifted the unconscious fox into his arms and walked back to the bus.
Battle on the Highway
Sage Heart Bear
Everyone backed away as Sage Heart brought the attacker onto the bus with him, except for Hidden Heart who just waited for Crafty to step onto the bus, then wrapped her in a huge hug. She was crying. “I thought he was going to kill you,” She said through her sobs.
Crafty hugged back and patted her, “I’m fine, a little cold though.”
“Alright everyone, sit down and wait for the tow truck. We’ll get the wheel replaced as soon as possible and be on our way.” Everyone listened.
Hidden Heart didn’t let go of Crafty until she sat down and even then she leaned over to put her head on the coyote’s shoulder. “You’re my only friend, I don’t want to lose you.”
Crafty stroked Hidden’s head, “It’s alright, I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere.” She gave her forehead a soft kiss.
Sage Heart set Snowy Heart next to the window and sat down next to him in the very back seat. Life Heart joined him and sat down with them, “Is he alright?”
“He’ll be unconscious for a few hours but he’ll live.” Sage Heart kept his gaze on the fox, “He said his friends are doing the same to our children right now,” One of his hands tightened into a fist, “If they hurt our children!”
Life Heart took Sage Heart’s fist in her hand and squeezed it, “Don’t worry. Love Heart and Sweet Heart can handle it. I’m more worried about the others.” Sage Heart turned back to her and Life Heart gave him a soft kiss, “thank you for protecting us.”
Sage Heart smiled, “I’d do anything for you,” he kissed her back.
Calm Heart Lynx’s mace rang out as she deflected each blow from Independent Bear’s katana blade and she was driven away from the lake by his furious assault. Indy jumped back as a spike of rock shot out and nearly impaled him.
“You don’t have to fight us. You can just come with us peacefully.” Calm Heart was panting slightly as she stared Indy down.
Indy glared at Calm Heart and pointed at her with his sword in his left hand, “No way in hell. I’ve been chased halfway across the continent by those monsters of yours: Shatter Heart and Blade Star. It doesn’t matter what your excuse is, I’m not going with you!” He took up his sword in both hands as a shimmering field appeared around his sword.
Calm Heart sighed in resignation, “I didn’t want to do this, but if I must then I will.” She steadied herself and prepared for battle.