“Your Majesty. Will you allow the Talking Trees to accommodate attackers like this magician?”
“Eh … sure … why not,” stammered the king.
Melissa smiled. Perhaps, he’ll take this for a dream afterward. With Korosadja’s help, she sent him back to his army.
“What a clever trick,” the cherry said. The trees began to rock their crowns in a steady rhythm. The feet of the magician sank into the ground. Arms, fingers and neck stretched and grew a brown bark. The hair forked to innumerable needles and turned green.
The dragon’s shout of joy thundered over the battle-field when he rushed Djarret and his warriors, throwing flame without being held back by the invisible barrier any more. The goblins and unicorns also attacked.
“Can’t this silly magician keep the shield up for a single fight,” Djarret shouted and turned to the magician. He didn’t see him. In his place stood a grove that hadn’t been there before. Red hair shimmered through the gaps between the tree trunks.
The bearer of Korosadja! Djarret grinned and mopped the blood of his last opponent off his cheek. He ran toward the grove till he saw the red-haired girl. She is almost too pretty to kill. Well, it can’t be avoided. Before he could approach Melissa and the Talking Trees any further, a group of unicorns and wood goblins rushed him.
Melissa did not notice Djarret. Fascinated, she watched the transformation of the magician. He gained consciousness at the moment when his nose, mouth, eyes and ears flattened and merged with his body into a trunk. His scream of terror did not reach the world any more. Only Melissa and the trees heard him through the rustling of his needles. It hadn’t taken more than a few minutes to change the magician into a stately conifer. Melissa tried to swallow the lump in her throat. She hadn’t thought it possible that she felt sympathy for the changed man. She consoled herself with the thought that he would get his original shape back after three years if he still wanted.
“Now for Djarret.” She put Korosadja back into her pocket and left the ring of Talking Trees although she did not know how to defeat the leader of the Dark Warriors. She noticed that the unicorns cared for the injured. They made enemies fall into a healing sleep and cured the wounds of King Gregor’s soldiers immediately. Numerous wood goblins handicapped the Dark Warriors by pulling on legs or picking at their armor. The dragon fought with tail, claws and teeth because it couldn’t use its worst weapon, the fire, or it would have injured King Gregor’s soldiers.
A little to the side, Prince Victor fought three dark warriors at once. Blood welled up from under his helmet, but Melissa knew that she couldn’t help him. She was more than pleased when the dragon rushed the attackers. He snatched Victor, shot up and whipped the dark warriors to the ground with his tail at the same time.
Well done, Melissa thought and looked around for her other friends. At the edge of the forest, she noticed Lysande who fought with bow and arrow.
With ease and skill, Lysande shot one enemy after the other. She took the time to wave to Melissa, pushed a troubling strand of hair from her eyes and aimed once more.
She had noticed that a warrior attacked Reginald. The stallion parried the sword blows with his horn. Lysande lifted the bow, aimed and let the arrow fly. She did not look if it met its target, she pulled the next arrow from her quiver. “Melissa is here now. You can start, Leander,” she said.
The spider who had waited on a branch over her head vaulted into the fight on a long thread. With it, millions of normal sized spiders jumped from the bushes on silken threads. Leander clicked his orders, and soon, friend and foe fought through sticky spider silk. Leander hopped over the heads of the fighters, till he reached Reginald. “Take me to Melissa”, he called into the unicorn’s ear.
Reginald trotted as best he could. Luckily, the spider silk not only hindered his progress but also that of the Dark Warriors. Reginald was used to move in rough area, and he reached the group of Talking Trees soon. Melissa’s red hair shone through the spider silk only a few steps ahead of him and Leander. One step behind her, a warrior in black stood with his sword lifted high. It was Djarret.
“Melissa, Look out!” Reginald dashed forward.
The blade shot down.
Simultaneously, Reginald slammed into Djarret and the sword into Melissa.
Djarret growled furiously and swung his sword around. Horrified, Melissa watched how he sliced Reginald’s belly with a single, liquid movement. Hectically, she dug into her pocket. When Djarret raised the sword to kill Reginald, Melissa pulled out Korosadja.