Hey everyone, this is my contribution to the Storytime Blog Hop. Hope you enjoy it.
Check out the links at the end for other stories in the tour. We have some fantastic authors in this group.
A Different Kind of Raise
By Amy Keeley
Elisa raced toward the advancing demon army, sword glowing bright. A demon swept up to her, talons outstretched.
Whoosh! A spear knocked it out of the path of her sword.
The warrior who had done this smiled brightly, as if doing her a favor.
She watched as the demon scarred the warrior’s leg. Frustration nearly made her scream.
What would it take to get a decent battle scar?
Those with scars got three times the pay and life in the protected world of the Sphere, where they and their families could spend the rest of their lives in peace, safety, and luxury.
All because they had proven their bravery.
But had she gotten this yet? Noooo. Not a scar anywhere on her and it had been three months. Three months of other warriors stepping in, protecting her, even though she had the most demon kills of any in her unit.
Hang it all, she was going to prove her bravery if it killed her.
Sensing another demon, she ran toward it before it landed. This time she saw a scrawny warrior heading to intercept.
This time, she didn’t back away.
This time, she leaped onto the demon’s head, accidentally kicking the warrior in the shoulder.
Her sword slid through the demon as if it were air. And killed it instantly.
“What do I gotta do?” she shouted. Looking at the man she’d kicked out of the way, he annoyed her with his wide-eyed stare. “Got something better to do?” She scanned the battlefield for yet another target.
“You’re really good at this,” the man said. “I mean, they said you were good but I had no idea.”
She didn’t see any more demons. She began walking toward the Boundary where this round of demon army had come from. There were sure to be more there.
“Hey, can I follow you?” the man said. “The name’s Derek. I was told that, even though you don’t have a scar—”
She whirled on him, this scrawny guy who looked like he should be in a library, not a battlefield. And then realized who he was. Derek, son of the best demon fighter around, Chason Demondeath.
No snapping. “Okay, but stay silent. Got it?”
He nodded enthusiastically.
Ten minutes later, a demon surged at them from behind a bluff. “I got it!” Elisa yelled. “Stay out of my way!”
“Okay !” Derek called back.
She leaped up. Using a nearby tree to gain more leverage, she flew above the demon. Sword out, she got ready for the kill.
Not too fast this time, though. Need the scar.
“Behind you!” Derek yelled.
She whipped around just as the demon tried to whiplash her with its tail.
It would hit right on the leg. Ooo, good. Very good.
A body barreled into hers, knocking her out of the way. Derek. He turned and faced the demon.
“Oh, no you don’t!” She yelled.
No one was taking her scar this time. No one!
Derek threw a small sphere along the ground. It rolled up under the demon, then surged outward with a million divine threads, blue radiance nearly purple against the demon’s red skin.
Then pulled the demon into it.
“Ha, it worked!” Derek grinned as if he’d gotten a million scars. “I was hoping there might be a way to reduce injuries during battle but—”
Elisa balled her fists. “You took my scar!”
Derek frowned in confusion, then simply frowned. “I kept you safe.”
“Safe? My mom and other farmers like her are in danger every day. I get a scar and we get to live safe and free for the rest of our lives within the Sphere. And you took it.”
His jaw set. “That hit would have destroyed more than you realize.”
“I don’t care, as long as my family is safe.” She scoffed. “You shouldn’t even be here.”
“No, I shouldn’t. I should be in R&D, researching ways to keep hotheads like you from sacrificing themselves. The only reason I am here is because of my dad. I live in that place you want to send your family. I’ve seen the ones with demon scars. Demons poison us if they hit us, did you know that?”
She froze. No one, at any point in her training, had mentioned that.
“The ones with scars,” he continued, “live just long enough to see all those promises be given to a very small percentage in the Sphere. Any family they bring with them become servants of people like my dad. And nothing stops anyone from sending their brothers and sisters back into the war.”
The bottom dropped out of her stomach. “It’s a lie?”
“To keep you eager to fight. And take enormous risks.”
She sniffed and looked at his sphere, her hopes gone. “Wait, if this is true, why did you want to follow me?”
He looked at the sphere as well. “You’re a fantastic fighter with an enormously high kill count, and yet you still haven’t gotten a scar.”
She waited, curious now.
“I don’t belong here, but I’m going to take this as a chance to test my devices. I need someone who’s exceptionally good without being suicidal, someone whose abilities I can count on so I don’t have to focus on more than the tech. It’s not three times the pay and a life of peace,” he smirked briefly, “but you and I might change this war into something that can end without destroying most of us. What do you say?”
Poison. Lies. No hope. She scoffed and turned away, a smile starting to form. “You coming? We’ve got some non-scarring demon killing to do.”
Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear what you thought of this story in the comments below.
And don’t forget to check out the other stories in the blog hop! We have some great writers here!
April Storytime Blog Hop Participants
Royal Assassin by Vanessa Finaughty
The Big Bad Wolf and the Easter Hare by Katharina Gerlach
Earthquake Aftermath by Bill Bush
The Gynnos Seeker Project by Juneta Key
Cursed by Barbara Lund
A Different Kind of Raise by Amy Keeley
Night At The Museum by Vanessa Wells
Flowers For Angela by Curtis Phills
Ninea by Chris Makowski
Archive by Gina Fabio