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19 v) As the grey creatures retreat

As the grey creatures retreat, their wide mouths turned down into frowns, dragging their wounded princess, Shyan’s power wavers. Her fists aloft in a pugilistic stance, she stares them down, but the tight balls of flesh are quaking.

Fassn and Cang move before her and she falls back beside Abia. With open palms she brushes away the pins sticking out of her skin and the little bone needles leave welts from where they leave her. With a stagger, she sits, her eyes glassy. The pins’ poison rushes through her, and with a grunt, she lays back on the ground, closing her eyes.

19 iv) The arc of the stone cuts gracefully through the dim light

The arc of the stone cuts gracefully through the dim light and clonks the princess in the head, leaving her stuttering through her chanting. The sense of tingling radiation fades from Abia’s mind as the princess wobbles. Old Mossy growls and runs to the princess’ side.

The other wide-mouthed creatures look panicked as Shyan lays into them. By now, several are groaning on the ground, clutching wounded arms and legs. Shyan begins to feel their poison moving through her body, and lets out a war cry of passion enough to loosen knees. She points an accusatory finger at Old Mossy and the princess. “Leave this place,” she growls, “or I’m coming for you next.”

Old Mossy growls again, but signals to some of his still-standing fellows to aid him in dragging the princess and their fallen friends away, while Shyan stands tall, breast heaving, beads of sweat breaking at her brow.