New Friends, Old Enemies

Author EM Drosselmeyer

The underground tunnel rocked from another explosion, dust and pebbles shaking free from the roof at the fury of his assault. The woman merely sat in her stone chair and waited, listening as she could hear the fighting between a few of her minions and a man she knew outmatched them. As he got closer she could hear his frantic, furious tones as he cast spells far more potently than expected, and for a moment she worried he might collapse the entire complex in his eagerness. “Miiiiinaaaax!”

He was getting closer, and it brought a devilish grin to her lips. The doors were flung open as a bolt of pure energy smashed into them, ripping them from the hinges and she smiled, holding her hands up in a gesture of surrender. “Bravo, Grand Councilor…you have found me.”

“It is time to put an end to this, Minax…to show everyone once and for all that I am the one who should be seen as the strongest sorceror alive!”

“Oh, is it? Well I am sure you know what you are doing then. After all, you did catch me…even if it was your King who did all the heavy lifting for you. I guess they will be happy that one of his pawns came on his orders and caught me…no doubt using his plans and resources…”

Anon’s hands dropped almost imperceptibly as she spoke, but still crackled with magical energy. “What are you blathering about?! I am here, not Blackthorn! Not Dupre!”

Minax spread her hands in a conciliatory gesture. “Oh, yes, but of course…it seems my people have removed all your little councilors and witnesses. And when you do bring me in for a trial, you will have to hand me over to the king…alone, even the might of your Council of Mages cannot defy all the King’s horses and all the King’s men. You will know that it was you…but everyone else will see King Blackthorn as the one who has ended the threat of the Enchantress.”

Anon trembled with fury, and he let loose a sudden fireball that burst from his hands, flying towards Minax…and just over one of her shoulders, trailing heat past her face. “Silence! I will not stand for your lies!”

Minax now let a smile play over her lips. She noticed Shanty slipping into the room, that enchanted cutlass glittering in his hand, but gave a slight shake of her head to him. “What reason would I have to lie? Think for a moment Grand Councilor. You are smarter than they…but who will people believe? The King who saved the gargoyles and their cities…or the mage who has abandoned their task for the realm and plays host to Dupre’s mockery?”

The entire room trembled in his fury as he shouted wordlessly, a burst of unfocused magical energy pushing everything slightly away from him, and Minax quickly continued. “You do not have to let it be that way Anon! Not everyone is a fool. Not everyone thinks as they…and not everyone is out to help them. You could…do better for yourself, Grand Councilor.”

Minax went silent then, her eyes flicking over to Shanty for a moment…knowing that with as volatile as Anon was that this might very well end in a fight no matter what she said. Grand Councilor Anon clenched his left hand into a fist and seemed to be torn. Minax’s voice once more broke the tension. “I ran from you in Vesper because I recognized your power, Anon. I know what you are capable of, and I respect it…and I respect you. And we can force the others to as well. They would not come to your request before…so why bother continuing to help?”

Anon ran his gaze up and down her, and finally his arms relaxed, his hands coming down, only for him to suddenly appear next to her. “Just know, Minax, that if this is a trick of yours, I will bring your world crashing down around you. I am the one who has survived when the others perished…there is a reason for it.” A moment later he vanished from the room, and Minax looked to Shanty…and the two of them both grinned to the other.

“The enemy of my enemy…”