Chapter 38 - Confrontation

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FYI: Do not google: 'black eyes' right before bed. You won't sleep well. I value my readers, so I didn't use them for a picture.

Safe to say we are now at the most critical chapters of the entire story, and since I don't have any time to write tomorrow, I decided to upload because frankly, I can use the feedback. Next chapter will hold a scene that I wrote a year ago, before I started publishing on Wattpad, so it  feels very special to have almost arrived there!

Cornelis

"I don't know if I believe you," Phelan said. He plucked at the bright fabric of his tunic with downcast eyes. Both of them faced the shed's battered door, ready to intercept Marcus and Phyllis, should they come out.

Phelan could never have convinced Phyllis back to his side. Because Phelan himself did not trust Cornelis anymore. He did not trust Cornelis not to have lied to her about what he saw inside that wagon. Which made the morning air feel colder than it was.

"The boy must be dead now. He was far beyond help, and she stopped healing him hours ago," Cornelis said.

"Assuming you are right, they are sitting by a corpse," Phelan replied. "Not very cosy. If we're supposed to help them, then why aren't we doing that?"

"Because Raghnall told us to wait until they came out. We can't afford to make Phyllis deplete her power any further," Cornelis answered.

"Because they will fight us. Forgive me, but if we wait until she has rested up, won't we be in trouble?"

Phelan made a rather good point.

"Marcus probably won't fight us. He knows he's outnumbered," Cornelis shook his head. "He's smarter than that. He'll hold her back."

"Then, once again, they are sitting by a corpse. Why can't we go in now?"

Phelan's voice made his head spin. His argument was perfectly reasonable. Cornelis rose to his feet, right in time to watch Fionnan run up to him from the village's gates. At once, he knew that all the plans he and Raghnall had discussed over the course of the night, had evaporated into smoke with the time they had left.

The sun was rising with orange hues, glinting round majestic clouds above the sharpened wooden logs of their village wall , and the wind ruffled through Fionnan's ginger hair. Cornelis took a moment to treasure the image, because possibly it was the last opportunity he had to do so. Since he had expected retaliation, he'd had the area scouted ever since Phyllis locked herself in.

"How many," he asked, when Fionnan finally caught up with him.

"At least 200," Fionnan replied, his voice shaking. "They're about half an hour's march away, we took an advance on them riding back. Mostly foot soldiers."

As many soldiers as Abhan counted inhabitants. Every toddler and newborn included. A fight, that without Phyllis, they would never win. So it should not take place.

He only needed to cross half the square to meet Raghnall, flanked by Connor and Ryann. Both of them were fully armed, Ryann's leather gear framed with a wolfskin cloak, while Connor wore the bearskin Cornelis had mocked on more than one occasion, long canine teeth dangling over the edge of his helmet. The bear's lifeless eyes levelled Cornelis's when Connor stopped in front of him. Regardless of the dramatic overkill, it was too heavy a garment for today's weather, and it wouldn't fend off five swords to one.

"Right," Cornelis said. "They know I did not fire that arrow, even if it was under my command. They saw Phyllis. If I offer both of us up, maybe you'll stand a chance."

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