SEVENTY FOUR

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RAVENNA LEAD VYSES and Lyth through the stone covered streets, toward the beach

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RAVENNA LEAD VYSES and Lyth through the stone covered streets, toward the beach. Each of them wore a dark cloak, with hoods to conceal their identities. Her two soldiers walked beside her, marching to the rhythm of her footfalls. The moment that her toes kissed the sand, her heart started to thud within her chest. This was it, she realized. Her next actions would completely change the course of her life.

She took a deep breath and focused.

Already, several guards had begun to gather around the edges of the beach, lingering within the shadows of the buildings situated behind them. She paid them no mind. Lifting her hands, she focused on the ocean, focused on the spell. Her fingers glowed a light blue color. Whispering the chosen words under her breath, she imagined a massive army of soldiers marching across the water, toward the beach, appearing just like her daggers.

The moment the sound of heavy, synchronized marching filled the air, Ravenna opened her eyes to admire her work.

"Only the guards," she ordered.

The soldiers burst into a sprint. Terrified shouts erupted from behind her and Ravenna turned, watching as guards rushed to meet the attack. From her spot on the beach, she could somewhat see the main market. The townsfolk scattered, the sounds of their terrified shrieks mingling with the heavy footfalls of Ravenna's soldiers. Most seemed to rush inside their homes, their shops. The one or two that bolted forward to help the guards were quickly subdued by her soldiers and taken further into the city to prevent harm.

The whole attack didn't take long.

In a few swift moments, the air fell silent. Armored bodies littered the streets. Ravenna looked to Vyses. He stepped forward, immediately disposing of the bodies, just as he'd done in the previous town. Once the guards had vanished, Ravenna snapped her fingers. Most of her army melted away. The few that remained began to patrol the streets and took post at the entrance to the city.

"Their mission is to protect the humans at all cost," Ravenna remarked as she and the others started toward the main street. "When we leave town, they should remain intact and function on their own accord, keeping to their mission. We shouldn't have to worry about them."

"We need to move closer to the Capitol," Vyses responded. "The more towns that we are able to liberate, the more that the king will be forced to respond. If we can get closer to the Capitol before he notices, we will have a better chance of bringing the kingdom against him."

"I agree," Ravenna said.

Ravenna's plan was fairly simple in theory. In order to create a rebellion against the king, she wanted to steal his own subjects, make them her own. She, Vyses, and their army would go from town to town, killing the guards. Her own soldiers would be left in their place. The goal was to get as close to the Capitol as possible, forcing the king to respond. Once she could get him on a battlefield, Ravenna would be able to take his crown and reform the guards herself.

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