Through the rain and increasing darkness of cloud cover, Chandler watched the beast. It was pursuing the soldiers that were retreating. None were attacking the beast outright anymore as Ace must have gotten the retreat order through. Glancing to the left, Chandler saw the portion of the army that had slipped under the wall. They were either incredibly brave or they hadn’t seen the beast.
Running toward the beast without a second thought, Chandler surprised himself when he heard himself growl. Closing in on the beast, he picked up a shield and flung it. Not waiting to see the shield made contact, he picked up a spear and threw that as well.
The beast looked up and dropped an armless soldier. Its eyes were a piercing red that sent a shiver down Chandler’s spine, despite the heat of the day. Without a warning, it charged.
Chandler whirled around and sprinted for the oncoming traffic of hole-emerging Lurians. He ran passed them and a few of them shouted, confused. Until the beast came into view and slammed soldier after soldier into the stone wall, still pursuing Chandler. He heard the cracking of bones against the wall as he glanced over his shoulder. Chandler had just turned to look forward when a sword lunged for his head. In an utter panic, Chandler upper body fell back while he legs continued forward. The blade missed by a hair. Chandler landed on the ground with a squelching sound as the ground sucked him down. He did not expect to still be alive. His reactions had never been that effective.
Splashing into the muddy soil, Chandler stumbled to his feet as quickly as possible, looking to stay ahead of the red-eyed beast. Another sword swipe never came as that soldier became yet another crunch against the wall.
Still running, Chandler frantically searched for the hole in the wall as red-eyes gained on him. Its attention was still zeroed in on the boy. How could he lose it? Chandler turned as he reached the end of the line of soldiers as it now turned to go out through the wall. If he ran any further he’d have no soldiers to distract the beast with.
Chandler stood, flexing his fingers as the beast rampaged through the Lurians, finally stopping briefly before the boy. Hopping forward, it swung a large army at his and he once again dove out of the way, landing it the mud. Chandler managed to get his head up as the beast approached. At least he had saved some of the retreating Ikalgans. He plopped his head back into the accepting mud and let the rain pour over his unresponsive body.
“Hey!” a voice shouted from near the entry through the wall. “We can’t leave him!”
One Lurian soldier broke formation and cautiously approached the beast. He turned and yelled to the men again, “Come on!” Three more soldiers joined him as they surrounded the beast. It ignored them, almost upon Chandler now. The man who yelled earlier charged the beast. The muddy boy willed the man to reach the beast in time before it’s red-eyes were the last thing Chandler saw.
The creature raised its arms before a sword went into its back. Red-eyes growled in a low tone before swiping at its attacker. Chandler’s savior was thrown several feet and lay unmoving in a puddle. The other three closed in and rushed the beast. It crushed one attacker beneath its four arms and twirled, looking around wildly as a sword plunged into its neck.
Chandler watched as the battle continued on. Now two soldiers facing off against the beast, its head creepily hanging on by a thread.
Behind the beast, the rest of the Lurian army retreated, likely not wanting to see if Ikalgans had more than one of these beasts.
Red-eyes charged one of the last two remaining soldiers. The man stood his ground and tried to sidestep the beast at the last moment. He successfully severed the beast’s head but was caught under the creature as it fell dying. The last soldier glanced around and upon seeing he was the last remaining one, took off through the hole without hesitation.
Chandler laid there for what seemed like an eternity before he attempted to rise. He successfully got to one knee before collapsing face first into the mud. It was in that position that Chandler waited to be found, conscious and exhausted with a face full of mud.