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The Roses of Death

by MogMaster


Chapter 6


He urged his legs on.

"You have to go faster."

The sound of hooves wasn't far behind.

He ran with breathless laughter, brown hair falling into his eyes. He knew his brother was chasing him, he didn't know what he would do if he caught him. He didn't remember what he had done, but he was certain it was some clever trick. And now he ran. Over the rise in the path he saw the bridge, it was a lovely arched bridge, and around it were beautiful flowers. In the pool below it a second blurry bridge was reflecting back. And the flowers, they were everywhere. Red roses, hundreds of them.

The sound of hooves came closer; he could almost feel them beyond the turn in the path now.


He urged his legs on again.

He came to the bridge, and as he reached the crest he saw the woods beyond it.

"Now or never."

With all his force behind him as he reached the peak of the bridge, he jumped. Then he was flying, over the path, over the bridge, he reached, reached....caught it. He caught the branch on the edge of the woods, and swung himself into the tree. Up in the branches he was safe now. As his brother drew up beneath the tree he cursed. The tracks had ended on the dirt path before the wooden bridge, so when they didn't reappear on the other side he had succeeded in driving his brother insane. This wasn't the first time either. Every time he ran this happened, and every time he managed to drive Galvan crazy. He giggled silently at his own cunning, only then....a bit of pollen went up his nose.

"No..not now!"

He desperately pleaded with his body.

He felt the sneeze, tried to hold it, then it came.


Startled he fell out of the tree, he was falling, falling forever. The ground was far below him. For an eternity and a half he fell. He landed on his feet, in a different time and place.

"No Siegfried. You can't fall. It does not matter if you land on your feet, you cannot fall, or lose your feet even. For one misstep means death more often than not. Yes, that's the way. Good."

He felt himself slide into the stance. Left foot behind him, right foot in front, and sword held with both hands, pointed at his opponent.

"Now remember. The battle is all but won if you look. Always look. Do not worry what he is doing, but watch how he acts, notice all the weaknesses, nicks on his blade, flaws in his stance, look with your eyes, look with your fingers, look with your nose, look with your ears."

The old man drew his sword. In truth they were blunted so they wouldn't hurt anyone, though the bruises would be fresh the next day.

He pushed in.

Siegfried blocked, and then danced aside as he lunged.

"Good, good, now hit me!"

Siegfried pushed the attack back. Left, right, up, left, right, down. No matter where he aimed, the little old man was gone the next second.

"Hit me, boy! I am just an old man, no?"

The little old man threw back his head and laughed.

Siegfried hunched over breathless, but as the laughter hit him, the rage sent him back into the attack.

Left, right, left, high, high, thrust. The little man danced aside or turned each blow almost lazily.

In his rage he began to hack him.
"Why," he slammed his sword down and moved forward only to be denied.
"Can't," he bulled forward, only to be tripped. He staggered before turning back and charging.
"I hit you?!" He pulled his blade back over his head, as he charged forward he brought it down on small mans head; or would have if it were still there.

At the last second the old man stepped to the side, and whipped his sword around, hitting Siegfried in the back of his head. With a grunt he fell to the ground, his head spinning. The old man sighed.

"I warned you, Siegfried. You must learn to watch, I dropped hints at every turn where I would be the next second."

His voice drifted off.

"I warned you......"

Reality swam back to him, and he opened his eyes and looked up at the blue sky.
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2020 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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