by D.S. Wynne and Doc Quantum
Meanwhile, Celia, Drusilla and Athena Dare had been teleported to a region on the island that was known to have more dangerous wildlife roaming about. Why was this the case? Since Athena would be supervising, the two girls would be challenged more so than the other candidates.
“Are we there yet?” asked Drusilla.
“Yeah, when are we going to make camp?” asked Celia.
“Soon, girls,” Athena responded. “Now, remember: I am evaluating you two on your resourcefulness. So, the more I am involved, the less points I’ll reward. Understand?”
“Yes,” the two said in unison.
“Good. Now, let’s continue on our way.”
As a world-traveling adventuress, Athena Dare was accustomed to traps being sprung at any given moment. However, her being on New Aretias Isle gave her the luxury to relax her guard a bit. It was too bad she did so, for she and her charges were being watched.
“Yesss. The gods had made sure that you and your Amazons, my pretty, would be hard to locate. It took much… influence in the demon world for me to find you. Now that I have, it’s time for you to die.”
A wickedly clawed hand pointed at a seemingly harmless lizard. Dark energy shot out of the hand and into the lizard. Slowly, and still unseen by the trio, the lizard began to mutate. Soon, it grew into an eight-foot lizard-thing with huge claws. It then turned to its mistress.
“Excellent, my lovely. Now go kill the little princess.”
Once the trio had arrived at their designated spot, camp was made. Athena began writing in her notebook, while Celia and Drusilla went out for food and firewood. As she wrote down her thoughts, she realized that something wasn’t right. Then, all of a sudden, Athena got up and spun around. Standing before her was a demoness. The creature radiated evil as well as an exotic beauty. Getting into a battle stance, Athena confronted the creature.
“Who are you!?” declared Athena. “State your business!”
Smirking, the demoness simply glared at her. “Who am I? Why, the name is Blaze, and I have come to kill Celia.”
“Not if I can help it, witch. I’ll take you down before you harm her!”
“My, my. You want to take me on? Anytime, dearie.” Pausing for a moment, Blaze continued. “Oh, by the way, I sent a lizard-thing after young Celia. I would hate to see you go after me at the expense of little sis.”
“What?! Damn you!” With that, Athena took off to where Celia and Drusilla were as fast as lightning.
“Checkmate,” Blaze said evilly.
Celia liked Drusilla very much. Out of all the girls on the island, she was the one who treated the princess like any other person. She didn’t think that her life would be as good if Drusilla wasn’t her best friend.
Since Celia was a bit squeamish about hunting game, she allowed Drusilla to get food while she went out for firewood. She hadn’t gone very far when she heard a large growl. Turning toward the sound, Celia was shocked to see a huge lizard-like creature. Her rudimentary warrior instincts kicked in and sized up the situation. Just as she got herself into a battle stance with her staff, the lizard-monster attacked.
Athena was mad at herself for not being aware of Blaze’s presence earlier. As she chastised herself, she was quickly gaining more momentum. Athena was her mother’s daughter, and was thus as athletic and fast as Lysippe had been at her age. She would be damned if she made another mistake.
Celia was deftly dodging the creature’s blows. She knew that her staff was useless against the monster. She thus used it to vault and dodge the creature. Whoa, Celia thought to herself, it almost got me. I don’t know how long I can continue to dodge it!
Suddenly, something slammed straight into the monster. Gathering her wits, Celia saw what had struck the creature. It was Athena Dare.
“Run, Cee!” Athena yelled. “Find Dru and get the hell out of here!”
“What about you?!” Celia asked frantically.
“Don’t worry! I do this all the time. Now go!”
Not needing any further prodding, Celia set out to find Drusilla. She was unaware that Blaze the demoness was waiting to strike.
Meanwhile, Promethea was still overwhelmed by the revelation that she was not the daughter of Lysippe but actually her granddaughter, being the daughter of Lysippe’s second daughter Thermodosa. Lysippe also told her that Athena did not know of her true origins, though that aspect would soon change. However, at the moment Promethea was wondering why Lysippe was being cryptic when she said that Celia’s destiny was at hand, and why she would have to leave the island soon.
Celia ran to the last place she saw Drusilla. As soon as she found her, Celia hoped that they could find a way to help Athena. Even though Athena told her to run away, she refused to let anything happen to her. After all, she was an Amazon princess. A few moments later, she saw Drusilla cleaning game. Her best friend looked up and wondered why Celia looked frightened.
“Dru! You’ve got to come with me! There’s a monster attacking Thena!”
“What?! How?” asked Drusilla.
“No time to explain! Let’s go!”
Meanwhile, the battle between Athena Dare and the monster was heating up. Already, Athena had cuts and bruises on her body. Thankfully, the creature was just as equally wounded. Still, Athena rather wanted to end this fight quickly. Athena gave the creature a double-axe handle move in an upswing fashion, and the monster felt a tremendous blow to its head as it sailed into the air. It then landed at a distance away as the impact registered a sickening thud. Athena could only a take a moment of rest before the creature got up again. Why can’t you stay down? Athena thought to herself.
Celia and Drusilla crept back to where Athena’s battle was taken place. While they knew that Athena was a skilled warrior, they weren’t sure if she could take the creature down.
“We’ve got to do something, Dru!” whispered Celia. We’ve just got to!”
“Yes,” Drusilla said calmly. “We must.”
While Celia’s attention was on the battle, she failed to notice that “Drusilla” was changing form. Within moments, Blaze was back to her original self.
“Yesss, this will be sooo easy,” said the demoness as she raised her clawed hand. “Now you die, my prett — ooof!” exclaimed Blaze.
Celia had sense something somewhat off when she ran into Drusilla, but she had been too preoccupied to give this impostor some thought. Luckily for her, Blaze had made the mistake of underestimating Celia’s level of Amazon training, as demonstrated when she rear-kicked the demoness.
“You will pay for that, you little brat!” yelled Blaze.
“Who are you?!” responded Celia.
“My name is Blaze, but you can call me death!” Blaze said as she lashed out with her dark powers.
Celia deftly dodged the blast. She then bounced in the air, rolled while screaming a warrior’s cry, and landed a kick in Blaze’s face. After Celia stepped back away, she moved her body into a battle stance.
Wow, Celia thought to herself. That actually worked. I’m going to thank Ursula later for the extra training. Turning her attention to the demoness, Celia focused her latent warrior instincts.
“You can either tell me why you’re doing this, or you can get another foot in your face!”
Slowly getting up, Blaze merely smiled. “Why? You mean you don’t know of your impending destiny? So. Your ‘mother’ never told you of your origins? How quaint.” Pretending to evoke empathy, Blaze continued. “I suppose that Lysippe never revealed that you are nothing more than a weapon to be molded and harnessed in a much larger game.”
“Wha-what do you mean?” Celia asked as her resolve faltered.
“Think about it: why would the queen of the Amazons adopt an orphan girl, when she has already had three other children? More specifically, why you?”
“I don’t know,” whispered Celia.
“What was that, dearie?”
“I don’t know!”
“Well, I do. As a matter of fact, I am willing to forget killing you. Instead, I’ll tell you everything, as well as make my lizard-demon go away, but only if you come with me. I may be many things, but a bargain is the one thing we of the dark world hold sacred. What do you say?”
Celia thought for a moment about what Blaze had said. If she was nothing but a tool in some proverbial chess game, then everything in her life was a lie. Or was it? Celia remembered how much time Lysippe had spent with her in many aspects of childhood. In spite of what Celia was feeling now, she couldn’t dismiss the feelings that those memories had invoked. Celia had enough faith in her mother to give the queen the benefit of a doubt. Whether the demoness was telling the truth or not was beside the point. The real point was whether or not she cared enough for her mother to at least hear her out. With that in mind, Celia gave her answer.
“No. My mother raised me to be an Amazon princess. I will not betray all that was instilled in me. If I have been betrayed in some manner, I will deal with it. For now, I will deal with you.”
“That wasn’t a very smart response. Oh, well. No one can say that I was never fair.” With that, Blaze raised her hands to make the killing blow. Unfortunately, at the range she was to Celia, the demoness would not miss.