I took another glance at the horde of Magicals moving toward the kingdom and ordered Afakan to throw a ball of fire at the clouds above, hoping it would be enough warning for the riders. I then closed my eyes and focused my thoughts on the enemy’s ship before my Magical did as I wanted.
When I opened my eyes again, we were on the ship’s tail, Afakan breathing fire into everything behind it while the ship maneuvered left to right then up and down.
The ship was larger and much heavier, and soon we were too close for the fire to hit, but as we closed in, they deployed their weapon system and began firing at us.
Afakan was experienced at flying under extreme circumstances and able to avoid the bullets, but he couldn’t breathe fire and maneuver at the same time. I took a deep breath and cleared my mind, leaving him in control. I believed if his thoughts came from his own mind, his reflexes would be faster than my intuition, and he knew what I wanted anyway.
Free of my orders, Afakan descended below the ship’s level and closed in on them, firing at them from below. After his third attack, a chain of explosions began inside the ship as it started to descend toward the ground.
I thought I had a moment to finally breathe, knowing I was able to get rid of the thing terrorizing my kingdom, but before I could fill my lungs, I heard the wind break next to my ears as bigger metal bullets cut through the air. I shifted my gaze to the land below us and saw several mounted cannons aimed our way. At that moment, I realized, we were inside the kingdom of Wotan.
Before I formulated the thought to tell my Magical to escape, he turned on his own, but halfway through, I felt a big shake below my feet, followed by Afakan’s cry. His body did a sudden descend of several feet in the air as I began to feel immense pain in my leg. Nothing had happened to me, but I was channeling how he felt.
Afakan tried to gain control as his energy was quickly fading. After several tense moments he was able to muscle through and continued flying until another shake, and a louder cry forced us into a rapid descent. This time, I screamed as well, as the pain was too much to bear.
As I felt my left arm go numb, I looked at Afakan’s wing and saw a large hole in it. I shifted my gaze below us and saw we were headed straight for a line of trees. I leaned forward, connecting my breast and cheeks with Afakan’s back as I gently petted him with my good hand.
“Don’t worry, my friend. We will make it out of this and play in the ocean again, and next time I will join you in the water instead of watching from the side.”
My tears carved a path down my cheeks and reached Afakan’s hard skin. He must have felt them as he gathered all of his power and forced his wings to move, using the treetops as support to push his body further and further. I could see the end of the tree line and hope seeped into my heart. We were almost out of the kingdom.
Then all of a sudden we fell. His wings were no longer able to carry him, and the pain was too much to continue. As we approached the ground, I quickly grabbed one of the tree branches and waited for my body to settle before I let go and safely landed on my feet.
I hurried to Afakan who was clearly in much more pain than I was, and even with our channeled feelings, I don’t think I could fully understand how bad he felt.
I placed my hands below his chin and brought my head to rest on his skin. “Are you okay buddy? Can you walk?”
Afakan tried to get back on his feet, but as he took his first step, he fell back to the ground. My tears streamed down my cheeks again as my brain remained vacant of any idea as to how to help him. Only Afakan could help himself now, but that didn’t mean I was going to give up on him, certainly not now, and not ever.
A few times Afakan tried again to stand, but with such a large wound in his leg, he couldn’t move. I clenched my fists wanting to scream at the void, but a mechanical voice grabbed my attention.
I climbed a tree nearby for a better view, and that’s when I saw it. Four of Wotan’s fighter robots were approaching, as high as the large trees, with their fighters visible inside the robots’ fake heads.
I quickly climbed down, calculating my options. I could either leave Afakan and go seek help from my kingdom to get him back as I knew the Wotan’s would capture him, hide and watch from afar to see where they would take him, or stand my ground, hoping they would keep us alive and I could be close enough to control Afakan once he was better, so we could escape together.
I had only seconds to decide even though I knew that not one of my plans were foolproof.