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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

officer and rushed around the side. Unfortunately, he met the warrior's armoured knee
with his chest, propelling him into the wall.
Discarding subtlety, Aiden picked himself up and lunged at the mercenary, crashing
directly into him and bowling both of them over. Aiden slammed his sword hilt into the
helmeted head with a resounding 'clang', but it seemed to have minimal impact on the
man who responded by shoving his elbow into Aiden's head.
The mercenary then punched him in the gut and threw him to one side. Aiden‟s
sword went skittering across the polished floorboards and under the bed. His adrenaline
pumping, Aiden tried to scramble away from the warrior but one of his legs was held and
he couldn't get away. In desperation, he reached over his shoulder and grabbed the handle
of his sceptre, pulling it out and swinging it at his opponent. The weapon impacted on top
of his opponent‟s head, connecting with his helm and leaving a sizeable dent in it.
The mercenary staggered backwards for a moment until he regained his footing, but
it gave Aiden the precious time he needed to get back on his feet. Holding the sceptre
before him, he spoke the command word and a brilliant shaft of light sprang forth, slicing
the armour protecting the officer and burning the flesh beneath.
Roaring with pain, the mercenary charged, catching Aiden completely off guard.
They crashed into the wardrobe, demolishing it as both wrestled for supremacy. Aiden
was momentarily winded, and tried to push the warrior out of the way but he was held
fast by a gauntleted hand.
Panic started to set in as the young man knew he was completely outmatched by this
opponent, so he started swinging the sceptre wildly, hoping to do enough damage to
finish off his implacable foe.
Aiden was in mid-swing when the mercenary suddenly stiffened, giving him hope
that he'd actually done some damage to the warrior, then watched in disbelief as the
mercenary suddenly dropped to the ground, revealing the rather battered form of Criosa
standing behind him with a sharp carving knife in one hand.
Aiden leaned back against the wall and slid to the ground, his breath coming in short
gasps as he was flooded with relief. O ut in the hallway, he could hear the sounds of battle
dying down, and he could only hope his companions had managed to survive.
He sat there, exhausted, looking up at the young lady who was trembling like a leaf.
She dropped the small knife which clattered off the breastplate of their fallen enemy. The
bodice of her elegant blue dress was torn, and the skirt was in tatters. Her silky blond,
shoulder- length hair was unkempt and matted with blood.
“N ice work with that knife, Princess Criosa?” Aiden asked, seeking confirmation.
The young lady nodded silently, her sight still focused on the body of her assailant.
“Are you injured, Highness?” Aiden continued when no other reply was
“I'm... yes, a little,” she replied in a shaking voice. “I am more concerned about you
at the moment, sir. Your chest...” Aiden looked down and saw that his breastplate had
been torn open and his shirt was soaked with blood. Strangely, he didn't feel any pain,
probably because the adrenaline from the fight was still pumping through his veins.
“Yes, I'm sure that's going to hurt in a few minutes,” he remarked distantly. “I think
we'd both better have our wounds looked at.”
“O h it's nothing, I assure you,” she gushed, trying to fix up her dress in places where
it was a little too revealing. The entire skirt had been ripped at some point, leaving tatters