While Matticus had Goldfish distracted with his attack, Revis ran to retrieve his thrown daggers. Just as he closed his hand around the hilt of his second one, he heard Matticus cry out. He looked over in time to see the Jester slump to the ground. Whatever had happened between the two also threw Goldfish backwards.
She landed hard on her back, the air blasted from her lungs. Revis rushed towards her. He knew he had to get to her before she recovered and put her defenses back up. The Knight swung both daggers at her head, hilt first, hoping to knock the sorceress out.
By this time, Goldfish had regained enough of her wits to see the attacks coming and tried to block it. One dagger was deflected enough that it missed her head, although the blade did cut her arm. The other dagger’s hilt struck her just above the temple, but her blocking attempt had slowed the strike down enough that it didn’t render her unconscious.
Just as Revis had started swinging his daggers a second time, the sorceress spoke a word that sounded like gibberish to the Knight. Suddenly, he was flung away from her by some unseen force. He hit the floor just before he hit the wall and managed to roll enough to avoid some of the damage.
The two combatants rose from the ground at the same time, eyeing each other all the way.
“You are no match for me, Knight,” Goldfish spat. The pain in her head quickly faded away and the wound on her arm closed as her magic returned her to full health, and speaking the necessary words, she rose from the ground to hover menacingly over the Jester. “Together, you might have managed to get the better of me. Alone you have no chance. Give up now and I’ll let your family live.”
Revis seethed, but said nothing. His eyes darted around the room looking for something, anything, he could use to his advantage. He needed to find a weakness in her defenses. He needed another distraction to catch her off guard so he could strike again. But, his rational thoughts were fading as anger at the threat to his family slowly consumed him.
Time was running short. He knew that Goldfish was probably already working on casting the spell that would either take his or Matticus’ life. Thinking of the Jester he let his eyes fall to where Matticus lay on the ground, where he was surprised to see the Jester’s eyes open. When their gazes met, Matticus winked at him, and Revis found his smile. His anger cooled and his mind cleared.
“I think I’m more than capable of defeating you, merwitch.”
“Let’s put that claim to the test,” she laughed. Without taking her eyes off of Revis, she waved her hand in the Jester’s direction. Matticus slowly began to rise off the ground. After he was levitating a couple of feet in the air, Goldfish snapped her hand towards the doorway. The Jester flew out into the hall, the doors closing behind him.
Once his feet were on solid ground again, Matticus ran to the door. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get the doors to budge. Cursing, he turned around, trying to figure out a way to get back into the room.
As he did, the Jester saw that he was not the only one that the sorceress threw out into the hall. Jaded was right in front of him. She was awake now, and, from the look on her face, she was very angry.
“When I first started helping Goldfish,” Jaded began, “I was only doing it because she told me to. Now that I’ve tasted some of the power she wields, I refuse to go back to the way it was. If you want your Kingdom back, you’ll have to take it from me. And, this time, you don’t have your Knight to save you.”
Matticus drew his sword, spoke the words to spark its flame to life, and replied coolly, “And you don’t have the sorceress protecting you this time either. You are no longer a vampire. You are mortal. I am not as clueless as I usually appear. Do you think the Queen would have married me otherwise? Do you think the people of the Kingdom would have put up with me if I was nothing but silliness all the time? Think on that very carefully, Jaded.”
In response she snarled and glared, but she knew that the menace behind those actions was gone. She lacked the strength of her prior vampire self. Her fangs no longer held any threat or power. The realization that she probably she turn and walk away incensed her into action. In blind fury she rushed the Jester, her hands reaching for his neck, wanting to tear him limb from limb like she could have done easily before the Knight’s potion “cured” her.
The Jester saw her coming and had plenty of time to end her, but he took pity on her instead. He knew that they had changed her life irrevocably. They hadn’t meant to, and she might have deserved some sort of punishment for her role in the plot to overthrow the kingdom, but he wasn’t sure taking her life was the right thing to do. As she reached him, Matticus sidestepped and used his right boot to trip Jaded. Her momentum sent her sprawling head first into the magically locked door, once again, knocking her unconscious.
Time was not on his side. He knew he needed to act quickly. Looking around, he tried to find something to tie Jaded up with. They couldn’t afford for her to keep causing them problems. After extinguishing the blade, he used his sword to cut strips out of a nearby rug. It was one he had never liked anyways, so he didn’t feel too bad about it when he used the strips to bind Jaded’s hands and feet together. Then, remembering that Goldfish had said that Jaded possessed magic items, he took all of the jewelry off her and stuffed it into one of his pouches.
Now, all he had to do was find a way back into the throne room. All of the doors were magically locked, but there was still one hope. Right after his wedding to the Queen, she had shown him a secret passageway that connected to it. She had shown it to him in case they were ever attacked there. It was meant to be used as an escape tunnel. He was using it invade the room.
Matticus ran down the hallway that would take him to the secret passage. Because he was rushing, he neglected to keep his noise to a minimum. It ended up almost costing him when two sparkly vampire guards came around a corner in front of him. They were poorly trained as swordsmen, however, and the Jester cut them down so quickly that he barely had to break stride. Making his way through corridors that only he and his wife knew, he quickly came to the doorway that led to his destination. First, he uncovered an eyehole and looked to see what was happening in the room.
From what he could see, it appeared that Goldfish and Revis had yet to start fighting. She remained hovering by the throne and the knight hadn’t moved either. They seemed to be waiting for the other to make the first move and perhaps be open for a counter-attack. Beads of sweat appeared on both their brows as the seconds passed. It was look on his Knight’s face that finally clued Matticus in to the reality that the fighting had already begun. Goldfish must have engaged Revis in some sort of mental battle and the Knight was slowly losing. His features were growing pained. His face had drained of color.
As quietly, and as quickly as he could, the Jester eased open the hidden doorway and slipped into the throne room. He needed to sneak up behind Goldfish and knock her unconscious before she noticed him. He hoped that Revis could hold out long enough for him to cross the space. He took his first step into the room, the sorceresses eyes snapped onto him with red rage, and Revis cried out in pain.