It caught up with me right before I reached the house. This time I really should have brought my sword. There weren’t exactly a lot of witnesses here. Instead, I struck upwards at it with my bare hands, felt its talons dig into me.
“Bruce!” I screamed, but I was completely entangled with it. The best I could say was that it was now on the ground.
And starting to melt and shift into the far more dangerous horse form. I knew I was in real, deep, trouble.
I shouldn’t have gone so far. And I should have known it was stupid. I thought I heard another caw from the direction of the house, but seriously, the crow hadn’t gone to get me help.
That would be ridiculous.
All I could do was try to keep it off me, breaking free as talons turned into hooves was easy, but its shoulder struck me and knocked me to the ground, the breath going out of me. I rolled to the side, wishing for a sword again, but then realizing it was a good thing I didn’t have one. If I killed it, we would have to wait for it to come back again before getting rid of it.
So, no, I couldn’t, but I also couldn’t run from it. There was no way I would stay ahead, so I tried dodging to the side, trying to make it turn tighter than the equine body could.
It snarled at me, showing fangs that looked as much filed as natural. But I’d managed to get some distance. I really hoped this could be heard from the house, because I wasn’t going to last long. My lungs already burned from exertion. Thea could have done it, but Thea seemed to have almost superhuman endurance.
Or maybe she did. As for me? I was just some girl. Only these idiots thought I was special. Whatever training I’d had, it wasn’t enough.
A hoof struck me in the shoulder and I went down, my vision dimming for a moment from the pain. It was all over. Killed by a stupid shapeshifter…
And then there was a rush of wind above me, the air flowing away from me and towards the kelpie, exploding inwards, and then it was gone.
I couldn’t get up right away. I lay there, my shoulder throbbing, praying it hadn’t crushed the joint or anything permanent like that.
There was water and iron filings mingled in my hair, but the spell that had banished the kelpie had had no effect on me.
Of course not.
I was just…