Michalina blew into a breathless tirade of excuses. “I saw two guys coming in, I mean, it’s not my fault, right? Nobody ever uses the northern gate, how was I supposed to know that the human expedition would arrive through here? And I left my post for like two seconds, I swear. And then I turned around, saw two threatening silhouettes, and I panicked. I panicked, alright? And I popped the shield. That was what you’ve trained us to do, see danger, pop the shield. But we were too close and I trapped myself in here with them. And, you know, it had been hours. And mister governor was feeling weird about contained spaces so I figured out I needed to calm him down, and one thing led to another…”
The lieutenant raised his hand and Michalina stopped talking.
She opened her mouth to say some more things, but he raised it a centimeter higher, ending her tirade.
“It’s alright, Michalina,” he said finally.
Only then did she pull in a breath. She noticed that the rest of the guards kept staring at her naked breasts bobbing up and down, so she covered herself up a bit. Not because she was ashamed, but so that the conversation could steer the way it was supposed to. She frowned at her lieutenant, tilting her head. “How, exactly…”
The lieutenant smiled. “There was been an assassination attempt against the human delegation.”
She put her hand over her mouth. “Oh, dear sunshine. Was anyone hurt?”
The lieutenant put his thumbs inside his belt and bobbed on the tips of his feet. “No, and that’s thanks to you, Michalina. You kept the humans safe while we thwarted the assassins.”
Peter pushed her aside and stepped closer to the shield. “Excuse me, how did they try to kill us?”
The lieutenant leaned closer and spoke a bit quieter. “It was poison, human.”
Peter instantly snapped back to the empty bottle.
“No, not drinks. It was in the food, the one that you were supposed to be served with,” the lieutenant said.
Aristides’ stomach growled very loudly at the mention of food. “Our food,” he breathed out, eyes wide.
“Okay. But how did you spot it?” Peter asked.
The lieutenant made a face and stared intently at his feet. “We… Uh, when you didn’t show, we fed your portions to the dogs, human.”
“Ohh…” Michalina whined. “Those poor doggies!”
Aristides went pale, and his stomach growled again.
Peter turned to Michalina and smiled warmly. “You saved us. By accident, but the result is the same.”
“Yes,” the lieutenant winced, sucking in air through his teeth. “It seems so.”
“Yay!” Michalina said and hopped in place, clapping wildly. It did funny things to her tits and curves, and everybody kept staring at her. “But, lieutenant, why didn’t our magic catch the poison?” she asked, beaming at them both and barely containing her joy.
The lieutenant growled. “It was aimed at humans specifically. If an elf ate it, it would just give him a stomach-ache or something similar. We will expand the parameters for next time.”
Aristides stepped forward. “Lieutenant, thank you for everything. I appreciate the protection that your elven magic has given me and my guard.” He raised his chin. “However, this has taken too long. I demand that you take down the shield, immediately.”
The lieutenant looked at Michalina. “As I’m sure you were informed, only the dawn can dispel it.”
Aristides stepped forward and was about to curse and spit his words, it was obvious he had no more patience. Peter was already in place to put his steady hand on the man’s shoulder and calm him down with some whispered words that Michalina couldn’t hear.
And then the first light of dawn shone through the gaps in the walls. And all three of them looked up and around, as the light refracted and the dawn shattered the shield into immaterial shards.
Michalina smiled wide. “Pretty,” she said.
Peter was staring at her. “Yes,” he said simply, his eyes steady on her.
The peace talks started immediately the following day. Security was tighter, more spells were woven to protect the foreign dignitaries and Michalina was assigned at the same damn post, guarding the northern gate. She got a new protector’s blade, and they didn’t let her grab any more booze from the kitchen, lieutenant’s orders.
She puffed her cheeks and looked ahead, bored, sober, and very tired.
After all, she hadn’t slept all night.
Her eyes were so heavy… What harm would it cause if she took a quick nap? She could lean over here, on the cool shade of the wall. She propped herself up on ledge and took a quick nap.
When she opened her eyes, the colours of the day had shifted. It was definitely much, much later than what she intended to sleep for.
And up ahead, from the northern pass, were two forms coming in close.
They were short. They were scary. And they were carrying axes as big as Michalina.
And then popped the shield.