Chapter Twenty One
Franklin had decided to trade speed for protection. He stopped fleeing long enough to get the crossbow cocked and the silver bolt loaded. Then he found a way to carry it mostly on his left arm with his right hand grasped around the release mechanism. His right arm wasn’t strong enough to bear any of the weight and he had to carry it at an awkward angle, but at least he felt more secure. The way he figured it, if one of the weir’s got his scent there was no way he would be able to outrun it. Better to be prepared for a surprise attack.
It had been a while since he had heard the pack howling, and he had allowed himself to return to what he was pretty sure was a main trail toward Phoentown, but he was still very alone and very vulnerable. This heightened sense of danger was the only thing allowing him to get a shot off at the weirwolf when it jumped.
It had overtaken him before he had even fully known what it was. Larger than any of the weirs he had yet seen, it had rushed so silently over the terrain he barely had time to release the bolt even prepared as he was. At nearly point blank range it tore right through the monster’s hindquarters to get lost in the mountainside beyond.
As the beast roared in anger and skidded to a stop, Franklin hurled the, now useless, crossbow at its face. With the speed it had exhibited so far, Franklin was surprised he managed to get the scimitar ready before it charged. However, it seemed distracted and kept glancing in the direction it had come from. Maybe waiting for the rest of its pack?
Franklin put his back to a tree and held the sword between them. He would only get one chance when it attacked. The beast paced back and forth in front of Franklin, looking him over appraisingly. Any other creature would have been crippled by the wound Franklin had delivered, but the weir treated it like a moderate annoyance to be worked out of it’s system. Then, as if deciding he wasn’t worth the time or effort, it turned away from Franklin with a flare of nostrils and continued North, only slightly slower than it had been running when it appeared.
Seconds later the large barbarian from the caravan came crashing through the brush on the creature’s trail, brandishing his glowing sword with both hands.
Franklin mutely pointed North and watched Simon race off as his mind swapped predator and prey labels for the second time in three days.