Ginger Beard cut through the underbrush with a swing of his dual axes. Princess portal was close behind followed by Storm Wizard and the Forest Hermit. Swashbuckler was off to the right, cloaked in shadow and gliding through the terrain. They had been fighting hollow for almost 2 hours, but thanks to Storm Wizard their injuries were nearly nonexistent. “What the h-auuuuugh!” Swashbuckler’s pained voice rang through the quiet forest.
“Jimmy?!” The princess called. Swashbuckler hated his real name, but she didn’t care right now. Ginger Beard charged forward cutting madly through trees to get to Jimmy, the back line heroes in close pursuit. They caught up to Jimmy, his body laying in the dirt with several arrows sticking out of his back.
“Arrows? But I don’t see any hollow so who attacked him?” Storm Wizard asked, mostly to himself, as he yanked out the arrows and cast his most powerful heal spell. The other had nicknamed it the Healvalanche. Ginger Beard, Princess Portal, and Forest Hermit were spread out in a defensive position with the injured Jimmy behind them. Storm Wizard finished casting Healvalanche.
Jimmy slowly pushed himself up and spat out a clump of dirt. He looked around and saw his friends then panicked. “Guys you need to run now! It’s a trap!” Ginger Beard had barley turned around and opened his mouth when hollow dropped from the trees.
Jimmy dove out of the way three hollow came down on top of where he was. Storm Wizard leapt onto a small storm of conjured clouds and began to rain lightning down on the poor fools who dared ambush them. Ginger Beard cut hollow after hollow in half while protecting Princess and Forest Hermit, while the former threw out exploding bouncy balls of death and latter cast magical shields. Oddly enough the hollow attacking the Princess felt different. There was a lack of mindless killing intent. She didn’t care at the time, it only made it easier to wipe them out. The fight was looking up, for a time.
Forest Hermit went down first, a hollow with a massive club sent him flying with a brutal swing of his club. He crashed through a tree, bark went flying everywhere. Ginger Beard went down next, while his swings had gotten faster and faster, the combined might of the injuries he had sustained brought him down. Before Storm Wizard could gather enough energy to bring his allies back into the fight, two hollow jumped down from above and smashed him into the dirt. Only Jimmy and Princess remained.
Jimmy called over his shoulder “Sophie run, I can’t hold them off much longer, I am not built for front line tanking you know that!”
“No! I’m not leaving my friends!” She spat. She began to cast with both hands, firing two spells at once every cast. Her efforts were futile. A dark bolt of eldritch energy slammed into her from behind. Soon after Jimmy the Swashbuckler was swiftly brought down by the hollow horde. The hollow holding Ginger Beard, Storm Wizard, Forest Hermit, and Jimmy forced them to look up. A cloaked figure had appeared. They gently picked up the Princess, treating her with the utmost care, and the Hollow let him. The Hollow let him.
“You put Sophie down you bastard!” Ginger Beard yelled.
“Kind of hypocritical, you calling someone else a bastard.” A soft female voice replied. The cloaked figure removed her hood. The woman was older than Sophie, maybe eight years her senior. Thirty-two to her Twenty-four.
“Evelyn?!” Ginger Beard gasped in horror. “Why are you working with the Hollow?!”
“That doesn’t really matter right now does it? What matters is I have what I came for.” She turned towards the Hollow. “When I leave, let them go.” A purple vortex opened into the air and Evelyn stepped into it, Princes Portal carried bridal style in her arms.
“No!” Ginger Beard screamed into the heavens.
At the base camp several months later, the heroes were sitting around a massive table. “Still no sign in the eastern forest?” War Blade asked.
“No nothing.” Feral Brute replied.
“We have to keep searching for her-” War Blade was cut off by the subject of their discussion being warped onto the table. Sophie had been returned.
“Medic!” Someone yelled. They all scrambled to get her to the medical tent. Several hours went by, Storm Wizard and the other healers looked over Sophie. They came out of the tent and faced the anxious crowd of heroes. Their expressions were grim.
“Externally she is fine…” One healer started, but he couldn’t bring himself to say what had happened.
“But what?” Jimmy the Swashbuckler asked.
“Her aspect… has been changed, it looks like the process was gradual, but we aren’t sure.”
“What do you mean her aspect has been changed?” Elder Mohawk demanded.
“She is a finesse hero now.” The crowd was stunned into silence by that revelation.