Reloading, Ned fired two more arrows in quick succession. His aim was pure and true as warriors fell. A Malaxian moved in to attack the lone swordsman. Jorrin defended with his sword and, leaning in low, caught a warrior with a dagger. The soldier collapsed as the swordsman launched a darting attack. Ned stood with his bow pointing directly at Kroll. But, determined to help out, adjusted his aim and the arrow hit the man fighting his father. The warrior sunk to his knees and Jorrin pushed him aside.
A huge warrior saw Ned and broke away wielding an axe. He charged at the boy screaming a blood-curdling war cry. Skar ran forward to protect Ned. With the heart of a lion, the little dog jumped at the soldier and bit his leg. Her teeth sunk in and he shouted in pain. Skar let go and stood her ground with a snarl and bared teeth. But she was mercilessly kicked aside and lay in the grass whimpering.
A surge of anger rushed through Ned. With adrenaline pulsing, he gritted his teeth and dropped the bow. Drawing a dagger and short sword at the same time, he ran forward. The Malaxian sprinted toward him. As they were about to meet, Ned slid on the wet grass, feet forward. He sliced the man’s calf with his dagger, but the warrior’s knee crashed into Ned’s temple. Pain flashed though his head and he came to a halt with eyes closed. The warrior hobbled toward Ned and raised his sword. Ned opened his eyes and saw the man above. Looking at his hand, he swung the short sword across and cut into his enemy’s ankle. The man fell to the boy’s side. Ned struggled upright and plunged his sword into the soldier’s chest.