Rose cried against Unfettered Skyâ€™s shoulder, possibly the first she had been able to cry for a long time. Sky pat her back lightly, and tried not to wince when Rose would accidentally touch one of the healing briar wounds on her own back, from the night before. All the while, Sky thought about what had happened in the town and what had happened beneath the Inn.
Faint sounds came from outside, murmurs and shuffling. â€œStay here,â€ Sky said to Rose as she pulled away from the young woman and stood back up. She drew her sword again, and pushed the chair out from in front of the door with her other hand. As the door opened, Sky saw that a crowd had formed on the mist-shrouded muddy street. The villagers were gathered around the door, blocking any path away.
Sky closed the door behind herself, and shoved townsfolk out of her way as she walked back toward the blacksmith. The mob followed her silently. Sky kept the corner of her eye on them, but focused her attention on the smith. He had gone back to shaping something from metal, as though everything were normal. As Sky approached, he looked up at her. â€œSomething I can help you with?â€ he asked casually.
The point of Skyâ€™s sword almost touched his eye. He didnâ€™t even flinch. â€œOkay Lion, I know what happened. Care to tell your side?â€ Sky growled.
He laughed. He opened his mouth as if to speak, but the words came out without his mouth moving more than that. The voice was low and rasping. â€œHe does not go by that name anymore,â€ the voice coming from the smithâ€™s mouth hissed. â€œSpeak only to me.â€ Sky stared for several seconds at the open-mouthed Lion, caught rather off guard. â€œGet her out of here!â€ the voice growled at the crowd of villagers on the street.
Dozens of townsfolk shambled over to Sky and grabbed at her arms and the back of her shirt. They began dragging her back, out of the smithâ€™s open forge-room. Still somewhat surprised, Sky didnâ€™t resist at first. Then, she regained her senses and pulled free of the villagers. â€œWhat are you?!â€ she hollered at what used to be Lion. The voice inside laughed, a grating sound.
The villagers grabbed Sky again, and tried to pull her away. The shell of Lion closed its mouth and turned back toward metal shaping. Everything Sky had heard and seen told her that something had to be done, but she couldnâ€™t escape the feeling that these were still people somewhere inside. Skyâ€™s heart clashed between slaying the unholy creatures, and saving the unfortunate people of this town. The conflict quickly tore her up inside.
Anger won. With superhuman might and a fierce howl of rage, Sky threw the villagers off herself. Her vision went red. If these people didnâ€™t want to be helped, if they wanted to do everything in their power to stop her or slow her down, then to the hells with them! For what seemed to be a very long instant of blurred shapes, red sight, and blood pumping like fire, Sky lost track of the world.
Her heart slowed down, and her vision cleared from its haze. Sweat rolled down Skyâ€™s face and dripped from her chin. Her arms shook slightly. As her thoughts arranged themselves, Sky looked around. Her blade was covered from hilt to tip in blood, still dripping for how thick it was. She was standing just outside the smithy. The streets around her were covered in at least a dozen bodies. Mud and blood mixed around the corpses of villagers. Behind her, Lionâ€™s body was half through the wooden wall of the smith-shop. Beyond that, the heavy fog obscured the rest of the town.
Sky stared long and hard at the destruction. A feeling crept up from within her. Standing amidst the carnage, her limbs slowly relaxing and her mind feeling clearer than it had since she arrived, Sky realized what the feeling was.
She felt good.