“You dare?” Snow White whispered, “You DARE speak to me in such a way?!” The woman’s voice rose several octaves as she stood there, trembling with what was surely rage as her dark eyes widened. Merida and Mulan tensed, as did Red, while the demonic things at Snow White’s command gnashed their teeth wildly and looked ready to attack at any moment.

But in the next instant Snow had calmed herself, closing her eyes for a brief moment as she placed one hand to her face, muttering something within the palm of her hand that none of them could hear. It was only a moment later however that she opened her eyes and focused upon them with an intensity that had Red wanting to take a step back. She resisted, but just barely.

“Be gone from this place,” Snow said in a stern, unyielding voice, “now, before I, I…”

Snow trailed off, frowning as she turned away, as though suffering a minor headache at that moment.

“Snow,” Red began.

“GO AWAY!” Snow roared at them as she turned back, her face a hideous mask of rage as the normally white skin had suddenly taken on a strange, striated appearance as dark veins had run rampant over her features, staining her skin an inky black as her fingers had turned into hooked, gnarly claws. The dwarves fled from her at that moment, too frightened to do much else as the power of Snow’s voice thrust all three women backward, knocking Red and Mulan to the ground as Merida dug in her heels and hunkered down, disregarding the brunt of the effect as she winced at the sound.

As they cleared the front gate it was suddenly lowered with a resounding boom, sealing the castle away once more as the sound of wings flapping and the cries of the things that had sat perched atop various rocks along the pathway reached their ears.

“Up!” Merida yelled, letting loose with an arrow as it sank home in the leathery neck of one of the creatures. The thing had come far too close for her liking and she’d decided to take action. Thankfully her aim was as good as ever and the arrow hit something vital as the beast fell like stone. It likely wasn’t dead yet but she wasn’t in the mood to go after it as several others just like it were coming closer with each moment wasted.

“Up now!” she scolded, nocking another arrow as she took aim. This arrow took another of the beasts high in the chest, but it remained in the air. Mulan and Red reached their feet in the next second, both of them drawing their weapons as they saw the beasts descending upon them. And just like that battle was joined.

(to be continued)

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