They were close behind her and she dared not slow. She stole a quick glance behind her. Nothing was there. But she knew better than to think that she was safe. She glanced to the side, looking for Ridley.
Katie looked back forward again and gasped. She skid to a stop at the end of a cliff. Her momentum was pulling her and the grass was wet. She slipped. Her feet gave out from under her and she painfully landed on her side. The slick grass caused her to slide forward with her momentum.
She twisted as she slipped, hoping to get a hand hold. There was nothing. A large rock, larger than her head, grazed the side her stomach. She reached for it and she got a hand into a groove. A small scream escaped her throat as she slid.
Her body fell beneath her. As her weight came upon her hand, it jerked it out of the groove. Her hand started slipping down the side of the rock. She grasped the rock with her other hand, but the rock was mostly smooth. She looked down. There was nearly a hundred foot drop to a roaring river that was surrounded by rocks. A whimper came out of her throat. She slid a little further down the side of the rock.
“Hang on!” suddenly came a voice from overhead. She hadn’t even heard Ridley coming up. “I’ll help you!” She looked up and could see him carefully walking towards her. He crouched and carefully walked along the rock until he was standing over her. He pushed himself closer.
He leaned over the reach out and grab her hand. He held his knife in the other. She realized the he hadn’t seen her until she screamed. He hadn’t even had the time to toss his knife to the ground.
“Stop right there!” came another voice. Nearly ten feet away was the tip of the arrow. Ridley released her hand. Katie followed his gaze up to the archer.
“Richard!” she cried. Her weight on her hands was causing her to slide farther down the rock. She tried to slow her breathing. With every puff, it pulled her further down the side of the rick.
“Don’t move, or I’ll shoot and kill you!” Richard shouted. Brianna was standing next to him in a slight crouch, breathing hard, but she appeared to be ready for anything.
“Richard what are you doing?” Katie shouted. Her fingers started slipping down the rock again.
“Get away from her!” Richard shouted.
“I’m slipping!” Katie shouted at Ridley. Her hand moved farther down the rock. Ridley leaned in to grab her hand again.
“If you touch her, I will kill you!” Richard shouted. Ridley’s hand paused for a moment.
“You shoot me, and I will fall on the girl and take her down with me!” Ridley shouted back. He leaned forward again to grab Katie’s hand.
Ridley reached forward. His fingers touched her. His hand curled around her wrist. Katie feared to let go of the rock, even though she knew she could trust him.
“Let go!” he instructed. Katie took a deep breath and did as he told her. She released the rock’s surface. His other hand curled around her wrist; her hand curled around one of his wrists.
Richard was standing next to Ridley. Ridley pulled her up and over the rock. He didn’t release her until he was sure that she wouldn’t fall again. As soon as he released her, Richard leaned forward and pushed him away.
“Richard!” Katie shouted at him. “He just saved my life, and that’s how you thank him?” Richard glared at her.
“Who are you! Where are you from?” he inquired in a shouting voice to Ridley.
“My name is Ridley. I am from Serdio, same as you,” Ridley said. “I am a Knight of the Seal.” Brianna looked at him with wide eyes.
Richard opened his mouth to say something to him.
The next instant, an arrow, one that Katie hadn’t sensed, came flying at her. Richard must have seen it just after her because he was diving towards her. Ridley had to have seen it too because he was reaching out at her. They were too slow. She saw it too late, and the two men saw it too late.
The arrow was directed at her heart. Who ever shot it knew exactly where to put it to kill her. She felt herself flinch, even though she didn’t want to. If the momentum of the arrow was just right, it would not only strike her heart, but throw her off the cliff.
A flash of light blasted the arrow from the sky. Katie flinched back and her foot slipped again. Ridley’s hand was on her back, steadying her and helping her keep her feet. A bright light was shining in front of them.
When the light finally faded, Brianna came into view again. Her arms were raised in front of her. She lowered them and looked at them with wide eyes. She looked up at Katie, almost pleading her to say that she didn’t just use magic.
“You have magic too?” Richard asked her in a shaking voice. Brianna only stared at Katie. “Why didn’t you ever tell us?” Katie understood.
“She never knew,” Katie said. Richard looked at her. “Same as I.” Brianna nodded that it was as she said.
Richard’s gaze looked down at Ridley’s hand, which was still on her back. Ridley released her and stepped back. Richard glared at him for a moment, then leaned over and hug Katie.
She was surprised by the hug. When she went to lean into the hug, he released her and pulled his sword free. He pushed her back, making her fall into Brianna. Both girls fell to the ground.
“Richard!” Katie shouted at him.
“I have to do this, Katie,” he said. She was climbing to her feet. She didn’t want to see what he had planned. He took a step towards Ridley.
“Richard, please!” she shouted. She was on her feet and was reaching out for Richard when another arrow flew past him.
It hit Katie.
She fell backwards and landed heavily on her back. She had been so distracted that she hadn’t seen it coming. None of them had.
Richard was leaning over her. The arrow stuck out of her left upper arm. This time, whoever had shot it wasn’t aiming to kill. They probably wanted her wounded. Unless they were aiming for Richard and missed.
“Katie?” Richard whispered. She was breathing hard. It burned every time she took a breath. She could feel her face turning red.
“You must take the arrow out!” Ridley shouted from above her. His back was turned to them and he was scanning the area. Brianna stood next to Richard, but with her back turned as well.
“Can I?” Richard asked her. Katie nodded. The arrow ripped at her muscles every time she moved, even if she moved only a little. She wanted it out of her.
Richard lightly grasped the arrow. As soon as he touched it, she gasped and tears flooded her vision. Richard released it, fearing to hurt her.
“Do it,” Katie whispered. She knew it would hurt to pull it free. She just wanted it out. Richard nodded.
“Hurry!” Ridley shouted. Brianna turned to Richard and lightly tapped his shoulder. He looked at her with a questioning gaze. She simply pointed. He and Katie looked to see what she was pointing at.
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