“Katie, come here. I think he’s coming awake,” Ridley shouted over to them. Katie made herself stopped and wiped the tears from her face. Brianna did the same. They quickly walked back to Richard and knelt down next to him. The wound in Katie’s thigh burned even worse.
Richard’s eyes were fluttering, almost like he were dreaming. Katie knew that he was really about to wake. His arm jerked about as if he were trying to fight off something. Katie lightly placed her hand in his.
Richard’s eyes came open. They were glazed in an unfocused way that Katie had never seen before. He looked down at his hand and saw hers in it. His eyes slowly rose up to look at her.
He opened his mouth to say something, but fell to coughing instead. Blood froth around his mouth as he hacked it out of his lungs. Katie felt tears rolling down her face again. When his coughing finally eased up, he looked back at her.
He opened his mouth again. This time, words came out.
“Katie,” he croaked. “I wanted to tell you something, before it’s too late.”
“What is it, Richard?” she whispered. She felt Ridley and Brianna melt away. She smiled when Richard squeezed her hand.
“I--” he whispered, but was taken over by coughing again. Katie came forward and held his head to her chest. She wished that he didn’t have to suffer so.
“Katie--” he rasped. “I--”
A sudden booming echo vibrated the very air. Ridley was running towards her and Richard. Brianna was hot on his heels.
“What’s happening?” Katie shouted, not moving away from Richard.
“Not sure, but we had better go,” Ridley said as he came up to her and Richard.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Katie murmured.
“Katie, you must,” Richard whispered. “You need to live on.”
“No, I won’t leave without you,” Katie whispered.
In the far distance, Katie could see a cloud of dust from horses picking up dirt as they run. She looked away, not caring if they were coming to kill her.
“Richard,” she whispered, leaning forward. “I--” she was unexpectedly interrupted.
“You there!” came a shout not too far away. Katie thought the cloud of dust had been at least a ten minute ride. “Stand up!”
Katie slowly rose her head to look. The cloud of dust was still coming in the distance. She looked over to see a man sitting near Ridley on a horse. He wore light traveling clothes and an assortment of weapons all over his body. He had dark brown hair and light green eyes.
Katie rose to her feet, releasing Richard’s hand as she did so. The man atop the horse swung his leg over and jumped down. He marched over to Richard and knelt by his side.
“Who did this?” he asked, looking at Katie.
“That satyr,” she whispered, pointing at the dead creature. The man’s gaze took it in for a moment, then went back to Richard.
“We might have the magic to heal him,” the man whispered to himself. “But this might be beyond Zoey’s power.”
“You can save him?” Katie asked, coming closer. Richard’s eyes were rolling around in his sockets.
“I don’t know. I’m not the healer,” the man said.
“Where are you from?” Katie asked. She placed her hand on the hilt of her sword.
“Serdio,” the man murmured.
“A soldier?” she asked. He shook his head
“No, I am the Queen’s brother,” the man said. He stood and waved at the approaching horses.
“You are the Queen’s brother?” Katie asked, awed. They remained silent for a few minutes as the man inspected Richard’s wound.
“You said you could help him?” Brianna whispered. She was standing next to Katie.
“I think so,” the man said.
Katie looked down at Richard. He was unconscious once again. At least he wasn’t in pain while he was out. A flare of hope ran a shiver down her back when she thought of him being healed. She only wished that she would have been able to do it to help him.
“How far?” Katie asked, anxious to be off.
“Nearly ten minutes to the east,” the man said.
“I don’t think he will make it that far,” Ridley said. Brianna shook her head.
“He will, after the healer has had her way with him,” the man said.
“How far is this healer?” Katie asked.
“Five minutes from us,” the man said, pointing at the oncoming horses. Katie noticed that there was about five riders coming their way. One, by the looks of the hair flowing behind the horse, had to be a woman. Katie assumed she was the healer that the man had been talking about. “She can’t fully heal him, only patch him until we get to Zoey.”
“What is your name?” he asked, standing and looking at Katie. “And where are you from?”
“My name is Katie and I am from the village of...” Katie said.
“Excellent,” the man whispered to himself. “Two in one.”
“And your name?” she asked back.
“My name is Robert,” he said. He looked down at Richard for a moment then waved again at the riders.
“Sir Robert,” Katie whispered. “Please do everything in your power to help this man.” Jeremy looked at her with curious eyes.
“I shall do all I can,” he said. “And please, just call me Robert.” Katie nodded. She lowered herself down and placed her hand on his chest. His chest rose and fell in harsh pants. She felt a tear leak out of her eye and roll off her cheek.
The horses came upon them a few minutes later. Four men, all dressed the same as Jeremy, jumped from their horses. They quickly scanned the area before walking towards Richard. One of the men walked over to Ridley and greeted him.
Katie looked upon the woman still atop her horse. Her long light brown hair fluttered in the light breeze. She had light brown skin and a shapely figure. She wore a long white shirt that looked thin and probably made of cotton. Under that, she wore light brown traveling clothes that made her figure very obvious.
She was an imposing sight. Katie stood and carefully watched as the woman jumped off her horse and lightly touched the ground. Her gaze took in everything. When she looked over at Katie, her eyes lingered on her for a long minute.
The woman looked down at Richard. She walked purposely towards him. When she drew close, two of the men moved away from Richard to allow the woman access. She knelt down next to Richard and placed a hand on his forehead.
“What happened?” she asked in hushed voice that sounded almost musical. When Katie didn’t answer, she looked up. “Well?” Her eyes looked into Katie’s.
“We were attacked,” Katie whispered. She knelt down as well, leaning forward to place her hand on Richard’s arm.
“Go on,” the woman said.
“We were ambushed,” Katie whispered. “He was surprised and run through by that vile creature.” Katie pointed at the satyr.
“I see,” the woman said, briefly looking at the dead creature. “After I help him, I should patch you up and Ridley up. I can’t heal very well, but enough to get you to the palace and to Zoey.”
“Will he be alright?” Katie asked, her voice turning hysterical.
“I think so,” the woman said. Her hand floated over Richard’s head. She murmured something Katie couldn’t hear. Her hand glowed for a moment, then turned back to its usual color.
“He must be taken to the Palace of the Lady, to Zoey,” the woman said to a nearby soldier. The man nodded and gestured to his companions. The woman stood and moved away. Brianna’s hand lifted Katie up as well. The men came close and easily lifted Richard up. They carried him to their horses. Behind two, Katie now noticed, was a carriage. They lightly placed Richard upon it.
The woman turned to Katie. “I do not believe I received your name,” she whispered.
“Katie,” she answered. The woman nodded and watched the men strap Richard down. She started to walk towards them. She turned and gestured for Katie to follow her. Katie stood, stumbling. The pain in her thigh burned and she had to hold her breath to keep herself from screaming again.
“My name is Amerilia,” she said. “I am a healer at the Palace of the Lady.” Katie nodded as they came upon Richard. She watched her for a few moments. When the men had Richard strapped down, Amerilia spoke again.
“You love him,” she said. It wasn’t a question. She was stating something she suspected. Katie smiled, but didn’t answer.
“He does not know?” Amerilia asked.
“No, he doesn’t,” Katie whispered.
“Why haven’t you told him?”
“Because I fear to lose his friendship. He may not love me back,” Katie whispered. Her eyes filled with tears.
“Have you asked him if he loves you?” she asked.
“No,” Katie whispered.
“Then how do you know he does not love you back?” Amerilia asked. Katie glared at her, but remained silent. “Ridley!” she shouted. Ridley slowly walked to where they stood.
“My lady?” Ridley said, bowing his head. The woman tossed something at Ridley. He caught it.
“A healing potion, for you and other girl. It isn’t strong enough to heal you all the way, but enough to keep you going,” Amerilia said.
“Thank you, my lady,” Ridley said, walking away. Amerilia handed Katie the same sort of bottle.
“Drink it all, quickly,” she said to Katie.
Katie pulled open the small bottle and dumped it into her mouth. A strange warmth ran down her throat and ran through her body. She felt the warmth rush to her various wounds. Katie sighed in relief.
“We are ready,” one of the men said, standing in front of Amerilia and bowing at the waist.
“Good. Get going. Give this woman your horse and escort the others to the palace,” she said. The man bowed and handed the reins to Katie.
“You wish to join us?” Amerilia asked. Katie nodded and placed her foot into the stirrup. She lifted herself onto the horse and waited until Amerilia was ready.
“Move out!” Amerilia shouted to the men. They started forward, moving at a quick speed. Richard was pulled behind them. Katie and Amerilia kicked their heels and followed behind them. Katie watched Richard the entire way.
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