Brianna looked at Ridley. He rode beside her on his horse. He looked much taller then most men she had ever seen before. To her, he was a handsome man.
He looked over at her. She blushed at being caught looking at him. She quickly look ahead of them and watched their escort ride on front. She felt her cheeks burn red. She smiled, hoping he wasn’t watching her.
“Brianna,” Ridley said. She looked over at him and blushed again. She hoped he couldn’t see that her cheeks were red.
“Yes?” She asked in a polite voice.
“Did you know that Katie had magic?” he asked her. She looked away from him again.
“She never told you?”
“She never knew herself,” Brianna said. She looked over to see a hint of a smile on his lips.
“I see,” he whispered.
“How far till the palace?” she asked him.
“Five minutes,” the Queen’s brother answered her.
“You are their friend?” he asked her. Brianna nodded.
“I hope he will be okay,” Robert said with a small smile. Brianna smiled back, but was looking at the country area they were riding through.
It was beautiful here. There was plenty of space to just run. She smiled as she thought about her and Katie as younger girls, running around in the large open space. It had been so long ago that they had done that. Brianna wished she could do it again.
“You like the country?” Robert asked her, reading her thoughts by her gaze. She nodded. “Maybe later, after everything is settled, we could take a ride out here and enjoy the area.”
Brianna looked over and smiled more brightly than she had in days. Robert smiled back and in the moment, Brianna knew that she liked him. A new respect came up in her about him. She knew he was a man of honor, but she also knew that he was a man who would respect her.
“That would be wonderful!” This made him smile even wider.
They dove into silence. Brianna wondered about everything about Ridley, who was riding next to her. Apparently, he was a trusted Knight of the Seal. He had saved Katie’s life. He was sort of Richard’s friend. He trusted Richard. She could tell.
“Brianna,” Ridley said again.
“Do you think Richard will live?” he asked her. Brianna was shocked by the question.
“Well, I... I....” she couldn’t seem to find what she wanted to say. She wasn’t sure if Richard would live. He seemed already dead when he was taken away. Maybe the healer was really good at her stuff.
“Yea, I don’t know either,” he whispered. It was almost like he read her thoughts. She watched him closely for a moment. He didn’t appear too upset over it, but he did seem sincere.
They walked on in silence. After a few minutes, Brianna looked up. A castle so huge loomed into view when they were clear of the last few random trees. Brianna gaped at the magnificent building. It was like nothing she had ever seen before. Her entire village looked like it would fit into the castle, and there would still be a lot of room.
Large statues, larger than she, sat in neat rows along the building. She gazes at the large windows and huge doorways. Two fountains sat near the entrance of the castle. Brianna turned when she heard a quiet chuckle.
“What is so funny?” she snapped at Ridley. He smiled.
“You have never seen a palace?” he asked her. Brianna shook her head. “No wonder you are drooling over there.”
“I am not drooling!” She screeched. Ridley smiled widely.
They followed the escort in silence. Brianna could hear him chuckle every so often; probably when he caught her gaping at the palace. The men led them to the huge doorway. Next to the doorway was a large stable.
The men jumped down from their horses and passed their reins off the stable boys. Brianna leapt from her horse and did the same.
“I’ll see you later,” Robert said to Brianna as he walked away. She nodded and smiled.
Brianna turned to follow the men into the palace, but Ridley was in her way. He was standing with his back turned to her and was talking to someone.
Brianna came to his side to see who he was talking to. An elderly man with brown graying hair stood near him, talking in a hushed voice. He was a lumpy man who looked a bit like Ridley.
“-- might not wake,” the man said.
“What can I do to help?” Ridley asked.
“You must find the sword and the ring from the prophecies and kill Lord Zarha,” the man said.
Brianna cleared her throat, hoping to catch his attention. He ignored her.
“But those are myths,” Ridley said, shaking his head.
“They are not!” the old man exclaimed.
“If you say so, grandfather,” Ridley said. Brianna cleared her throat again. This time, Ridley looked over.
“And who is this?” the old man asked. “You haven’t already found a new woman, have you Ridley?”
“No!” Ridley shouted, his face going red. “No, grandfather, this is Brianna. She is a new friend I made when escaping the prison.”
“I see,” the man said. He looked at her with a very grandfatherish gaze. “I’m glad to meet you...?”
“Brianna,” she said.
“I am Leo,” the old men said. He held out a hand and Brianna shook it.
“Pleasure,” she whispered. She turned to see the men walking through the doorway. She nudged Ridley. He nodded.
“We must be going,” he said. “I shall visit soon.”
“That’s a good boy,” the old man said, patting Ridley’s back. Ridley motioned for Brianna to follow the men. She did so and could feel him close behind her. As they entered the building, he came up beside her.
“This is the palace you work at?” she asked him.
“Yea,” he said. “Amazing, huh?”
“Yes,” Brianna said. She looked all around her as she walked. More statues lined the walls down each hall. Beautiful paintings lined ever wall. People, most in fancy dresses, walked past. A few, Brianna guessed, were people from the cleaning crew. They were dressed in white clothes that lightly covered their body.
One of the women dressed in a long dress winked at Ridley. He smiled and waved, but didn’t say anything. Brianna turned to look at her when she past them. The woman turned and looked at Ridley.
“Who was that?” Brianna asked.
“High Priestess Trinity,” he said.
“High Priestess?” Brianna asked.
“Yea, High Priestess of the Lady,” he replied.
“She sounds like an important person,” Brianna said. They turned down another hall and continued on.
“Yes, she is,” Ridley said. “She is the next in line for the Lady.”
“Is she the woman you love?” Brianna asked. Ridley looked at her.
“No,” he said. He didn’t continue, and so Brianna let it drop. They walked farther down the hall for a few minutes.
“Brianna?” came a familiar voice. Brianna turned to the left and saw Katie standing in the door way. Her red hair was freshly brushed and a little damp.
Brianna smiled and went over to her. They embraced. Brianna hugged her tight, glad to see that she was alright. When she pulled her back to look at her, she saw that Katie didn’t have any little cuts on her face anymore. She was also wearing new clothes and there was no sign of blood on her.
“What happened to...?” she started to say, but was interrupted.
“Katie,” Ridley said, pulling her into a hug. “How is Richard?”
“Much better, thank you,” Katie said, smiling.
“You look refreshed,” he said to her.
“Yes, I healed myself,” she said. She looked down at his wound. “We should heal you too.”
“This little cut?” he said, waving her off. “It is nothing. I have had worse.”
“But it should still be tended to,” Katie said, grabbing his hand and pulling him into the room. Brianna followed after them.
They entered a vast room. It had two large bed in the far corners of the room. A large wardrobe sat next to the door. Brianna figured that she could probably live in the wardrobe. A dresser sat against another wall. A door led off to another room.
“Wow,” Brianna whispered. She heard Ridley chuckle again.
Katie led Ridley over to one of the beds. Brianna saw that the other bed was already occupied. Richard lay sleeping in it. Brianna came forward and placed her hand against his brow. His head was cool.
She turned to watch Katie and Ridley. Ridley was sitting on the bed with Katie standing over him. She gestured for him to move his shirt out of the way of the wound. Ridley did so.
“I have never actually healed before,” Katie said. “But Zoey taught me how to use a little of my powers. Now, sit still.”
Brianna watched. Katie placed her hand over his wound. Ridley squeezed his eyes shut in pain and let out a deep breath. Katie didn’t appear to be doing anything. Brianna remained quiet.
A minute later and Katie’s hand glowed a soft pearly white color. She smiled at Ridley when his eyes went wide. Brianna starred too. She had never seen anything like it before. At least, up until Myles healed her. She just found it marveling that her friend could do it too.
When the light faded, Ridley looked down. His clothes were stained red from his blood, but his wound appeared to be closed. He gingerly touched it. Brianna expected him to grimace, but, instead, he smiled.
“Wow,” he whispered. “That was wonderful.” Katie smiled. She walked over to the dresser and grabbed something out of a drawer. She threw a clean shirt at Ridley.
“I think you’ll be a bit more happy in this,” she said. She and Brianna turned their backs to him as he pulled off the dirty blood-stained shirt and slipped the other over his head.
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