Katie playfully pushed Richard’s hand away. He liked tickling her. Ever since he had kissed her, he never left her side all day. It was nearing the end of the day. The sun was almost gone.
Katie guessed that Brianna and Robert would be getting back soon. They had been gone for a very long time. Katie got to thinking that Brianna fancied Robert in the same way that Katie loved Richard.
They sat in their room, on the bed. Katie had been reading a book that Zoey had brought for her. Richard had sat, content with watching her. She found it slightly annoying, but loved his company. Every so often, he would poke her ribs, making her jump and giggle.
Shouts came from the other side of the door. Katie looked at Richard. He was already rising from the bed. Katie followed behind him as he quickly walked to the door. He threw it open to see men running past.
“What’s happening?” he shouted to a soldier as he ran by.
“Sir Robert just got back. He is wounded. He said something about Brianna being captured by a man in black,” the soldier shouted over his shoulder.
Richard took off at a run after the soldier. Katie was hot on his heels. “Where is he?” he shouted.
They followed the soldier down a hall and into a room. Zoey was running down another hall. She looked worried. Katie didn’t see the Queen anywhere. The soldier threw open the door and allowed Richard, Katie, and Zoey to dash into the room.
Robert sat leaning against a chair in the room. His shirt was tore in many places and he had black dried blood all over his torso. The Queen stood over him, fussing and talking quietly to him. Zoey knelt down next to him and inspected the wounds.
“What happened?” Richard shouted. He stopped, towering over the man.
“We were attacked,” Robert said in a groggy voice. “Ambushed. He attacked me first, to get me out of the way.”
“Who?” Richard asked, knelling down next to Zoey. When Zoey touched Robert’s wound, he let out a hiss through his teeth.
“The man in black,” Robert whispered through clenched teeth. “He took her!” he shouted. Katie saw a tear run its way down his cheek. She wondered if it was from the pain or because he hadn’t been able to protect Brianna.
“Which way did they go?” Richard asked.
“Towards Hellio,” he whispered. In that instant, Katie knew that he cared for Brianna. “I must help her!”
“You are in no such state!” the Queen shouted.
“I’m fine. Just a scratch,” he said, waving her off. “Zoey will have me right in no time.”
“You will need a few days to regain your strength,” Zoey said.
“No,” he said, standing and pushing Zoey and his sister away. “I have to go now.”
“Why did you bother to come back here if you were going to run off the find her?” Zoey asked. He pulled him down again.
“Richard. I had to warn Richard,” he said. He appeared to be falling in and out of consciousness.
Zoey put her hand over his wound. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, in a flash of light, Robert gave a gasp. The light flared for only a few seconds. When it vanished, Zoey removed her hands. The wound looked to be whole again. Robert fell against his sister.
“What happened?” Katie asked.
“I made him fall asleep,” Zoey said. “Just because I healed him doesn’t mean he is ready to be running around. He has to recover his strength and go through the healing process inside.”
“He will be angry when he wakes,” the Queen said, gesturing for men to come forward and lifted him onto a bed.
“I know, but it is something I am willing to risk,” Zoey said. She stood and turned to Richard and Katie. “It is up to you two to save her.”
Katie nodded and looked over at Richard. He appeared to be struggling with something. Katie reached out and put her hand in his. He briefly looked down at it then back up at Zoey.
“How come you didn’t see this in prophecy,” Richard demanded. Zoey and the Queen exchanged looks. The Queen nodded to her.
“We did,” Zoey said.
“What? And you didn’t even try to stop them from leaving the palace?” he shouted. “Did you even tell him this was coming.”
“We had to let this happen, Richard,” Zoey said.
“Why!” Richard shouted at her. Katie stepped away from him.
“Because you had to understand that you need to fight Zarha,” Zoey said. Richard threw his hands up as he shouted in anger.
“Who are you to decide what I have to do?” he roared.
“We did what we had to,” the Queen said.
“You have no right--” Richard shouted.
“Richard, calm down,” Zoey said.
“Don’t tell me what to do!” he shouted. Zoey remained quite while he fumed. He began pacing. Every time he got close to Katie, she took a step away from him.
Katie was ready to leave. If Richard didn’t come with her, than it didn’t matter to her. She was going to go save her friend. She only hoped that he would help her. She knew she wasn’t strong enough.
“Richard,” Zoey whispered. He stopped pacing and turned back to her. “You need the power of the sword to save her.”
“And how would I use the power of it? It’s just a sword,” he snapped.
“By using the ring,” she answered. She gestured for Katie to come forward. Katie came forward and stood next to her.
“How do we do that?” Richard asked. He came forward and stood next to Katie. She felt his hand slip back into hers.
“That is something you two will have to figure out,” Zoey said.
“What!” Richard shouted.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know,” Zoey said. Richard nodded as he ran his free hand through his hair.
“So we have to figure out how to connect them and then run off the save Brianna?” he asked.
Zoey nodded, glad that he was catching on. Richard turned, pulling Katie with him. He made for the door.
“Richard! Wait!” Zoey shouted. “You have to know something!” Richard stopped and turned.
“If it is a prophecy, I don’t want to know!” he roared at her.
“You must protect Katie. No matter what happens when you get there, you have to keep her safe. That prophecy we talked about this morning has to do with you going in after Brianna,” Zoey said. Richard glared at her.
He turned and walked through the door. He pulled her down the hall towards their room. Katie sped up to walk next to him.
“Do you have a plan?” she asked him.
“We break in and find Brianna,” he said simply.
They entered their room. Richard went to the bed and grabbed his pack from under it. Katie hadn’t even known it had been under there. Katie grabbed her dagger, which was sitting on the dresser. She pulled the strap tight around her waist.
Richard turned to her.
“Are you ready?” he asked her. She nodded and reached for his hand. They left the room and started down the hall.
“Richard!” came a shout from behind them. Katie turned. It was Ridley, running down the hall at them. “Wait!”
Richard slowed, but did not stop. Ridley caught up with them and walked next to them. He was huffing as if he had run a long ways. Katie thought he looked miserable.
“I’m going with you,” he said. “I will help you rescue her.”
“What about Travina?” Katie asked. Richard shot her a questioning look, but did not say anything.
“I was going to head in that direction anyways. The least I can do is help you rescue her before setting off on my own,” he answered. Katie nodded in agreement. She was glad that he was going to help them.
“Do you have horses?” Richard asked.
“Yes,” Ridley said, pointing to the right. “This is the way out. The stables are just through here.”
They turned down the hall and came to a door. Soldiers and guards swarmed the area. Some nearly drew their swords when they saw people approaching. When they saw Ridley, they nodded and moved away from the door. Katie glanced back as the door opened.
A woman in a blood red dress walked past them. She turned and glared at Katie. Richard pulled at her hand and she turned to walk forward with him. She looked back, but the woman was gone.
Katie looked forward again as she was pulled through the door. Richard held her hand tight. Katie glanced around. People were moving to and from the area, but none came into the palace. Katie guessed that they had it blocked off because Robert showed up injured. They entered the town, but it was at the very edge. Ridley pointed to the right where the stables sat.
Richard pulled her towards them. He wasn’t looking at anything else. He nearly ran into someone. Katie apologized to the person. She was pulled forward again. She was having trouble keeping up with him. Ridley ran ahead to get the horses.
Richard pulled her to a stop. Ridley rushed forward and handed Richard the reins to a horse. He went back and reached for two other horses. The stable boy was running around collecting things. He came forward and hand Richard a large saddlebag. Richard attached the bag to his horse. Ridley did the same to the other horses. He came forward and handed the reins of a large stallion to Katie.
Katie jumped atop her horse. Looking to the side, she saw Richard climbing upon his horse. Ridley was throwing a few things into the saddlebag on his horse. She turned her horse towards the direction of Hellio. She was a little afraid of going back to the prison. She knew the fear Brianna would be feeling.
Katie looked over at Richard and wondered if he would be okay. He had only just woke up the night before. He had been attacked yesterday morning. It was hard to believe that he was healed enough to set out on this mission.
Richard kicked his horse into a run. Katie and Ridley did the same and quickly caught up with him. Soon after, they entered the forest of the satyrs. Katie feared this forest almost as much as she feared the prison.
“Keep moving!” Ridley shouted to Richard. He led them forward through the forest. Katie saw creatures flash by, but she didn’t pay any heed to them. She simply ran her horse forward. She didn’t want any trouble.
The sun was starting to creep out of the sky. It was getting darker the longer they rode. Katie shivered, wishing that she had something more to keep her warm. Her eyes watered in the cold air that rushed past her.
“How long?” she shouted to Ridley.
“A little over an hour!” he shouted back. Katie only wished that they weren’t going to be too late.
"This extract remains the exclusive property of the author who retains all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the work. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced or used by any person or entity for any purpose without the author's express permission and authority."