Katie woke to the sounds of birds outside her window. The sun shone through the open curtains. The hand at her waist moved lightly with Richard’s even breathing. She smiled.
She was about to roll over when there was a knock at the door. Richard came awake with a jerk, murmuring something about elves. Katie lifted his arm from her waist and stood. She stretched out her limbs and smiled over her shoulder at Richard. He sat up, rubbing his eyes.
Katie walked over to the door and opened it. Ridley, wearing fresh clothes and a pack on his back, was standing in the doorway. He held a small bundle in his hands. He smiled at her.
“Are you awake?” he asked.
“We are now,” Richard grumbled. Katie stood back and allowed Ridley to enter the room. She shut the door behind him.
“Good,” he said. “How soon until you are ready?”
“Ten minutes,” Katie said, reaching for her boots. She sat down next to Richard and quickly tied them on. Richard winced at her when she finished. Ridley stood by the window, looking out it.
Katie got up and walked over to the other bed. Her pack lay on it with a few things scattered about. She began tossing things into the bag. She looked down on the ground and saw something sparkle there. Bending over, she picked up a bracelet.
Tears swam in her eyes for a moment. It was Brianna’s bracelet. Katie gripped it tightly in her hand for a moment then threw it into her bag. She missed her so much now. If it was the last thing she did, she would save her friend from that spell.
Richard placed a hand on her back. She turned. He was watching her.
“Are you okay?” he asked. She nodded and brushed away a tear that ran down her cheek.
“Fine,” she whispered, her voice shaking. She turned back to her bag and pulled it closed. She slung it on her back and walked to the door. Richard pulled his on and followed her. Ridley handed her half the bundle and the other half to Richard.
“These are cloaks from the Queen. She says she wishes us luck and would like to see you two again some time soon,” Ridley said.
Katie unfolded the cloak. It feel nearly to the ground and was thin, but wool. It would keep her warm even in the coldest of weathers. She carefully threw it over her shoulders. Richard did the same.
Ridley opened the door and walked through. Katie took one last look in the room and turned and left.
They walked down the halls. Ridley led them along a passage that would take them to the opposite side of which they had come and gone before. They would be heading away from Hellio. That thought made Katie feel better.
“Katie!” came a shout. She turned to see Zoey trotting up. She stopped right next to her. “Here, a present from the Queen and I.” She handed her something all wrapped up in cloth.
Katie carefully opened it find a dagger. It was decorated with precious jewels and gems. The golden blade gleamed in the sunlight that came from a nearby window. It’s blade was clear crystal, just like Richard’s sword. Katie smiled.
“Thank you,” she whispered. Zoey pulled her into a hug.
“Don’t regret what has happened,” she whispered in her ear. “Look forward into the future, because she will be back to you again soon. I can’t tell you if it will be in a good or bad meeting.”
Katie knew exactly who she was talking about. Prophecy. Zoey released her and quickly gave Richard a hug. With a final smile and wave, Zoey walked off.
Richard took Katie’s hand and pulled her along with him. They walked on for a few minutes. At last, Ridley came upon a door that led them outside. The guard at the door bowed and opened the door. They walked through.
The stable boy had everything ready for them. Katie climbed atop a beautiful mare and settled herself there. When the other two were ready, they kicked their horses into motion. Katie allowed her horse to follow Richard’s.
She wasn’t sure exactly what was coming next, but she knew she would be ready for it when it came. She had Richard and Ridley with her. She vowed to protect them always. She knew they were thinking the same thing about her.
With her thoughts on her old friend, Brianna, Katie allowed her horse to pull her away. She cared not when she would meet Brianna again, but she knew that when the time came, she would be ready to help her. She wondered if, now that Zarha was dead, Brianna was free of his curse. For some reason, she doubted it.
A tear roll off her face as she sighed. Things would be different, now that they were away from home. Katie hoped that they would be able to return home and help fix it up again. She would love nothing more than to live her normal life again.
Richard turned and smiled at her. She smiled back. At least she had one good thing. She only wanted Richard there by her side, no matter what. And she knew, without a doubt, that he would.
"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."