Outcast (Part 6)

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What came over the hill caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it. What came over the hill was a single man with a single horse holding a single weapon. He looked like he was ready to destroy whatever he shot at. He was the handsomest man I had ever seen. Even more handsome than Moondancer. His horse, a white stallion, danced nervously. Behind me, Ixol struggled to get the soldier on his horse. But I this barely registered in my mind. The man smirked. It seemed to break me from the spell of his eyes. They were silver. Not plain grey. Silver. Like the silver coins my mother used to buy medicine from the doctor when I was small. I ran to my horse and whipped into the saddle without slowing my pace. I urged it forward and she broke into a gallop. Ixol followed on his mount. I rushed past the silver-eyed man, noting that he looked my age. At the bottom of the hill, I looked back and saw him standing by the stallion. His laughter reached my ears and I encouraged my horse to go faster. There is nothing I hat more than a man who laughs at me, or a man who scorns me. I hoped that this silver-eyed man with the whit stallion did not live in the Snow Kingdom. We slowed, and eventually came to a halt. I helped Ixol lower the soldier to the ground.

“My lady, have you ridden before?” Ixol touched my arm.

“Once, yes.”

“You ride well.”

I blushed. “Thank you.” I was not used to such complements.

I still heard the laughter of the man with the stallion in my head. I looked back to the hill. He was gone.

“What is your name?” I turned to the soldier.

“It does not matter. I will be dead before tonight.”

I looked up at Ixol. He looked as confused as I was.

“I will be put to death for not returning with your head.”

“So the Prince wants me dead?”

“No. it is his grandfather who ordered it.”

Ixol pulled me aside. “My lady, it is not wise to place your head in the mouth of a hungry lion.”

“I suppose that mean you do not want to go into the city.”

“Yes. In fact, I strongly advise against it.”

“We will enter the city.” I said, swinging onto my horse. I looked at the soldier. He didn’t trust him, despite the fact that he had told us why he had come. I dismounted. My horse gave me a look. I walked over to Ixol. “I need to speak with you.”

“Of course, my lady.”

We walked a short distance away, where we could still see the soldier, but he could not hear us.

“How do I deal with him?”

“Deal with him?”

“Are you going to repeat everything I say or are you going to answer the question?” I grinned.

Ixol smiled. It had become a joke between us. “You need to find out if he is on our side. If he is, we will protect him. If he is not, slay him.”

“What about the man on the white stallion?”

“I recognize the horse. He sired your own mount. He is the king of all horses, Moonfire. He is the mount of Rider of Winds.”

“Who is this Rider of Winds?”

“The man who rode Moonfire.”

“Yes, I know that.”

“Rider of Winds is the Ice Prince.”

I looked back at the hill. He was back, galloping down the hill toward us. “Him?” I screeched.

“Yes.”

“Let’s go.”

We started for the horses. “Ixol.”

“Yes?”

“You may only call me ‘my lady’ or ‘princess’ in public. Any other time, you will call me by my name.”

“Yes, my—Moonbeam.”

Ixol helped the soldier up.

I looked at him. He looked back, but dropped his gaze once he met my eyes.

“Do you swear allegiance to Moonbeam, princess of Moon Holders?” Ixol asked him.

I could hear the thundering of Moonfire’s hooves.
The soldier stood up straight. “I do.”

“You will be protected by us, unless you are found a traitor. Then you will be killed.”

“Ixol, we must go. Now!” I let the soldier on my horse and swung up behind Ixol. “Is Rider of Winds a good Moon Holder or bad?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then ride and ride hard and fast. I want to get to the city before he does.”

“Yes, princess.”

We fairly flew across the frozen ground as we raced to get to the gates before Rider of Winds. Suddenly, he was there between Ixol’s horse and my horse. I looked over at him. Rider of Winds was grinning like an idiot, riding backwards. I positioned myself so I could jump over to his horse. I pushed off and landed exactly where I wanted. On the front of the saddle. He tried to wrestle the reins out of my hand. Instead, he found himself on the ground. I jumped back behind Ixol.

“Was that wise, Moonbeam?”

“No. but I am satisfied.”

Ixol laughed as we slowed the horses to a walk and went under the gates to the Snow City.





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