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By , wrightwood, CA
Chapters:   « Previous 1 ... 7 8 9

Chapter Nine

As Tom watched May disappear into the streets below, he was feeling many inexplicable emotions. Anger, for May slashing his dragon. Guilt, for acting rashly. Disappointed, for thinking he could trust her. Anger again, this time at himself for acting so undisciplined and reckless.
He should have never asked May to go flying on Flame. He should have never shown her his dragon. He should have remained secret, hidden, pretending to be a Slayer. Or better yet, he should have just never associated with anyone outside. He should have stayed still, alone in his cave forever… As unknown to the human race as dragons’ goodness.
It would have been better for everyone.
He suddenly heard voices.
“She fell from over here...”
“Same window the dragon went though.”
“What do you think we’ll find?”
“A Rider, maybe. But what business would one of them have with a girl?”
“She was probably in the Rider’s way. And he wanted to get rid of her.”
There was a snarl of disgust. “So uncouth.”
Tom frantically looked around. How many soldiers were looking for him? Had they found May already?
“Flame, we have to go,” he whispered, rushing over to his dragon. “We have to go now.”
The dragon moaned and rolled onto his side. Tom grimaced at the sight of blue liquid dripping down his scales. But there was no time to help him.
“Flame, the guards are coming,” he reiterated. “They’ll catch us if we don’t go right now.” he cast a frantic glance towards the open window. “Can you fly?”
Flame gazed at the sky and weakly flapped his wings, getting to his feet.
“You don’t have to carry me,” Tom told him. “Just go. I’ll meet you in the forest.”
Still, Flame hesitated.
The dragon lumbered a few heavy steps, and then took one last glance at his owner before taking off.
And just in time, too, for just then the soldiers came through the door. They stopped short at the sight of Tom, and the pile of ashes where the guards used to be.
“He’s just a boy!” one exclaimed.
“There’s no way he’s the Rider,” another one murmured.
“A boy wouldn’t kill a girl...”
Tom’s blood ran cold. Had he...killed May? Was she dead? Had he murdered her? 'Oh May', he thought despairingly, 'I’m so sorry'.
The fourth soldier recovered from his shock first. “It doesn’t matter if he’s an unlikely candidate,” he snarled. “Who else could it be? No one else is here. It doesn’t matter if he’s a child. All Riders who are brazen enough to enter the city must be killed.”
Tom blanched as the guard pulled a sharp sword out of his sheath. What would he do? He had no weapons, and he couldn’t fight them barehanded. And there was no way he could outrun four of them...was there?
It was his only chance.
He steeled himself, then bolted forward, dodging between the shocked, unprepared soldiers until he made it to the door. He threw it open and ran, not knowing or caring where he was going. There were several flights of stairs, all leading down, that he practically jumped the whole way. He passed many windows and doors, but couldn’t stop to check any of them… The guards were too tight on his tail.
Eventually, just when he was losing his breath so much that it was literally impossible for him to run any farther, he came upon a washing room. Amazingly, no one was in it, and there were many barrels of clothes and nooks and crannies to hide in. He took a quick glance around, heard the heavy footsteps behind him, and dove into a completely random barrel.
The soldiers pounded into the room, heaving for breath, and grew very angry and frustrated when they didn’t see him.
“I saw him go in, and there’s no other way out!” the second guard declared. “He has to be in here somewhere.”
“Search it,” the fourth guard, clearly the leader, demanded. “Don’t stop until you find him.”
They began to scour the room, poking deadly spears and swords into every barrel and large bucket they could find.
Tom screwed his eyes tightly shut as the sounds of searching grew even more closer. They were two barrels away from him...one barrel away from him…
There was a squeak in the barrel next to him.
The guards turned to it, eying it suspiciously. Then one of them thrust his sword into the wood. There was an even more frantic squeak, and then nothing.
The sword was drawn out.
“Blood,” the soldier whispered in a greatly anticipating voice. “There’s something alive in this barrel.”
Tom, looking back at this later, had reflected that he would have been insanely curious if his situation hadn’t been so perilous.
The guards turned the barrel upside down and dumped all its contents onto the floor, heedless to the fact that it was a load of freshly cleaned laundry.
One of them grunted in disgust. “It’s just a mouse. You killed a rodent, Percy.”
“Maybe he’s a shape-shifter,” the guard referred to as Percy defended himself.
At the moment, Tom wished he was a shape-shifter. Then he could escape these soldiers easily.
But he wasn’t, and he had to make due with what abilities he had.
Another of the guards snarled in frustration. “There’s nobody here,” he said irritably. “We should just go. We’re wasting our time.”
“I saw him come in here!” Percy insisted. “He has to be somewhere, Harold.”
Harold snorted. “No. I’m going. He’s not here. And now the laundresses are going to be mad at us.”
Grumbling in agreement, the soldiers all left.
All except Percy, who stayed behind a moment longer. “I know you’re in here, Rider,” he whispered. “I will be back. And I will find you.”
Then he left also, not wanting to be left behind by his comrades.
Tom exhaled in relief, very grateful that they had somehow forgotten to check the barrel he was in. He wondered how they had not realized that there was still an unchecked barrel.
But right now there was no time for wondering. He had to get out of the castle, and rendezvous with Flame.
Chapters:   « Previous 1 ... 7 8 9

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