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Author's note: I have always been interested in fantasy, such as elves, goblins, dwarfs, dragons etc. I created this piece for pure entertainment and to test the mind.
"Thieves! Come back here, or you'll get a taste of my gunpowder!" someone shouted from behind us. More shouts and screams came, followed by gun fire.
I laughed. This was the life. I loved chases like this. The adrenaline rush it gave you was amazing. I looked over my shoulder at Thomas, and he smiled at me, clearly enjoying this too. We were in a chase. Us, obviously, the bad guys. Trees flew past us, branches and twigs whipping my face. I let it sting. I was used to it.
We were running. Running for our lives that is. My snow white hair flew behind me, long and thick. The breeze on my purple skin never felt so good. My red eyes were squinting in the sunlight. The shouts got closer, and I heard hooves gaining on us. Horses. Crap.
"Lilly, they're coming." Thomas said a hint of sarcasm in his voice. He said it loud, so the chasers behind us would hear.
"What will we ever do?!" I yelled back. We laughed, and gained speed.
"You aren't going to get away with this, thieves!" said a guard. I looked back, to see a tall man with broad shoulders on a black horse, not five yards away. His dark armor shone in the light, but even so, a scowl shone on his cruel face.
He was right. We were thieves. We had been stealing for a steady three years now. It was easy for us. We always had a plan, and we always got away.
I grasped the purple burlap sack in my hand, which cradled precious jewels we had taken from a nearby village. It was wet since I had dropped it in a puddle. God, even though I love being in the rain, I hate the day right after a storm, mud and puddles everywhere. No way to escape.
"Here, catch!" I tossed the sack to Thomas, who snatched it, and bolted in the other direction. I did it in a way so that the guards wouldn't see. While Thomas had the bag, I was still the one being chased. "Time for phase two." I whispered to myself. I gained some more speed, and jumped up onto a tree branch. My strong limbs allowed me to quickly raise myself up, higher and higher. My short red shirt was getting dirty, and so were my tan shorts. But there were already so many stains on them, it was hardly noticeable.
"You come down from there!" came shouts from below. I sat down on a sturdy tree branch, and peered down at their small figures below me. There were seven of them, all looking up at me, unattainable.
"Never in your life!” I said back. The men grumbled, and suddenly, one pointed his sword in another direction. Five horses took off in the direction Thomas had gone. I wasn't worried. Thomas had changed courses quickly, to lure them away from me. He was too fast for them to catch.
"Come down, missy, we won't hurt you, and your pointy little ears." one of the men slurred at me.
I reached up at touched my ears. They were pointy indeed. You might have already guessed, but I’m an elf. A tree elf that is. But I don't usually act like one. Most sit around, gathering food, and water, and helping out their brothers and sisters. Not me. I prefer to live in the moment. It's all about having fun. But the scars I got from doing that didn't take away my beauty. Elves are beautiful and majestic, and I’m not just bragging either. One who has not laid eyes upon us elves before usually tend to just stare in awe at us.
It’s strange to think about, but magical creatures like us tend to have an aurora of magic around them, making them seem perfect. You could say I was a pretty sight. I had a good figure and a pretty face, even though I had purple skin. Thomas was like me with his white hair, but his skin was peachy, and strangely enough, one of his eyes was dark brown, and one of them was dark blue. I always used to stare at him, astonished at his eyes. I still do sometimes. The guards were used to me and Thomas, so they weren’t flabbergasted like some others. But you could tell by the look in their eyes that they were jealous of us.
It’s strange though, I’ve never met another elf with my skin color, or eye color. In fact, my whole village is fully of peachy skinned elves, with eyes ranging from lime green to a navy blue. No one is like me. I’m just… different. Thomas and I, we are tree elves, and yes, I have always thought of myself as one, but I never really seem to fit in with the rest.
"Please come down? We just want what you took." he coaxed. I shook my head, leaned back and relaxed. The man gave a great huff.
"Don't make us cut the tree down. We wouldn't want to hurt such a pretty lady." the other man said.
"Save your flattery for your wives!" I laughed. I closed my eyes, and listened to the birds. Suddenly, the tree started shaking violently. I looked down, and to my surprise, the man was climbing the tree, and was very fast, too.
I stood up, and looked around for a neighboring tree, but I had picked one out in the open. The other trees were too far out of my reach."Dang." I whispered.
"Nowhere to run, little missy." came a voice. The man was right in front of me, on the same branch. He had long straggly black hair and a big nose. Yellowing teeth came from behind his chapped lips. Eyes like little slits gleamed at me, ready to strike. I was trapped. There was nowhere to run, just as he had warned me. He lunged out at me, with his clammy hands.
"But there is somewhere to fall!" I shouted. I kicked in right in his kisser, sending him plummeting down the side of the tree. I watched him fall, tumbling and turning, his cape fluttering behind him. I was shocked, as he landed with a soft thud on the leafy ground. I never meant to kill anyone. His partner jumped off the horse.
"Cerberus!" He screamed. He ran over to his partner’s lifeless body. He looked up at me."You'll pay for this! I don't care if you’re a girl!" I scrambled down the tree while his back was turned, and jumped onto his horse. Snapping the reins, the horse gave out a whine, and started barreling away.
I looked back, and to my relief, his partner was groggily sitting up. I smiled, knowing that I hadn't murdered him. I snapped the horse’s reins once more, accelerating my speed.
Suddenly, I felt someone grab onto my shirt. I gave a small scream, but only saw Thomas, jumping onto the horse. He smiled at me, and put the sack inside his pocket.
"Did you get rid of them?" I asked him.
"Yeah, I did." he said, clearly out of breath.
"Good." I said. I leaned into the horse, hearing it's breathing, heavy and quick. I knew the horse was tired, and I felt bad for it. But I needed to get away. Thomas clung to my sides, carefully trying not to fall off.
We continued to ride for our lives, through the heat of the sun, and the bugs smashing into our faces. I thought we were going to make it. I knew we were going to make it. I had so much hope until that stupid arrow pierced my side.
I woke up, feeling a sharp pain on my hip. I grunted, baring the pain. Opening my eyes, I saw Thomas, kneeling over me, dabbing my wound with a soft tan cloth that was turning red because it was drenched in blood. My blood. A look of surprise and relief came over him as he saw my eyes open. He smiled at me, in the sweet way that he always does.
"You’re awake." he spoke softly, continuing to cleanse my wound.
I looked around groggily. I noticed we were in some sort of shelter, made out of dark blue twines of grass. A small door was placed on the side, nothing but a cut out opening in the hut. "Where are we?" I asked groggily.
"Were somewhere,." he said. He leaned down and ripped off part of his shirt. He then wrapped it around my hips, concealing the wound. I looked over to see a blood splattered Arrow next to me. The blood wasn't too far up the arrow, which meant it hadn't gone too deep. Next to that sat the burlap sack with the jewels we had stolen from the nearby city of Alaan.
"What happened?" I questioned further.
He sighed. "Apparently, I hadn't lost the guards. One wasn't too far away, saw us and fired an arrow. I'm pretty sure it was meant for me, but it hit you instead. I would have taken the arrow for you if I’d seen it coming," he smiled again. "You almost fell off the horse along with me," he chuckled. “But I grabbed the reins just in time and lost the guards. I had to take you here."
"And where is here exactly?" I asked, grimacing at the pain again.
"A burrow elf hut." he said. Burrow elves were one of the smallest of elves, standing only two feet tall when they were fully grown. They were some of the nicest elves too, giving only kindness, and willing to share anything. Smart Thomas, for thinking of coming here. The burrow elves wouldn’t mind us using their homes for just a little.
"Sounds like you had a pretty heroic moment out there, huh. Saving me and all." I laughed.
"Yeah, I guess I did." He smiled. I closed my eyes and could faintly make out his voice whispering to me. "Hang in there, Lilly; the bad guys are almost gone," It must have been from when I was passed out, and he was controlling the horse. I smiled at the thought, knowing that he had always been such a caring friend.
"When do you think it's going to heal?" I asked, eyes still closed, mouth still smiling.
"Soon. We just need a proper bandage and you should do pretty well until it heals fully." He brushed off his blood-stained hands on his dark brown pants and stood up, his head inches away from touching the ceiling. He gave me his hand and I gladly took it. As he pulled me up, we grinned at each other. He grabbed the sack and the bloody arrow, making sure that the burrow elves wouldn't come home and think someone had been killed there. We crawled out the door, my side hurting as I did this.
The sky was dimmer now, almost white, and there was no sunshine, since the clouds have covered up the sun. The horse, I noticed, was tied up against a tree, eating dry leaves and grass. I walked over to him, looking at his armor. I rubbed him on his dark brown mane. He looked back at me with sad eyes. He wanted the armor to come off. It was too heavy. I understood him, as that was a gift of female tree elves, to understand animals by touch.
I reached up and pulled off the armor. I continued doing so, all the way down to the iron bracelets guarding his ankles. The horse seemed happier, as did I. The horse would go faster now, with all that armor off him.
"Looks like you’re still strong, after that arrow hit you. Must have been loaded with sleeping potions, seeing that you passed out right when it hit you." Thomas said from behind me.
"I recover fast." I said, mounting the horse. Thomas raced up and touched my arm.
"Hold it there missy. You can't ride with a wound like that."
"I'll be fine. I promise."
"I'm not taking any chances." he breathed. I sighed reluctantly, and got scooted back, closer to the horse's tail. He pulled himself on, and then grabbed the reins.
"Hold on tight." he whispered back to me, even thought there was no one else around except for the horse.
"YAH!"He yelled, and the horse bolted through the woods. I held onto him tightly, leaning into him and resting my head against his back. I closed my eyes and rested, imagining the money we would get for those jewels. I smiled, and I was happy. Not just about the money, but by being with Thomas.
The horse slowed to a stop behind a thick cluster of trees, and we were officially at the village. It was dark, and not many stars twinkled tonight, but the moon was full. Loud music was coming from the center. There was a party going on tonight, which was rare. I pondered my mind for what event might be happening today, which Thomas and I were missing.
Thomas jumped off the horse, but I stayed on, remembering what we missed. My eyes turned wide and I gasped.
"What is it?" Thomas asked curiously.
"Shoot," I whispered. "We forgot elder Mabel's birthday was today!"
Thomas gasped too, and started pacing back and forth. Elder Mable was the oldest elf in our village. The oldest tree elf's that is. From time to time, old elves of another race would come visit us, but by far, Elder Mable was the most special. She was the one who had the most powerful magic, and who appointed winners of contests, or battles. She was kind to everyone, giving advice, and going on with her old cheery self. She gave quotes though, which was the bad side of knowing her.
"What should we do?" Thomas loudly whispered. "What are we going to get her?"
I wondered too, knowing that Elder Mable would be expecting a gift. Now, she wasn’t greedy, but for all that she does for us and the village, we all know she deserves one.
Thomas stopped pacing, and the leaves stopped crunching under his feet. "The jewels!" he said, obviously excited.
"No Thomas, we can't give her the jewels! You and I worked our butts off to get those! I got shot by an arrow, for Pete’s sake!" I loudly whispered back.
"But we have to think of something. We can't just walk into the village with nothing to give her! She'll think that we forgot about her!"
"But we did!" I said back. I looked down at the sack full of jewels resting in front of me. I opened it up, and poured them all out into my hand. There were roughly 17, and a few small bits here and there. Well, we had to do something. And it looked liked this was it.
"Lilly?! What are you doing?" Thomas asked bewildered.
"We could make her some jewelry. Without using too many, one center jewel, and two small ones on the side should do it." I said, looking at him, my eyes telling him that this was the plan.
"Okay, we have the jewels, but how can we make the jewelry? And what are we going to make?" Thomas asked, obviously annoyed. I snatched a vine off a nearby tree.
"We’ll make her a necklace, and we can use this!" I said.
"Great!" Thomas said back
We worked together, carefully and quickly, to wrap the jewels in the thin strip of vine, and using a thicker piece to make the back of the necklace. A small bit of an odd colored sap got onto the necklace, but we didn’t have time to rub it off.
"I think it looks pretty good, if I say so myself." Thomas said.
"Well then, we have ourselves a gift." I replied. We high-fived, and ran towards the village; the lights were hard on my eyes, as we had been traveling and working in the dark. I squinted from the bright lanterns, while Thomas and I winded our way through the village.
“Wait,” Thomas said, as he paused. “What about my shirt? It’s covered in blood and so are my pants…” he then pulled me around the corner and into his small house. Thomas’s house was not a very pretty site, from the outside that is. Dead plants stood around his small wooden structure that he lived in. There was a sign of mold on the side of the house, and the chimney was cracking. But Thomas liked it anyway. He quickly pulled me inside, which was a different story. A fire glowed off to one side, and in front of it sat a small wooden table, containing a vase holding a single red rose. A blue bed rested in one corner. Little paintings stood on the wall. Thomas loved to paint. As I looked at the pictures, I realized that some of them were me.
“I’ll be just a second.” He said, and I nodded. I looked away while he changed into his new clothes. I could hear him shuffling around a lot.
He finally gave the signal, and we went outside. I had to say, he did clean up pretty well after a mad chase filled with stolen goods, angry guards, and stupid arrows. He wore a long-sleeved white shirt, the sleeves a bit poufy. Thin brown pants were on his legs. The blood was cleared off his hands. He actually looked a bit stunning.
“Let’s get a move on.” I said. I gripped the necklace in my hand, as sticky as it was from the sap, and the burlap pouch sat safely in Thomas’s pocket. We went around a small shack, and turned to face the center of the village. The sight was incredible.
Almost everyone in the village was dancing to the beat of the drums, played by a small band. A flute played joyfully, as the villagers danced in a circle, and in the center stood Mable, smiling and laughing. White glowing orbs were coming down from the sky, and entering Mable, making her glow. The glowing orbs were simply energy, going through her to give her another year of strength. Simple human beings couldn't see these orbs, but mystical beings could. Like me, for example.
I looked over and put Mable’s gift on a table next to me that was already overflowing with carefully crafted presents. I felt a tug on my hand, and found that it was Thomas, pulling on my hand.
"Come on!" he shouted over all of the noise. "Let's dance!" I shook my head. Sure I was pretty and adventurous, but dancing was a task I wasn't willing to take on. I’ve never been a particularly good dancer either, which might have contributed to my uneasiness about the activity.
"Please? For me?" Thomas persisted. I rolled my eyes, but Thomas pulled me anyway. I stumbled, not expecting this.
"Thomas! No!" I said back.
"Don't be chicken! Let’s have some fun! You'll like it. You'll see," he said.
God, I hated when Thomas called me a chicken. I always had to take up the challenge when he called me that. It just annoyed me and he knew it, because he was such a bigger chicken than me.
"Fine," I grunted. He smiled and pulled me into the circle. I was shoved and pushed from the people behind me, so luckily Thomas started pulling me. I wasn't exactly dancing, sort of just walking. But Thomas was laughing and smiling the whole time. I had to give in. I smiled too.
I looked over at Mable, with her curly brown hair. She didn't have many wrinkles, even though she was so old. She was two hundred and one and didn’t look a year past fifty. I had the feeling that she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. Another good thing about elves; our appearance ages slowly.
As the last orb of energy shot through her, the music abruptly stopped, and Elder Mable clapped her hands together. "I can't wait to see what everyone has given me." An opening in the circle appeared as she stepped through to the gift table. We all crowded around to watch.
"Now, let’s see what we have here," Mable said. She pulled up a long robe, beautifully crafted. Red and blue swirls danced across its purple fabric. I guessed it was from Nena. She was the most skilled seamstress in our village. "And who is this from?" she said, peering around.
"It's from me, Elder Mable," came a high pitched voice. We turned to see a little girl, her ear tips barely reaching past her eyebrows. Well, I guess I was wrong about the maker.
"You made this? Why, it's splendid!" Mable exclaimed.
"Mummy helped me, too," she replied, tugging on her mother's robe.
Mable just smiled and moved on with her gifts, for each one asking the maker. She finally got to the gift Thomas and I had made, which sat on the very end of the table. She held it up, scowling. "Who made this?" she said.
I nervously raised a hand. Thomas did the same. "Uh... we did, Mable," Thomas said.
"You? H-H....How could you?! Giving me poison!"Mable shouted. The crowd fell silent, and everyone turned to us, hands covering their agape mouths.
What was she talking about? Poison? What poison? We never put poison in her gift!
"S-sorry?" Thomas said, confused at Mable's predicament.
"I can smell it; you put deadly poison on this gift. What is our cause for this? Have I done something wrong?" Mable said fearfully.
"Mable, I promise you, I never put poison on that necklace! We would never try to harm you! We all love you!" I shouted.
"Your actions say otherwise,” she replied quickly. “And you have indeed committed very many crimes beforehand,”
I shook my head in dismay. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
“I'm ashamed and baffled by what you have done. I have no other choice but to put you in the prison," Mable spoke harshly.
I clutched Thomas's shirt tightly. My eyes grew wide with fear. Prison? We had done many unruly acts before, but it had never resulted in prison! I took a step back ward, but Thomas stayed stiff.
"Prison?" I said. Mable just looked at me harshly, as I felt someone grab me from behind. I realized it was the guards. I kicked and screamed as I was dragged through the crowd. Thomas was letting himself be dragged, still shocked.
"We are innocent! Let us go!" I grunted. The guard didn't reply, he just pulled me harder. I kicked up dirt, which tumbled around the four of us. I could see people huddling around Mable, who was shaking her head in disbelief. No one seemed to hear my pleas, as I shouted into the night.
Thomas and I were pulled, pulled to the end of our life as we knew it. Little critters scampered away when they heard me screaming. The guard finally decided to put a rag over my mouth. It was dirty.
We were dragged us to a small carriage, where there was supposed to be a quaint roof over our heads and a nice little sitting area. But no, we got a cell instead. A dwarf sat in the front, wearing a dirty red cap and trousers. He had a short beard, gray with strands of white. He smirked at us and laughed.
“Trouble makers always get what they deserve,”
“No, no. I can’t make another stop,” Came a muffled voice. I pressed ear closer to the hard dark wood separating me and the carriage driver. I heard grumbling, and then a quiet shout, that seemed to be distant.
“Sylvia, stop! I am not stopping at our house tonight. I have two prisoners I need to deliver,” There was a pause. “I don’t care if you made mashed potatoes. Yet alone pig liver! Wait, did you say squirrel? Wait, don’t distract me! I got to go. Bye!”
I heard a click and the talking stopped. Apparently the dwarf up front had been found by a messenger bird from his wife. Messenger birds were birds that you can send out, while you stay comfortably at home or where ever you are. Furthermore, you get to see through the eyes of the bird as it tracks down the person you are sending the message to. You may talk also, which also proves very helpful. But messenger birds are not pets, they have to be caught to be able to use. If only I had a messenger bird right now. I might just be able to take care of this mess.
I looked around the dark gloomy forest around us. I didn’t know what was out there at this time of night, so I actually felt a little bit safe inside the cage as it slowly rumbled to our doom.
Now the only sounds were the carriage clopping against the slick gray stones on the ground. I looked over at Thomas. He was shivering, but it wasn’t cold. His eyes looked far and distant, as if he was watching someone in another dimension. I focused my attention on a small deer, prancing through the woods. Even though it was dark, elves had a small hint of night vision in them. But sadly, it was not enough to see what was lurking around in the woods, just enough to see a small deer bounding over to the side of the cell.
The deer came over to me, and started hopping around keeping up with the pace of the carriage. I pet its small brown snout through the bars of the cell. “Hi!” it thought.
“Hello,” I thought back. The deer eyed me skeptically, its light brown fur shining in the lantern over the carriage.
“Why are you so sad?” it wondered.
“Because of this,” I sighed, gesturing to the metal cell we were trapped in.
“Oh,” It responded, and then bounced away into the woods. I felt lonelier than ever, even though Thomas was in the cell with me.
The carriage went over a large bump, and it made the cell rattle. “Um, Thomas. Are you okay?”I asked nervously.
He gave me a quick glance, and then looked away. “Are you?” he said softly.
“I guess not,” I whispered. I hugged my knees to my chest and but my chin in between them. I thought about what happened with Mable. Had there really been poison on the necklace? Was it even possible for a poison necklace to exist? Was it the jewels? But it couldn’t have been the jewels, because I had handled them and nothing was wrong with me.
What if we were being framed? That had to be it. But who would hate us so much to do such a thing? Actually, a lot of people hated us, mainly the guards. But because of the treaty that the mortals had with the elves, the mortals were not allowed to purposefully harm us, or kill us for that matter. Except if we did a crime, which Thomas and I have done many times before.
I tried to think about all the things we had stolen in our lives. The jewels, obviously, we had stolen from a merchant’s carriage earlier today. The boots I was wearing, hazelnut with a lining of fur on the inside, had been stolen from a tailor approximately 23 miles away from here. Thomas’s tunic, blue with strands of gold, had been stolen from a rich man, who was shopping at the time we committed the crime. There were a number of things we had stolen ranging from lousy pieces of bread to satchels of gold, containing enough money to provide us a winter’s worth of food.
What if someone had got us back just to keep us from stop stealing things? It could be possible. I sighed and closed my eyes.
“You made a promise to me, you know?”Came Thomas’s soft whisper.
“What are you talking about?”I said back, eyes still closed.
“When we started you know, stealing things, you promised me you wouldn’t let us go to jail. You promised me. But here we are now. We are going to jail. You didn’t keep your promise,” He replied
He was staring at me now, and I was very uncomfortable. No, it was not the stare making me uncomfortable, it was the fact that he was right.
Three years ago, when we had committed our first crime, stealing 403 pieces of gold, during our escape I had promised him we wouldn’t get caught. We would never go to jail. I said this because of the frightened look in his eyes when we ran, villagers chasing us, weapons help high. But I had intended to keep that promise. I remembered grabbing his hand as we ran, and holding it tight, whispering don’t worry, over and over again.
But Thomas was also wrong at the same time. Even though I had made that promise to him, this was not my fault we were going to jail. We hadn’t put poison on Mable’s necklace. Someone or something else did.
“Thomas you know we didn’t do what happened back there. You can’t be mad at me!” I said.
Thomas didn’t say anything except for whispering “You promised,”
I must have dozed off because the next thing I was hearing was that annoying little dwarf saying “Ooo, you’re going to get it bad,” I looked around and noticed that daylight had come, and the carriage was going over a wide bridge paved with stone. Oh no. We were coming into the town’s prison.
Guards snickered as the carriage passed, taunting me and Thomas in our little cage.
“Look what we have here,” One of them said coming close up to the cage. The other guard’s laughed. “We knew we were going to catch you two someday. I guess that today! Enjoy your prison filthy scum.” The guard snickered. He kicked the side of the cell and it rattled sending me over to the side. More laughter erupted from the guards.
“Just shut up you oversized muddy pig!”Thomas yelled. The laughing stopped, and the guard looked back at us, rage in his eyes.
“How dare you insult one of the king’s men!” he replied.
“I don’t care about you and your stupid men. You’re all filthy idiots,” Thomas spat. I wondered why he was being so mean to the guards.
“ Jenkins, stop the cart,” the guard spoke seriously. Apparently, it was the dwarf who was named Jenkins, because at that moment, the cart careened forward, sending me back to my original spot.
The guard grabbed the cell keys and opened the door. Thomas was grabbed by his shirt, and yanked out. But Thomas was fast, he grabbed back onto the cell as the guard pulled, sending it toppling over. I quickly scrambled out.
“Get the girl!” the guard shouted, and before I knew it, I was being held by three muscular guards, shining in their silver chain metal. Two were at my arms, another, holding a knife to my neck. Thomas was finally pried from the cage, and set against one of the wooden posts against the bridge.
His hands were tied around it, and his shirt was ripped open from the back. Suddenly a whip came slashing across it. “No!” I screamed. I tried to struggle away from the guards but they held on tight, and the knife pressed against my neck even harder.
Thomas cried out at the pain, a long open slash mark was against his back, glistening with red blood. I cried out too, as Thomas was my best friend. More whips came, followed by more cries and grunts from Thomas. I could see that he was gritting his teeth at the pain. Tears were streaming down my face, as he was hurt countless times again.
“Stop it!” I screamed, my voice strained over Thomas’s cries. The guard turned to me.
“Would you like to take his place?” he asked a cruel smile on his face.
I nodded vigorously. “Yes,” I said, tears getting into my mouth.
“No!”Thomas cried. “I can take the pain! Don’t do this Lilly!”
“Aw, isn’t that sweet. The boy elf cares about the girl,” The guard sneered. Then suddenly, I recognized him. The guard chasing us! The one whose friend I had knocked down from the tree. Now I understood why he was being so cruel.
“Just stop it,” I cried. The guard considered this.
“I might as well, he’s being too loud and it’s getting quite annoying,” he said. He untied Thomas’s hands, and threw him to the ground. Other guards hurriedly scrambled to hoist him up and hold him tight.
“Take these two to their cell. Top level,” The guard instructed the men. The men nodded, and Thomas and I started being leaded to the Prison. I could now see his shirt covered in blood, his back gleaming with many fresh scars.
I wanted to run and comfort him, or at least talk to him, but I was worried another punishment would just be bestowed upon us.
We entered the prison through a cavernous door, leading into a long hall, filled with the stench of meat and muck. I was disgusted. We turned right and then were lead up a tall star case. We passed by many doors on the way which I figured were just more hallways containing more prison cells. It was a long and treacherous hike up the stairs, and I couldn’t keep track of how many flights we were going up. There were gold plates every twenty steps or so containing the floor number, but like I said, I couldn’t keep track. That was mainly because my eyes were averted onto Thomas’s back the whole time. We must have walked for a long time because I was simply out of breath when we finally reached the top floor.
“In you go slugs,” One of the guards said with a gruff voice, and pushed me and Thomas through one of the small wooden doors. Then we were led down the long stone hallway, which smelled faintly of manure. Rows and rows of large, barred, cells passed us as we continued walking. Shout and cries came from the lonely beings, trapped. None of the prisoners were human though. Some were large half man half tiger creatures. Others were lovely maidens which then transformed into terrible demons. Some were even greasy little trolls with spikes on their back, or goblins, picking at their long yellow fingernails. As evil as they looked, they all pleaded for help. I wondered if Thomas and I would do the same, when we were trapped in our new home for life.
At the end of the hallway was the first empty cell I’ve seen. The guard holding Thomas fumbled for his keys on his sash, but got a hold of them and opened the creaky door. Thomas and I were shoved rudely, and the door closed behind us. Echoes of laughter came from the guards as the jogged hurriedly out of the hallway, most likely to get away from all the terrible creatures in there. To get away from us.
When the door finally shut, I turned to face Thomas and lunged at him, despite all the blood he was drenched in.
“Oh god, Thomas! Why were you so foolish!”I said embracing him a big hug.
“Ow,” He said, and gently pushed me away. He looked at me, showing pain and sadness in those deep blue and brown eyes of his. “I was trying to let you escape,” he mumbled, and looked away.
How could I not have known?! He risked his life for me by being rude to the guards. If only I had known, maybe I could have gotten out faster. I started to cry, and put my face in my hands.
“But how could you do that? You were being so foolish!”I cried. He wrapped his arms around me, to comfort me in this time of need.
“I would be a fool, not to help you,” he said. I looked up at him, tears still in my eyes.
“Really? So does that mean you forgive me? About the promise I mean,” I asked.
“Yeah, I guess. I could never stay mad at you. But those guards are something else. And not in a good way!” he replied.
“Could you keep it down over there you two love birds?! Some of us are trying to escape over here!” A gruff voice shouted at us. I turned and saw one of those half tiger half man creatures in the cell directly across from us. His skin was covered in thick slabs of auburn fur, sticking up at every angle you could imagine. He had lime green eyes, and a large scar on his neck. As he turned and continued working on what we had interrupted, I saw that he too, had scars on his back. I wondered if he had gotten whipped by the guards too, Like Thomas. The only article of clothing he was wearing was expensive looking green pants, with little swirls of white here and there.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to disturb you,” Thomas said. He and I sat down at a little bench in the back. There was one window in this cell, but it too, had bars on it. It was high up, and was a bit slanted, which meant if it rained, it would land on us. Dark green moss lined the corners of the room, and brittle cracks were covering most of the slabs of stones creating the wall. A few cockroaches here and there, termites pecked away at the bench. I didn’t know how we were supposed to get used to this place. But I sighed, taking in the reality of this situation.
“Well, home sweet home,” I said quietly, not wanting to disturb the man-tiger again.
“Home sweet home,” Thomas repeated.
The rain pelted us like we were ants caught in a thunderstorm. It came down endlessly through the slanted window, which taunted us, preventing our escape. Me and Thomas tried standing on the far side of the cell, away from the window, but the rain came anyway, making us shiver at its cold temperature. Mist flew in through the window as well, spraying out faces. The tall dark prison tower was probably soaked now, and I was worried that it was going to collapse, as it swayed a little under the strong winds of the storm. Thomas and I huddled together, trying to make each other warm, but it was no use. Goosebumps still invited themselves onto my arms.
We had been here roughly six days, almost a week. It had been treacherous. Once a day, the prison guards brought us a small plate with dry and moldy meat on it. The meat included bits of fur here and there. I decided not to eat it. Tree elves could go moths without eating, as our body always stored up tremendous amounts of energy. The other thing that we were served was a goopy greenish liquid. I guessed it was like water. I also guessed that the goopy parts were either fish poop, or algae. I decided not to drink that either.
We had had long nights of painful sleep, when bed bugs and ticks came up at bit at us. Thomas’s hair now itched because he had gotten fleas from one of the animals in the prison. The bench was hard to sleep on, but it provided better use from sleeping material than the soggy floor did, so we decided to take turns sleeping on it. Sadly, his nice shirt had gotten very dirty too, considering it had been ripped open from the back.
But the worst part was the weather. It had rained three times since we’d been there. This was the third. Every time we had gotten socked, and had to live with wet clothes for a day or two, until the next rain came, and made us wet again. Even though I loved the rain, it was getting pretty hard to stand at the moment. I wished for heat in the upcoming days.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it, if you’re here long enough. Or if they don’t kill you first…” someone said, and interrupted my thought. Me and Thomas whipped our heads around and saw that the man-tiger was talking to us again. He was obviously talking about the rain.
“Uh, thanks for the hopefulness boost,” I said, trying to sound appreciative. Even though the man-tiger was trying to cheer us up, he still talked in his gruff and evil-sounding voice.
The man tiger studied us for a moment. “How much trouble have you two gotten yourselves into?” he questioned.
“Lots,” Thomas and I both replied at the same time we explained how we had gotten here, and about Mable and how we were framed. We also told him about our various sets of crimes.
“We’ll then I’m glad I gave you a hope boost, or whatever you call it, because you’ll need a lot of it. And luck wouldn’t hurt either,”
“What are you talking about?” Thomas asked. The man tiger looked away for a moment. I noticed that his fur had been matted down by the rain, and was glimmering with mist.
“I’ve been here for a long time. The reason I got in was because I murdered a man,” He turned to us and chuckled. “Hope that doesn’t scare you too much,” I remembered when I’d almost thought I’d murdered a man by kicking him off a tree. I’d felt terrible about it. “So anyway, they gave me a trial, which will happen to you tomorrow. They sentenced me a life in prison and a whipping, which is what these scars on my back are for. He turned and showed us the long thin patches of red skin, lining his back. They too, were wet.
“But seeing that you guys have done so much, I wouldn’t be surprised that if at your trial, they sentence you to death,” He paused. “I’m Begregard by the way,” He added randomly.
I sucked in a long breath, trying to calm myself down. But it was no use. Begregard was right. In a way, lots of people thought we deserved to die.
“Is there any way to change their opinion?”Thomas asked him hopefully. Begregard shook his head.
“Not unless you smuggle them a lot of poison, claiming that they are eternal life potions. They would die for those... literally,”
“What are eternal life potions?” I asked curiously.
“You need not know about those right now,” Begregard said. “They will corrupt your life,”
I realized I was directing us away from the subject, and continued back on track. “So is there any way that we can escape?” I asked with a hint of hope in my words.
“Maybe, with lots of luck. I’ve been trying for years though, and I haven’t found myself successful. But you two would be fools trying to escape this prison! They have guards everywhere, trying to keep all the demons out! If you escaped, many other could find that same way to escape too, harming our world in various ways,”
Thomas and I looked at each other, and knew exactly what each of us was thinking.
“We will escape. No matter if we die trying,” He said bravely, eying me instead of Begregard while he said it,” A gave a small smile, my face beaming with confidence.
“Suit yourself. You guys are both nothing more than dead pork roasting on a single flame,” Begregard turned around and began working on a device to help him escape.
Begregard was right. There were guards right outside these walls, willing to kill anyone who trespassed or escaped. There was the matter of how do we escape? And there was also the problem of letting demons get loose and run free over the land. But as I said before, we live for these moments.
My chin was resting on our small slanted window. I looked out into the unbearable heat. Here in Cradle ridge, the weather was drastic. A hurricane could come one day, and a perfect sunshiny day the next. It had been raining this morning. But the weather had cleared up just as fast as it had started.
I was waiting. Waiting for the very beginning of my plan. It was a hard one. But I was sure I could d it. Thomas sat on the ground behind me, chipping away at our wooden bench with a sharp stone. He was creating a grappling hook. Not a perfect one though. That would be nearly impossible without a real carving knife.
He looked up from his work. “You seen one yet?”He asked impatiently.
“No. Not yet,” I replied. But then luck struck. I looked off the left and there I saw our only hope. A crimson red messenger bird was soaring right past our floor. “Wait! Here one comes!” I whispered back to Thomas, not wanting to scare the bird.
I leaned my head back, and crooned like a messenger bird would. It looked over at me, but continued flying. ‘Darn it,’ I thought. I just had to get close enough to it. I leaned my head back once more and crooned. The messenger bird seemed to think I was another of its kind. I’m glad that they had small brains. No one else would have thought that something a hundred times of its size would be of the same species.
It flew over to me gently, expanding its wings to land. It was just tiny enough to fit through the bars. But when it saw me fully, it began to retreat, realizing I was indefinitely not a messenger bird also. But this was our only plan of escape before our trial. We had to make this plan work.
“Grab it!” Thomas screamed. I reached out with both my hands and squeezed the bird as it flapped away furiously. I held on as tight as I could, trying not to let the flimsy bird escape.
I pulled it down into our cell. I could see that Begregard was watching suspiciously. I held it tight until it finally stopped flapping and rested in my scratched up hands.
“I want you to take a message for me,” I said with certain intent. “It is to the guard with the long black hair and dark armor. His name is Cerberus. Can you do that for me?” the bird nodded. I could not understand its thoughts, which was disappointing to me. Maybe being in this cell so long had taken away some of my magic.
“Okay. He will be on the bridge, right outside the prison. Now go!” I gently pushed it out the window and it flew off, spiraling toward the bridge. I caught a glimpse of the bird circling, as I could see through its eyes. Thomas sat up in position. I held his hand, an enabled him to see through the bird’s eyes instead of me. I wondered how it looked through a bird’s point of view. It must be beautiful to see from so high up. I looked at Thomas and his eyes were moving under his eye lids, obviously taking the magnificence in.
Suddenly Thomas grumped. I looked out the window to peer down at the guards, still holding Thomas’s hand. I could just make out a tiny red object flapping over the head guard’s helmet.
“Who has sent for me?” Cerberus boomed. Since I had big ears, it was easy for me to hear their conversation.
“It is I, your king Venimos,” Thomas said in a fake, tired sounding accent.
“Your majesty,” Cerberus replied, and bowed down to the bird. The other guards copied this movement. They rose, and the guard cleared his throat, not aware that he was only speaking to a prisoner. “Why have you sent for us?” the guard asked.
“There is trouble in the city. You must come here at once, and deal with the damage done. We have been invaded by bandits and many homes and families are in danger,” Thomas spoke.
“That is strange. What about our barriers?”
“The guards were, uh, taking a bathroom break. Small bladders they carry,” I had to force myself not to giggle at that one.
“Yes your majesty. I understand. Guards! Move out!”Cerberus shouted to his fellow men. He waved his arm, and a massive wave of guards came running. A horn was blown and a group of guards marched out of this building. They ran for the horse stables, and began to mount.
“But what about us, Cerberus?” a guard standing by the prison door asked. I noticed that there were four guards guarding the door.
“You stay here. Though I doubt anything will happen…”Cerberus answered. And with that, a hoard of guards took off onto the forest road, heading to a problem that never existed, Ordered by a king who did not ask them too. I was amazed at how gullible he was. The king’s city was at least a day away, giving us plenty of time to escape.
The messenger bird flew off. It had done its job well. It turned to Thomas and hugged him violently, never so proud of him in my life. “You did it!” I squealed.
“Yeah, I guess I did,” He said back. I hugged him again, overcome with happiness.
“Job well done you two. That was most impressive,” Said Begregard. “But how are you going to carry out your plan?”
“We have it under control,” Thomas said. I looked into his eyes and smiled. He was always so trustworthy, always so brave...we had tricked the guards, and now we could escape…
I laughed, so relieved. Tears came to my eyes. We were getting out! We weren’t going to die! Sadly, I didn’t know it. But boy was I wrong.
“Okay, steady, steady! Now go!” I said. Thomas pulled the grappling hook and cloth with all his might. The skin on his hands was rubbed off as he pulled. I was pulling on the cell door too.
“I can’t! It’s too hard!” Thomas grunted. The muscles on his arms rippled. Veins popped out on his neck. He look like he was about to scream. Me and Him were attempting to pry open the door, using the wooden grapping hook he had carved, and the rest of his shirt nice shirt (thank god he sacrificed it!). I was so worried because the grappling hook had holes, since it had been infested with termites. Every few seconds a crack would be heard. Think it was the door, we would stop and check, but it was only the grappling hook breaking.
We had only a few more pulls until the grappling hook snapped. But we had hope, like Begregard had said we’d need. Begregard was actually watching from his cell, amazed at our team work. I felt bad, because he had been trying to escape for so long, and we had devised a fool proof plan in six days. We were thieves, after all. We always had a plan.
“Come one Thomas! One more time! Pull!” he let out a groan, and pulled, his feet nearly falling out from under him. Suddenly, I heard a click. We both stopped dead. Thomas dropped the shirt and looked at me, eyes wide open. I did the same
Stupid grins formed on our faces, and I knew they would stay there for a while. I did a roundhouse kick at the door and it flew open. I took my first steps out into the hallway. Thomas followed.
Shouts came from the other prisoners, poking their heads out of cells to see what was going on. I took Thomas’s hands and I jumped around like an idiot. He laughed at how goofy I was being.
“Never in my life...Will you take me with you?” Begregard said, his hands gripping the bars of his cell. I wasn’t sure if we should take him or not. We had to get out of here and fast. The sun was almost done setting, and the first few stars had already uncloaked themselves to the eyes of weary travelers. But he was our closest friend here, and that wasn’t very close. He’d been mostly kind to us, unlike the guards or those pesky demons that were so annoying.
“We have to get the keys first. But we’ll come back,” I said reluctantly. I took Thomas’s hand and he nodded. We sprinted down the corridor, as cries of anguish came from the other cells.
“Take me with you!”
“I’m dying, let me go!”Were just a few of the examples of the cries. Thomas and I paid them no attention. We burst through the door, and jogged down the staircase. We passed many hallways, and for every hallway we passed, more shouts came. I noted that there were 56 floors in all. We, of course, just happened to be on the top.
Thomas and I quickly got to the bottom, and paused. Four guards were still lurking out there, ready to kill anyone who came out or came in. We, of course, had no intention of killing anyone. That would just get us in even more trouble. But the guards were easy. Elves like us come with another special quality. And that, my friends, is lightning fast reflexes. I was prepared to take on the guards, one way or another.
Thomas and I both took in a big breath, and pushed open the door. Soft sunlight trickled in, nearly blinding me. I could have stayed here staring at the beautiful sky forever, but we had other problems to worry about. The guards, luckily, were not at the door, but rather in the middle of the bridge, playing poker and eating stew. But they had noticed us, and were shouting and pointing their swords in our direction.
He turned to me. His eyes asked me if I were ready. I was. I ran forward, Me, Thomas, and the guards colliding. I jumped and kicked the tallest guard in the side of the head, while Thomas used a guard like leapfrog, jumping over him then kicking the back of his head. The guard I was fighting staggered, and was about to fall when I kicked him again, this time from the other side. I quickly jolted forward and punched him right under the chin, so that his head went up and nearly touched his back. He fell down, eyes closed. It might sound strange, but the world seems to go in slow motion every time I’m fighting, or when I’m in a dire situation. This situation was obviously the first one.
I moved onto the next guard, noticing Thomas had already knocked out one as well. The guard lunged at me, sword pointed forward. But I dodged to the side and grabbed the sword hilt, pulling it free. The guard was shocked, and was about to yell at me, but I pounded the hilt of the sword into the side of his head. As I said before, when I’m fighting I see the world in slow motion. Well this was just like that. The guards face rippled as it came in contact with the sword .After that came his knee. His legs buckled and he dropped like a dead moth. This made me smile. I quickly picked up his sword, and ran over to Thomas who delivered the final blow to the guard he was fighting.
Thomas and I stood over the unconscious bodies of the four guards. We were both breathing heavily, “That was a blast, don’t you think?” Thomas asked. I nodded, laughing. We high fived and grabbed two of the guards swords just in case. We sprinted for the stables, which were at the far corner of the bridge.
I grabbed the reins of a white horse with black spots, making it look like a cow. Thomas chose a chestnut brown horse that bucked when he sat on it. Even though we could have spent time laughing about it, we had to get out of there before any more guards arrived. We saddled up, and took off into the fading light of the sun.
We’d gotten away. There wouldn’t be a trial. But everything was so wrong at the moment. We were outlaws. We had been framed for trying to poison Mable. We were wanted for our heads. I peered over at Thomas, riding gracefully down the winding road. We sped up whenever we heard a noise, which was most of the time. A snap of a twig, leaves rustling; it was probably the wind or some small animal, but we weren’t taking any chances.
We rode until both of us were tired and sweaty. The temperature was dropping quickly, and I could imagine that Thomas was very cold due to the fact that he was missing a shirt.
“Let’s stop,” I finally said. Thomas nodded.
“Okay,” he said, clearly out of breath. It sounded a bit like he had been the horse, running all that time. I felt sad, because he had been trying to act strong all this time, even though everything was so out of place.
I set up a small fire as the moon began to show itself. Thomas went out scouting for food and shelter. He came back with a few provisions, but no luck of shelter anywhere. I guess we would have to just stay out here for the night. We were runaways, and that was official. I was scared out of my mind, but had to act strong. We were being chased by our worst enemies, and were being accused of crimes we didn’t commit. Who would do something like this? It had to be someone who wanted us dead. But who would want to kill us?
I breathed in the smoky incense of the Maple tree I was resting against. God, the night was cold. Come to think of it, I really should have just taken some of the guard’s armor to begin with…But I shouldn’t be thinking of the cold at this moment. Lilly and I needed to get away from this problem. We needed to escape. But how? I’d been racking my mind for so long trying to figure out a solution to this devastation. I needed to protect Lilly. Get her to safety. That was my main priority at the moment. I had given up so much for her… Mainly because I loved her so much. When I first met her at three only three years old, I know it sounds completely cheesy, but the look in her bright happy eyes told me she was the one. I was destined to spend every second I could with her. She was always so happy, so carefree, so risk taking, so daring and adventurous; everything I loved.
I intertwined my fingers around her pearly locks, her head resting in my lap. She’d fallen asleep about five minutes after we’d decided to take camp here. She was tired. I was tired. But she’d drifted off during her watch, so I had to take her place. I had to make sure no harm came to her. We were going to get through this together, one way or another. Even through everything that was happening I had to stay strong, even if it meant concealing my feelings for Lilly’s sake.
I heard a snap off to my side and spun my head around, revealing only a small chestnut colored rabbit hopping through the woods. I slowly reached for my sword, wondering if I could possibly spear it for a snack in the morning. Trying not to wake Lilly, I only shifted the upper half of my body, my hands tightening around the swords metal base. The rabbit sensed my intentions and ran off before I could even raise my weapon. I sighed, and let go of the sword. Lilly shifted in her sleep, and rolled over, head still in my lap. Was she having a bad dream? I hoped not. Even if she was, she would really appreciate a nice snack in the morning…Maybe I should just stay awake, and make sure no other possible breakfast items strolled through our small camp.
But it was getting late, and my eyelids were getting heavy. Sleep whispered to me, drawing me into it like a child to chocolate. I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I closed my eyes, and let the sound of Lilly’s breathing drift me off to sleep.
And when I dreamed, I dreamed about Begregard. The promise we had broken. And how we had left him in his cell. To be alone. To hurt. To feel betrayed. To die.
“Enjoying running for your life?” a harsh raspy voice came. I spun around, but didn’t see anything because it was dark. My night vision wasn’t working.
“Who’s there?” I asked. I was panting for some strange reason. I kept turning around, but all I saw was blackness. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a face appeared. I could not see the eyes, as they were hidden by a dark cloak. Black hair cascaded down the sides of the high cheekbones. Pale lips smiled cruelly at me. I wanted to run, I wanted to scream, but something was restraining me too.
“You will pay. For the mistakes you have made. For the life you’ve cost,” She spoke. The evil grin grew wider as she spoke.
“What have I done?!” I screamed. “What did I do?!” But she just laughed and disappeared.
I woke up from my terrible dream. My head was in Thomas’s lap. His fingers were entwined in my hair. Even though he was shirtless, and it had been freezing last night, he was still warm. I wiped the dream away from my thoughts, as I didn’t want to think or talk about it right now.
I can vaguely remember last night at the fire, laughing about stupid stuff, trying to take our minds off things. I was supposed to have the first watch, but I fell asleep before I could start patrol. I hope nothing had been stolen.
I sat up, rubbing my eyes at the harsh sunlight. I looked over at Thomas, but he didn’t stir. I got to my feet and stretched, cracking my back, and doing arm flexes. I walked over to the burned out ashes of the fire, and it might seem stupid, but I took some and with my fingers, rubbed to lines across each of my cheeks, like I was prepared to go fight for an army. I remembered doing it as a kid and playing with Thomas and fought around. Mom would always get mad at me for… Mom… Tears sprang to my eyes. I shook the thought from my mind.
“Good morning outlaw,” Thomas yawned.
“Oh, save it.” I said. He noticed the ‘paint’.
“Are we going to work for the army or something, because I don’t think I’m ready for that?”He said sarcastically. I rolled my eyes “Are you ok?” he said, noticing the small tears. “I – I wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. I’m sorry if you took it the wrong way.”
“No, I’m fine, just, memories. “I said, leaning down at eating some of the berries Thomas had gathered.
“Well memories are a good thing, you know,” He replied. He scooped some of the ashes and made the same marks on his cheeks as I had. I smiled. “Speaking of memories, we forgot something.”
“And what would that be?”
“Something that starts with a B.”
“B, B, B……oh my gosh. Begregard. We left him…”
“Yeah, I know. I was thinking about it last night.”
“We can’t go back. We just can’t.”
“I know.” Thomas looked down, obviously feeling just as guilty as I did.
“So what’s our plan for today?” He asked. I thanked him silently for changing the subject.
“Just going around, running for our lives, and being chased by people who want to murder us. The usual, I guess.”
He laughed. “Then let’s get on our way. The guards have probably been to the prison. That means we need to get out of here, and fast,” I began to mount my horse.
“Hey Lilly?”He said quietly.
“Yeah?” I said back
“Where are we going to go?”
I was struck with a question that I couldn’t answer, mostly because we didn’t have anywhere to go. Once the guards noticed that we were gone, they’d be warning villagers and cities about turning us in. Posters would be hung up. We’d be in a lot more danger than we were now. But we had to solve this unexplainable mystery. Who had tried to get us killed? Besides the guards, who could hate us that much? We had to head for a far away city, where it would take the guards quite a while to get the news of us to.
“How about Meldon?”I said. And when I said it, I immediately regretted it. It was where Thomas’s brother had gotten killed by a sorceress. He had died bravely, for a very worthy cause. Saving Thomas’s life.
Thomas’s brother, Antol had worked for a wizard, mending the cauldron, running errands, helping him through troubled times. He had saved the wizard’s life once, in a battle with the same sorceress who had killed him. This happened because Antol had been a skilled mage in many different areas. He had found the wizard on a cliff edge, battling the sorceress. He was a kind man, and tried to help. Luckily, he succeeded. The sorceress fled the scene, and the wizard had never been so grateful. He took Antol in as his own, teaching him the ways of a wizard. One day, about three years later, when Thomas was only ten years old, Antol was out, exploring the woods for ingredients as he always did, and got a surprise attack from the sorceress. The sorceress was infuriated, and had been trying to get Antol back for years. She was weak, but had just a bit of magic left in her. She offered Antol a choice. To give his life to her or to take his most loved one away from him. This had been Thomas. He gave in, and was killed, sparing his brother’s life.
And now, Thomas hated Meldon, for the sorceress and his brother’s death. But I thought of it because of the wizard. He might be able to help us in this situation.
Thomas’s eyes, I could see, were filled with pain. “I’m sorry,” I said. “It’s just a good place for information. If you don’t want to…”
“No, it’s fine,” Thomas whispered. I noticed a small tear trickle down his cheek. He did the same as me and mounted his horse. Wow, we had just woken up and we’d already both cried today. I sheathed my sword in a bag that the horse carried. Thomas put his around his belt. We got back on track and found our way to the road.
“Meldon it is,” Thomas said. “Yah!”That seemed to trigger both horses. We bolted down a mountain, watching the sunrise. The moon was still in the sky, but it was fading away at the glorious hues of pink, red and purple that the sun put off.
We had trouble following the road signs, as they were all pointed in directions where roads weren’t. So whenever we came to a sign, we just followed the direction the arrow was pointing in, road or not. There were a few times when we came to a river and were forced to follow it down stream until we found a way around it. It took a long time. It was nearing night time, and we weren’t even halfway to getting to Antol.
“We have to stop,” I panted. Thomas looked over at me, bags forming under his almond shaped eyes. “But we have to keep going, “I turned my eyes back onto our path, our main goal.
Just when we were about to pass out, more trouble headed our way. We were in a small clearing in the woods, moon high above our heads, casting down our only light, when a group of goblins came out of the bushes. They were all short, with greasy green skin, and small slits for their glowing yellow eyes. They were dressed in rags, but had many varieties of weapons.
“Well well well, luck has struck us, boys! A couple of travelers to kill, and steal their things,” Said the fattest one. He had on a ripped blue cap, and a brown coat with covered his whole body. In his hand was a glove with spikes sticking out of the ends; for slashing people to death, probably. He had a quiver of arrows on his back, and in his spiked glove was a bow. There were five others in this goblin group, with all sorts of various and weapons.
“Thomas, I think it’s time to go,” I said quietly. He nodded but didn’t move. He pointed to the arrows. He didn’t want us to get hit as we were riding out. The goblins took a step closer.
“This is going to be fun,” The goblin said, sneering at us with an evil grin. I didn’t know what to do.
“GET THEM!!!”The goblin shouted, and a small group of goblins lunged at us. I did a spin kick knocking two goblins down at once. One tried to get up but I kicked him in the side. I was finding that kicking was very useful in fights. I had used it many times, and it had saved me many times. The unfortunate part was my horse. I had gotten off it to fight, and a goblin had misfired its arrow which ended up in his neck…This wasn’t really what I was planning for. But we had to continue on.
Thomas had it easy. Even though he had four goblins on him, he was a fighting machine. He had already taken down two goblins. One of them was the leader. I smiled. “Catch!” I yelled. Thomas turned to me and grabbed the sword I had thrown. I ran over and pushed another goblin out of the way. Strangely enough, this was really easy. First time fighting goblins, and Thomas and I were naturals.
I heard a small whine as a goblin crumpled under his Thomas’s swords. I cheered. Our second battle on the run and everything had gone o.k. “Let’s go. I’m pooped,” He sighed. He dropped the swords and they clattered to the ground. Frankly, I didn’t care if we left them. They were just another reminder of our un-glorious past.
Thomas jumped back on his horse, which unlike mine, was unharmed. “Uh, Thomas. My horse it dead, if you haven’t noticed…”I said. Thomas peered over at my horse’s lifeless body and shrugged.
“Well that sucks. You want to ride on mine?” he asked, and patted the place behind him. I shook my head.
“The horse is too tired. I should probably just run beside you,”
“But you’re tired too!” he protested.
“It’s okay, I can manage…”I saw something move behind him. But it wasn’t an animal. It was another goblin. The one I had pushed over. In its hand I saw the gleaming metal claw its leader had used.
“Thomas! Behind you!” I screamed. Thomas whipped his head around, but the goblin leaped, scratching Thomas. He screamed out in pain as blood dripped from the four identical scratch marks that went diagonally across his chest. “Oh god,” I started swearing under my breath. I needed to get Thomas out of there.
Grabbing a bow and arrow that a goblin had dropped, I hit the goblin right on its neck. It fell. That had been its final stand. And it would be Thomas’s final stand if he didn’t get out of there soon.
I sprinted to Thomas’s side. His eyelids kept flickering open, even if he closed them. “Thomas, listen to me. You’re going to be okay, you hear me? You’re going to be okay!” I screamed, patting him on the side of his face. He drifted off, and collapsed in his saddle. “Thomas!” I screamed one last time. But I realized I didn’t have time to talk to his unconscious self.
Using all of my strength I picked him up and whirled him around so that he lay sideways on the horse saddle, his arms and legs hanging off either side. My clothes were dripping with blood, and my white hair was stained with red streaks. I tugged on the horses reins, telling it to move forward.
Just follow me. I instructed it. It nodded and whined as it kicked up its front legs.
“Whoa!” I yelled. “Don’t make Thomas fall off,” It settled down and its deep brown eyes gleamed. I pat its side, and took off sprinting into the dark forest
You know that feeling you get when everything’s wrong. Like you just want to fall down and collapse under all the pressure that you’re in? Because that’s pretty much how I felt on the entire run to the nearest sign of civilization. My legs had almost given out, and were straining with every movement I made. I was breathing heavily; sweat forming on my brow, and it trickled down the side of my face and washed away the rest of the war lines on my cheeks that had not yet been destroyed by my tears. I panted like the horse next to me, who was currently carrying the unconscious form of Thomas. I desperately wanted to get onto the horse, but the weight of two elves would be too much for the horse to handle. My eyes kept flickering back in forth in the dark shrubbery. Finding a village in the woods is like trying to find a moose in the desert; impossible.
I held onto the horses reins for help, but help isn’t what I got. Instead, the horse kept moving its head back and forth, trying to shake my hand off. It was not a good situation for me. On the other hand I was tired, and scared. Would Thomas survive? I looked over at the saddle. It didn’t look like it. The chestnut brown horse now had a red back. It would have been pretty if it hadn’t been blood.
This was it. Thomas was going to die; I was going to get killed by a bunch of goblins. And the horse would probably run away off to wonderland with all the other ponies. Breathing heavily, I stopped. My lungs were burning. I couldn’t go on anymore. The horse stopped too, as I had instructed it to follow me. I patted its side, defeated. I looked at Thomas’s closed eyes and memories flashed back into my mind; us playing in the mud together. Using wooden swords and bows to see who would fall down first. Us sprinting for our lives, beaming at each other because we were having so much fun. I absolutely couldn’t lose now. I choked out a couple of sobs and stood up, doing my best to massage my sore ankles. I sucked in a huge breath that filled my lungs so much that I felt that I could probably last under water for a couple years. Then I took off running, horse at my side.
Light. Was it light? My eyes were hazy. Had I really been running all morning? No, I hadn’t. The gypsy camp lay in front of me. It was dark, probably three o’clock in the morning, or something like that. I ushered the horse to slow down. Mustering most of my energy, I pulled Thomas off the horse, and lifted him so that he was standing next to me. He wasn’t bleeding as hard now, but there were still stains from where the blood had run down his chest. I hobbled into the village clinging to Thomas, interrupting the merry dance that the gypsy’s were putting on. A fire blazed in the middle. Women with tambourines danced in a circle, singing a hymn. Other clapped, either standing or sitting on logs. Little children chased each other between the dancer’s legs. They laughed…until they saw us.
The music stopped. Screams came from the children and women. Some men let out small screams too. Wow, times like this make me wonder how bad we really look. I held onto Thomas, who was just making me go slower as I approached the crowd. I staggered to get to the cluster of people. My eyes were beginning to get blurry. My eyelids were beginning to get heavier and heavier. I stopped in my tracks and crumpled to my knees, still holding Thomas. The last image I remember was a tall girl with curly dark hair. Her mouth was agape, as she stood right in front of me when I collapsed. I could tell that the look on her face said it all
The witch cackled at me, her smile as wide as her face. “It’s all coming along nicely…” she smirked. It was the same woman from the night before; the one in my dreams. What was she doing standing in front of me? Around us was a graveyard. It was night, but clouds covered the moon. I stood in a long black dress, which laced up and down my arms. My hair was tied up with light purple flowers. I was at a funeral. “It must be tragic, my dear, to lose someone so special,” She said quietly, moving toward me. Her wrinkled hand caressed my cheek. I was frozen in place because of my fear. This wasn’t like me. I was fearless. I felt like I was a helpless child. I was meant to be big and powerful, but now I felt small and weak. This is how I had felt when Thomas was dying…Thomas. The name appeared again. Coincidentally, since we were at a funeral, there was an open grave. A very familiar name was chiseled across the gravestone, in scratchy writing. I bet we can all guess the name. That’s right. Thomas.
“No!” I screamed. I sat up straight, like a baby sapling trying to reach out of the dirt. My eyes shot open, surprised to see I was in a bed. A crème colored bed. My clothes weren’t the same. I was wearing a white nightgown that hung just above my ankles. My hair was washed and clean, the smudges of dirt and blood had been removed from my face and palms. Around me was a tent, which was also the color of crème. My washed clothes sat neatly folded up in a corner, along with my sword. Where was I? Then the thought shot into my mind. The gypsy camp. We had appeared last night when Thomas was wounded. Where was he now? I had to go find him.
But I was interrupted. Suddenly a girl walked through the tent flap, eyes wide in awe. I recognized her. She was the girl standing in front of me when I had fainted. She was clad in a bright orange and brown dress. Her dark curly hair swept back in a pony tail. She had bright green eyes that shone in the waning sunlight. She smiled at me, which reassured me that I was okay. But there were other thoughts on my mind…
“Are you awake already? Did you have a good sleep? I hope the bed was sufficient,” she spoke nervously.
“Yes, um, thanks. Where is Thomas?” I replied impatiently. She tilted her head to once side. I noticed that she was carrying a tray adorned with breakfast items.
“Thomas? Oh, the boy who was with you? He’s in a tent across camp,” I wondered how big the camp really was.
“Okay thanks,” I said. I rushed out of the bed and headed for the flap. But I was interrupted once more by the girl. I was beginning to get very annoyed.
“You should really change first. It’s a bit cold outside, and I don’t think you want the men to see you in your nightgown,” She giggled. I sighed.
“Okay. But I’m not having breakfast,” I said, rushing over to my pile of clothes. She looked down at the breakfast tray and pouted. I assumed she was about 16 or fifteen judging by her looks. She left the tent. I slipped on the clothes from last night which was thankfully not covered in blood. I glanced at my sword. Should I bring it? Definitely. I slipped it onto my belt loop.
I stood in front of the closed tent flap and shook myself out a little, prepared for the worst. I pushed open the tent flap.
Whoa. Where was I? The smell of jasmine found its way into my nostrils. My chest hurt. What was wrong with me? Was I dead? Had the goblin succeeded in killing me? Had it killed Lilly? This sent anger through me. I wanted to get up to move, but it hurt too much. I must have been jittering a lot, because to my surprise, a smooth hand pressed down lightly on my chest. It hurt a little, but not too much. The hand was warm. The warmth soothed the pain. I felt relieved. Another surprise was the soft voice next to my ear. It whispered, “Calm down. You’re going to be okay. Just relax. Lie down for a little,” The voice was not Lilly’s. This voice was too soft, too wispy. I felt comforted by it, and did what it said. I stopped moving and relaxed, trying to remove the tension from all my muscles. I went back to my thoughts. Was I in a hospital? No. They wouldn’t have emitted me. I’m an outlaw right now. But then, what could have happened? If Lilly hadn’t survived, did someone find us in the woods? Was I alive? Was Lilly…Dead? But no, I realized, she wasn’t, because just at that moment, I heard the tent flap open, and a shout of surprise. “Thomas!” it screamed. Now this was Lilly. I breathed in a sigh of relief. She was okay. This probably meant I wasn’t dead. I kept my eyes closed tough, because as the voice had said, I needed to rest, which I intended to do. But even so, I used most of my strength to give a little smile.
He was there. He was pale. Well, paler. His skin nearly matched the color of his own cotton puff-colored mop of hair. He three long scars on his chest, which had turned dark red. Scabs had formed over them, which meant that they were healing. His eyes were closed, but I could see a little smile on his face. Thomas’s smile seemed to transfer over to me, because I beamed like an idiot as I rushed over and hugged that limp chap.
“Be careful, you don’t want to put too much pressure on those gashes,” said a young woman from behind me. The sound of her voice was melodic and smooth. It seemed as if it could be carried off by the wind. I turned, coming face to face with a beautiful maiden. She had long locks of curly dark red hair that framed her high cheekbones perfectly. Her fair skin seemed like it was glowing, along with her navy blue eyes. She had a lean frame, rosebud shaped lips, a thin nose, and long eyelashes that could be seen from a mile away. She smiled at my wide eyes. She didn’t seem any older than me. Maybe even younger. She had a timeless look which is what got me confused.
“Who are you?” I demanded. Walking over in her silk blue dress, she held a hand out to me.
“Oh, please forgive me for not introducing myself before. I’m Annette Mulii. I’m a warrior down at the city of Creshdo. Nice to meet you,” she said, eyes boring through mine. Who was she? What was she doing in this tent with Thomas? I got mad. And a little hint of jealousy at the same time.
“I didn’t ask for your life story, just your name,” I grumbled. She seemed taken aback. A little crease appeared in her perfect forehead and the sides of her lips turned slightly downwards. She placed her hand back at her side.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to come off as rude. Please forgive me if ...”
“Is he going to be okay?”I interrupted; looking worriedly at Thomas’s closed eyes. His smile had vanished.
“Yes. He should be awake in a couple of hours,” She replied, seeming to forget how rude I had been.
“I’ll stay here then. I’ll wait,” I said. I did not feel comfortable with a pretty girl all alone in the tent with Thomas. I don’t know why, I just did. It didn’t mean…Nah. That wasn’t it.
“I’m afraid that is not necessary. He will be fine right here. The thing he needs now is rest.”Annette spoke. My mouth twisted into a frown and I sighed. She was right. I would be making too much noise if I were here. “You might wish to go outside and practice with the sword? The boys are always up at this time of day practicing and fighting. It’s a bit funny actually, watching them play with their wooden weapons,” She giggled. “I noticed you brought your sword with you, so you might enjoy it, perhaps?”
“What happened last night?” I questioned her, pondering over why exactly had the gypsy camp taken us under their wing.
She laughed. It sounded bitter sweet to me. She was pretty, but something inside me grew and grew, making the laugh seem a tad bit evil. “You were right to come here to our camp. We are always helping the lost, the wounded, or anyone else for that matter. Being kind, we had to help you along your way. We wouldn’t just have left you there hurt!” Annette shook her head in dismay, and then smiled again. “We washed you two up, and patched up the wounds in your friend here. We are glad to help everyone,”
I nodded. This was a relief. “So…you haven’t heard anything about us?” I asked suspiciously. She coked her head to one side, confused.
“No, why? Is there something you would like me to know?”
“No. I don’t want you to know anything,” And with that I left the tent.
It was a hot but windy day. The sunlight hit the trees just right, making the leaves look like shining emeralds. There were a few clouds. That was good. It meant shade, and personally, when the sky is completely blue it kind of creeps me out. It’s like an endless blue sea that goes on and on forever. And anyway, I like the clouds. Whenever I see them, it makes the sky look like a painting. I can just imagine the brush strokes used to create the swirly wisps of evaporated water. I heaved in and out, soaking up all the sweet smelling air. This was my kind of day. If only Thomas were awake to enjoy it with me.
Clasping my sword, I took off into the village, heading for where I had seen a few men fighting before. People stared at me as I walked past. They stared at my ears. My hair. My eyes. Some greeted me with smiles. Other greeted me with frowns, as if they had known I had done something wrong. I shuddered, thinking about what they might know.
“Hello elf. Did you have a pleasant rest? I hope so. Cassie is a bit off in her on world at some times,”
I spun around to see an old man. He had on a light brown cloak. White tufts of thin hair sprouted from atop his hair. I noticed a goatee under his thin lips, along with a gold necklace he wore around his wrinkled neck. He smiled kindly at me. I didn’t feel like being rude at all now.
“Hello,” I said, forgetting to answer his question. He did not seem to notice.
“Greetings. I’m Kighar, owner and manager of the camp. I invite you to my domain,” he said, gesturing to the large camp before us.
“This isn’t a gypsy camp, is it?” I asked knowingly. He laughed.
“No, elf. This is not a mere gypsy camp. This is where adventures come to seek out their dreams,” He said. I noticed a glint in his eye when he said dreams. It made me think. “So tell me your story. How did you get here? What all the ruckus with the blood?”
“Goblins. They got the best of us in the woods. We were on our way to Meldon when we were mobbed. My horse was killed, and my friend Thomas was wounded. I had to take him here,” I replied, taking a seat on a log near the empty camp fire pit. Kighar raised his eyebrows at the mention of goblins, but nothing more.
“So you two shared a horse?”
“No. Thomas lay on the horse. I ran,” Kighar’s eyes widened.
“But this camp is miles away from any civilization! How long do you think you ran?
“Nearly all night,” By this time his eyes were boggling out of his head.
“Wow. Such bravery. And such a caring friend. He patted me on my hand. “I will make sure that you get to Meldon,”
I smiled. “Thank you very much,” He nodded.
“Off you go then. Continue on with your business. Sorry to have interrupted you,”
“No, its okay,” I stood. He stood. I liked this old withered man. He was one of the first strangers in a long time that I haven’t had the urge to yell out, or become rude. We shook hands, and I continued on my way to practice with my sword.
“Take that!” Liam screamed. His sword sliced down onto mine, but I blocked his mindless attack and pushed the sword away. It fell to the ground. He gaped at me. I sneered. “Okay, that’s it. You really are the best!”
“Yes, well that’s what a lot of people say.” I replied jokingly. A small explosion of laughter erupted in my circle of fellow swordsmen. We were practicing to become better fighters. To be able to work at the king’s court. I had been training for years and was undefeated. Winning came easily to me when I had a sharpened blade in my hand. “Any other takers?” I asked the crowd.
“How about me?”A girl’s voice said. At first I thought a silly girl was just fooling around. But Liam whispered in my ear,
“It’s that girl from last night!” I turned to see a stunning elf, with shining white hair and lilac skin. She had a smug smile on her face.
“You would like to challenge me?”I asked the elf. She tilted her head to one side.
“How about it?” she mocked. I smiled, knowing I could take her on easily.
“Okay then. This girl right here is who I will be challenging!” I shouted. More laughs came. The pretty elf frowned. Suddenly, more and more people came over to our area. The girl didn’t flinch. I wondered how she didn’t even seem to care about losing to me and embarrassing herself in front of this crowd. I looked down at my metallic armor. The sunlight made it seem even brighter.
“You bear no armor, my lady. Don’t you worry about getting hurt?”
“I don’t need any armor.” I gazed at her. Was she really willing to get hurt that easily? She seemed so serious.
“Well alright then. Back up everyone, this is going to be a bloody battle!”I said. My cluster of men laughed so hard, that a few of them doubled over. They were just as excited as I was to see this girl lose. The crowd took a few steps back, lining the white ring that marked the battle area.
“You’re right. This is going to get very bloody.” The elf said. I gulped. Something in her voice warned me. But I, Lance Prestlir, am not a coward. And I was absolutely sure that I would be able to beat this elf. I wondered if she might like to get a drink with me after this battle. I could be the hero, and pick her up after her defeat.
“So what are the rules?” she asked. I noticed she had her sword pulled out. It was a silver blade, and had the knight’s crest on it. Was she a knight? No, women were not allowed to become knights. They were too weak. She probably borrowed the sword from the other elf that had arrived with her.
“The rules are simple; stay inside the white ring, no killing, and try not to lose,” This time the crowd was laughing hysterically, a few had tears appearing in their eyes.
“Hm, funny. I would have said the same to you,” The girl laughed. I frowned. Now she was getting on my nerves.
“Okay then. You seem so ready to get on with it, so let’s begin!”I took a step forward into the circle, standing on my marker, which indicated where my starting points it. She took a step back onto hers.
“Liam! You’re referee!”I shouted over at him. He quickly bolted to the referee’s chair. It was a regular stool, but it had earned its place. Just like me.
“Are the contenders ready to begin?”He asked.
“I am, are you?”I asked the girl. Her red eyes glowed like the blazing fire we put on at camp every night.
“On your mark, get set, GO!”I lunged with my sword in the direction of the girl. Quick as a wink, she was gone. I turned around, sword at the ready, but she was behind me, and kicked me in the small of my back. I was protected by armor, but the blow sent a raging pain all throughout my body. I grimaced, and gritted my teeth. No way she was beating me. This crowd was going to get what they wanted. I swung my sword over my head, as fast as I could, but she skidded in-between my legs, and ended up behind me once more. I felt my foot crumple beneath me. I had to stop myself from biting my tongue.
The crowd was egging me on, shouting at me. “GET HER!” was the only thing that remained in my mind. She was quick. Too quick for me, and I knew it. I had to slow her down. This time, I didn’t turn around, but spun my arm around to the side, slashing behind me. But all I hit was air. Suddenly, the girl was in front of me. I scanned her forehead. She hadn’t broken one single sweat. She smiled at me, just before she flicked her wrist and instantly, I felt my sword disappear from my hand. She pushed me over with one foot, one sword in each hand. Her foot remained on my chest as the crowd went silent at my defeat. I knew she had won. She knew she had won. And she had done it without even using her sword.
She looked around, scanning the crowd. “Any other takers?” She asked. Great. She had stolen my line, and my title.
Most of the villagers were not happy to see us. Some were scared. Some were both unhappy and frightened, like the man I had beat in arm wrestling, and I could already spot the swordsman in the corner, washing his sorrow away with a big hunk of meat. There were only two tables In this large yellow tent, and one of them was occupied by Kighar, Annette, a strong looking man with hawk like eyes, and a rather old fellow, who’s hair was just a cloud of gray. The other was empty, but still had hordes of food, linen table cloths, and sparkling silverware strewn across it. I wondered why it was so empty. It was a perfectly good table, and people were deciding just to eat on the ground, wasting all that food.
Kighar spotted us and waved us over. I did not want to sit next to Annette who had been doing who knows what with my Thomas. But Thomas took my by the crook of my arm and we wound our way through the various people eating on blankets, like this was some sort of enormous picnic fest. Some people camping looked around, those who had heard of our arrival and their sword and arm wrestling feats had looks of wonder pasted onto their faces as we dodged their eating grounds.
“How nice to see our guests! I hope you are doing okay. No trouble from our residents here? Did you find some activities to do? Have you found everything as It’s supposed to be?” said Kighar as we drew near, asking far too many questions.
“Yes, everything is fine.”Thomas replied, loosening the grip on my arm taking a seat next to Annette who smiled at him. He returned the smile as I sat down next to him, glaring at them.
“Just dandy.” I said. Kighar pushed a plate of food to me, and in turn, pushed one over to Thomas. My plate contained four large chicken legs and a bundle of cabbage.
“I imagine you must be very tired from your journey.”Kighar’s smile faltered as I took a enormous bite of my chicken leg. Hey, elves can go for a long time without eating, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get hungry, right?
“We’ve been better…” Thomas said, eyeing my ferocious appetite. I stopped eating when I saw him looking. Well, stopped eating frantically, at the least. I wiped my mouth with my shirt sleeve, which just left a brow n smudge. I sighed, and looked at Thomas apologetically.
I politely took a sip of my water as Kighar introduced us to the rest of the people at the table. “This is Sage,” he gestured toward the old man. The old man smiled, showing perfectly white teeth. “He is a messenger, from the nearby towns. He brings in messages and he takes them out. Simple as that.”
“Nice to meet you.” Said the old man.
“Nice to meet you too.” Me and Thomas said in unison. We looked at each other and smiled.
“This is Crayton, our weapons master.” He patted the tough looking man’s shoulder. He nodded his head at us. “And this is Annette, but I’m assuming that you have already met her.”Thomas beamed at Annette and she beamed back. I scoffed a little too loud, causing both of them to look at me, but I just faked a cough, to cover up my impoliteness.
“Lilly, are you okay? You aren’t sick, are you?” Thomas asked worriedly
“I’m fine; just some water went down the wrong way.” He looked back at Annette, and I nearly coughed for real this time.
“So I’ve informed Sage that you two are planning to head out to Meldon.”Kighar said, starting the conversation again. “He says he might just be able to get you there tomorrow.” I gagged on my chicken. Is this guy being honest? Could we really get there that soon?
“Lilly!” Thomas proclaimed. “My god, you’ve been coughing and choking almost all dinner! What’s the matter?”
“Nothing.”I said, swallowing my food politely.
“Are there any problems?”Sage asked.
“Not at all. But how would we possibly get there?” I implied. Sage smiled.
“By horse, my dear. You don’t suppose we would take a four day walk to get there!”he laughed.
“Oh.” My face burned, and I felt silly for asking such a stupid question. “Well, that’s great! Right Thomas?”
“Thank you so much!” Thomas smiled. I let out a big breath of air. Our plan was going a lot better than I thought it was going to.
“Well I’m glad to hear that you’re all happy with this situation. Just one more thing to add. Annette will be joining you three!” Kighar interrupted. I did a double take with my water. All eyes turned onto me and Thomas patted my back. I waved him off and stood up shaking.
“I…I think that I will just go to bed. Thomas was right. I’m not feeling too well.” I rushed out of there as quickly as possible, stepping on a few plates here and there. Once I got outside I sprinted for the tent. A few kids ran past me gasping at my red eyes.
“She must be a demon!” I heard one of them whispered. They hurried off towards dinner. They were already late. Is that what people thought of me? I was a demon? Great, just another worry to add onto my list. I strode into my tent and flopped down on the bed.
“Hey Lilly, You in there?” I heard Thomas’s footsteps in front of my tent. I heard the whoosh of the flap as it opened. I heard my breathing deep in my chest as I pretended to be asleep. I heard him sigh. I heard him go. I heard my brain racking of ideas to get out of this mess with Annette. I heard…nothing more.