It didn’t take the group much longer to get down than it had taken them to get back up. In spite of Axra and Lysara carrying Bonnie. The group stopped to rest once they’d reached the bottom.
Twila and Reginald prepared some lunch. Velvet and Axra kept watch with Fang flying his own patrol overhead. Lilly went to change Bonnie’s bandages with Lysara’s help, since Lysara refused to leave Bonnie’s side.
“Bon, does it still hurt?” Lysara asked.
“Not really,” Bonnie said. “It just throbs a little.”
“That’s good,” Lilly said. “You’ll be swinging that big axe around in no time.”
“Hey, Bon,” Lysara said. “Ummm about those guys you fought. Well…”
“Did you want to know something about them?” Bonnie asked.
“Well… they thought you would hate half bloods because of your past, right?” Lysara asked. “You… do you have problems with half bloods?”
Bonnie leaned over and kissed Lysara’s cheek. “They were mistaken. It’s nothing for you to worry about.”
“It… it really isn’t that big of a deal,” Lilly said.
“Oh… you know what happened,” Lysara said. “I suppose it’s only natural. You two are really good friends, after all.”
Bonnie sighed. “Do you really want to know?”
“Well, I want to know everything about you, Bon,” Lysara said. “Even your past.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you,” Bonnie said. “My mother worked for an aristocratic household. She became infatuated with the heir of the family title. He noticed her feelings and started giving her gifts, making promises, all that nonsense. He even went so far as to say that he’d overlook their difference in status and marry her. When she became pregnant, well, he gave her a pittance and sent her away to avoid a scandal.”
“How terrible!” Lysara exclaimed.
“It’s what happens when servants let themselves get taken in by their masters,” Bonnie said.
“I… I’m going to check on Axra,” Lilly said. “E… excuse me.” She hurriedly walked away.
“But I don’t see what that has to do with half bloods,” Lysara said.
“When my father did get married his bride was a gnome woman,” Bonnie explained. “They thought that I would resent my half siblings for taking my rightful inheritance or some such nonsense.”
“Oh, is that all?” Lysara asked. “I was a little worried that… Bon?” Bonnie had lain down with her head in Lysara’s lap.
“Sorry, I’m a little tired,” Bonnie said. “Please, let me stay like this for a little while.”
“Sure,” Lysara said. She brought her head down to kiss Bonnie’s forehead. “Stay like that as long as you want.”
After eating, Lysara and Axra helped Bonnie stand and the group hurried towards the dark elf city.
“If I might ask, why are we going back there?” Reginald asked. “Surely, there’s no one left.”
“The elder left the information we need written down in her hut,” Twila said. “There might also be some medicine we can use to help Bonnie recover faster.”
“I see,” Reginald said. “That would be most helpful.”
“I just hope that guy who got away doesn’t get there first,” Axra said. “Tracking him down to get the information back would be a pain.”
“W… well,” Lilly said. “He… he doesn’t know about it, right? So… so he probably hasn’t gone looking for it.”
“And anyone who might have told him only found out about it recently,” Bonnie added.
“Hey!” Reginald protested. “I resent the implication.” He scratched his head. “How is it possible for such a beauty to be so harsh?”
“Well, looks aren’t tied to temperament in any way,” Twila said. “Still, we should all refrain from any implications or accusations, at least until there’s some evidence for it.”
“I agree,” Axra said. “Sowing mistrust amongst ourselves isn’t going to help our situation. We’ve all fought and worked together up to this point. It would be a shame to see that cooperation broken.”
“I understand, Princess,” Bonnie said. “I will say no more on the subject. However, I will be vigilant and should there be a traitor in our midst I will undoubtedly find out.”
“And for my part I shall do everything in my power to prove the purity of my intentions to you,” Reginald said.
They arrived in the city. There was no one in the fields. No one running the shops. No sign of anyone at all until they reached the elder’s house. Five elderly dark elves were gathered around. Four men and a woman with one leg.
“Oh, travelers,” she said in a rasping voice. “You’ve returned. Can we assume the children all made it up okay?”
Twila nodded. “They’ve been welcomed by our dark elves and have been allocated land to live on.”
“It will take adjusting, but they’ll have the future you wanted for them,” Axra added.
The old woman smiled. “Then, I’m glad I was forced to wait here.” She rubbed her stump. “Can’t get around so well, you know.” She looked up at Twila. “Oh, yes. I was given something for you.” She held out a folded slip of paper. Twila took it and looked it over.
“Thank you very much,” Twila said. “This map will help us immensely.”
“Feel free to stay and rest a while,” the old woman said. She looked at Bonnie. “You’re hurt.” She tapped the ground near her. “Sit, let me see.”
Lysara helped Bonnie over and the old woman studied the wounds.
“Jace, you know a little clerical magic. See if you can help.”
One of the old men nodded and walked over. He muttered a prayer and his hands glowed for a moment. Bonnie felt her flesh knit back together.
“Thank you,” Bonnie said.
“Don’t worry about it,” the old woman said. “At least we know the Gods are still listening to us rejects. Besides, we owe you for what you did for the youngsters.”
“Do… do you need us to get you anything while we’re here?” Lilly asked.
The woman shook her head. “We’ve got enough food to last us until the end. We have each other for company and we know that our future is secure. That’s enough.”
“Well, if there is anything we can do for you let us know,” Twila said. “We’ll stay to rest and continue on our journey in about ten hours so you’ll have time to think about it.”
“It is kind of you to offer,” the old woman said. “We’ll think about it.”