I put my hand on the outside of the cave. Vines extended downward and entangled the guards.
I truly wanted to escape but I couldn’t, not yet. I had a duty to perform first. Not for my father, or even the elven people, but for myself. Because he had shown me kindness, Michael was being held here. It was all my fault. I had to give him his freedom or I wouldn’t be worthy of mine. I’d be just like my father and the council, taking freedom away from someone else for my own selfish end.
I carefully walked down the cavern stairs. A figure was walking carefully up at the same time. I put my hand on the cavern wall and waited.
That was the first time I saw him clearly. He had upward curving horns, just above his eyebrows. They were about four inches tall and they were segmented. His eyes looked almost like a geckos. They were a deeper violet than they’d looked when they were covered. He had long silver hair that went down to his lower back. He had reptilian wings with dark violet scales and a tail. He must have kept it curled around his waist when he had worn his cloak because it was almost touching the ground. It reminded me of a komodo’s tail, but longer and with the defined segmenting you would see in a crocodile’s tail.
I could feel my cheeks flush. He was surprisingly pretty. His facial features were very close to being soft and traditionally feminine. “Michael?” I asked.
He grasped his sword. “Do you intend to get in my way?”
I put my hands up in a sign of capitulation. “I came to rescue you, actually.”
“I see,” he took his hand off of his hilt. “That will not be necessary. I have extricated myself.”
I heard a commotion from behind him. There were guards shouting and weapons being drawn. We ran up the stairs and right outside of the cave. There were guards converging from out there too. They had us surrounded.
“Troll’s blood!” I cursed. “We’re going to get caught.”
Michael calmly picked me up and cradled me. His hands were cold, but also very soft. His wings stretched out. “We will not be caught.” He flew and carried us both away. I could feel an amazingly strong draft pushing us forward. Some arrows shot at us, but the wind was too strong and knocked them off course. I couldn’t believe it. I had managed to escape, thanks to Callie, Lan and Michael.
“I’m sorry, Royal One,” Lang said. “I didn’t recognise what he was doing until it was too late.”
The Royal One walked slowly away from his guard. His face was reddened. “Perhaps you can explain to me, how you let a maniacal draconian escape with my only daughter. Your sheer incompetence is…” The Royal One’s body turned rigid. He gasped but couldn’t breathe. He clutched his chest with one hand. He looked up at the ceiling helplessly and collapsed.
Lang rushed forward. He held onto the Royal One. “Hang in there, Sir! Please, hang in there!”
Lyon rode into the capital of Het Wald. “I need an audience with the Royal One,” he said.
The sentry looked up at him with a pained look.
“What’s wrong?” Lyon asked.
The young elf shook his head. He motioned for Lyon to enter the palace.
Lyon was met by Lang. “I have terrible news,” Lang said.
“So do I,” Lyon said. “I was hoping to speak to the Royal One.”
“Lyon,” Lang began. He took a deep breath and spoke slowly. “The Royal One is dead.”
“Goddess, no!” Lyon cried. “How did it happen?”
“He was poisoned,” Lang stated. “It was a blood flower root based poison. The poison is very slow-acting so we can’t even be sure when he was exposed to it.”
“I was too late,” Lyon said. “Damn that Larick!”
“The Magi?” Lang inquired, shocked. “Why would you possibly think that he was involved?”
Lyon cleared his throat, took a deep breath and told Lang everything. The Magi’s betrayal, the deaths of the eldest royal sons and Larick’s confession.
My breath was coming in short gasps. My chest was undergoing a sensation of sharp, piercing pain. My hearts were beating at an accelerated rate. I had over-strained myself. She looked over me. Her long hair drooped down and touched my face. It was a rather irritating sensation. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“I am well enough,” I assured her. “Kindly remove your hair from my face.”
“Oh, sorry,” she said. She moved her face away from mine. “It’s just that you look really pale.”
“It is difficult for me to fly for such a long distance,” I explained. “This is especially true when I am weighed down.”
Her voice shifted. Her tone became less familiar. “Are you saying that I’m heavy?”
“That is a misinterpretation,” I said. “I estimate your weight to be around sixty seven kilograms. Which is perfectly normal, given your build. However, I am not accustomed to carrying that much extraneous weight.”
I felt her foot lightly nudge my ribcage. “I’m going to be by myself for a while,” she said.
I closed my eyes. I was going to require a copious amount of rest.