A dull thudding pain pulsed in the back of Zayal’s head,
She’d had these kinds of head aches on and off for as long as she could remember
so it normally didn’t bother her. This time was different. There was something
insistent about the steadying rhythm of pain, and she couldn’t shake off the
feeling. It wasn’t at all different from the feeling she had when that odd dragon
thing had been watching her. A sudden fear gripped her as she spun around quickly,
expecting sinister eyes to be staring at her from the leaves of any of the nearby
trees, but there was nothing. She silently scolded herself for being so foolish
“What are you doing?” Toyan asked, one of his
eyebrows arched in a cynical manner. He had stopped when he heard the slight
rustling of Zayal’s feet spinning around abruptly.
“I thought I heard something," she replied with
a slight shrug. In reality she hadn’t heard a thing, but how would it sound
if she told Toyan she thought she “felt” something terrible was imminent?
“Well, If there was anything I would have heard
it," Gilro broke in, his pointed Kyrii ears perked. “I may be loud myself,
but I can hear anything.”
“I’ll give you that Gilro, I'll give you that.”
Toyan was chuckling now and he gave Gilro a friendly clap on the back as he
trotted by briskly looking ahead. Now the three of them were inside the sleeping
kingdom of Shaylir. Triken had chirped sorrowfully as they left him alone. Toyan
had told Zayal how Triken hated being alone, and Zayal felt wretched for leaving
The only thing truly impressive about the inside
Shaylir was the castle itself, Zayal noticed that all of the cottages for the
normal citizens were similar in shape in size to Amberclaw’s cabin. Toyan and
Gilro didn’t bother leading Zayal through the back of the kingdom, there was
no need for it since there were no people on the main road, or so they thought.
They ambled along at a slow pace down the main path of the kingdom.
“We'll be able to stay on the main pathway until
we get closer to the castle, then we'll break to the left to where we found
the secret entrance to the dungeons," Toyan explained pointing along the
long dusty path. Zayal yawned and nodded. “See...the town is kind of set up
like a “ladder”. You see...the poorer...less “royal” citizens live nearer to
the gate. The more noble families live closer to the castle," Toyan continued
pointed to the indicated parts of town.
“You mean... they judge people by their blood-line...and
how much gold they have?” Zayal asked, her eyes blinking in astonishment. That
was ridiculous. She scrunched her face up into a look of disgust.
“Yeah, It’s pretty stupid. I don’t like it much
myself. ‘Specially cause...” he let his voice drift off as he looked at Gilro
who turned a bright shade of crimson all the way up to his fluffy kyrii ears.
“Gilro... it’s not like I actually like living
close to the castle... it’s actually really horrible and...” Gilro was stumbling
over his own words trying to convince Toyan that it didn’t matter and how he’d
always be his friend no matter what. Toyan’s shoulders slunk. He had to family
anymore. They all had died from some serpent. Toyan had to live on his own for
years, he had no stable home or anybody to take care of him. He pawed the dirt
furiously with his front hoof and then he shook his head.
“It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing anybody can
do about it now...I shouldn’t worry about the past. Live for tomorrow, eh?”
he asked trying to sound convincing. Zayal nodded encouragement and Gilro gave
a slight shrug.
“Hey Gilro, Do you think we should take the turn
towards the castle closer or further away...?” Toyan blinked in surprise as
he turned to his left and Gilro wasn’t there. “Umm...Gil...” Suddenly Toyan reared
backwards as he looked upwards.
“Toyan...Toyan...what’s going....” as Zayal peered
up she saw Gilro suspended in mid-air, or so it seemed. It took a moment for
her eyes to see the long arm clutching tightly onto Gilro’s collar. Another
arm was snaked around Gilro’s head and was clasped over Gilro’s mouth. As Zayal
followed the arm she saw a body...and a head...which eventually made a lupe.
A lupe who was quite sinister. A lupe on a shadow uni, barely visible in the
“I knew you three were up to no good the moment
I saw you climb over that wall," he sneered, Zayal couldn’t make out many of
his features but she could tell by his voice what his face showed.
“You had no business watching us!” Zayal burst
out suddenly, her eyes flaring. “Who do you think you are anyway?” she shot
at him. Toyan practically crumpled to the floor. His eyes were wide with unmistakeable
fear. He obviously hadn’t expected meeting this man here.
“Zayal...you imbecile...he’s...” Toyan was cut
off by the harsh voice of the lupe.
“General Ryon. Your obviously new around here,
but that doesn’t mean you can get away with sneaking around at night. I don’t
tolerate," he paused to put an emphasis on the next word. “children
disobeying me. Trust me, You shall regret shouting like that girl.”
Zayal didn’t give a damn if he was a general
or not. Suddenly she drove at him with her dagger using her entire body weight
to attack him, This feeling of rage had never overcome her before. She couldn’t
control it. There was something about this man she despised. Her whole body
began to shake. She wasn’t used to being spoken to in such a manner, her life
had been an isolated one. Politics wasn’t Zayal’s strong point. Before her dagger
could even make a scratch on his cloak she was lifted into the air with Gilro
who was now gasping for breath after having his mouth covered.
“Zayal...” Toyan muttered.
“Shaddup. I’m taking you to the king. He’ll decide
how to punish you," Ryon announced to them as he herded Toyan in front of him
with his own uni.
“Doesn’t the king have more important things
to do then deal with children straying out at night?” asked Zayal furrowing
her eyebrows in hatred as she flailed around. She couldn’t believe he had the
nerve to lift her up in the cold night air like that. Loathing filled her, she
didn’t want to be controlled in any manner.
“I think you, m’dear, are a special case.” Zayal
noticed the malice in his voice and a long cold chill traveled down her spine.
An icy grin appeared on the man’s face as he kicked at the uni and galloped
off not giving Toyan a second thought.
Slowly, Toyan gained self-control. It took a moment for it to click in his
mind but he realized the disadvantage. The General had basically no arms to
work with, just his stuffy old horse which was absolutely simple to get ride
of. Sure, Toyan would probably have to be on the run for awhile until Ryon forget
what he had done but it would be worth it. He just couldn’t let the general
take Zayal and Gilro. Neither of them would ever forgive him and he wouldn’t
have any right to blame them. Ryon was just finishing is little chat with the
dangling Zayal when Toyan charged forward.
“LET THEM GO!” Toyan shouted as he rammed his
side into the stallion’s soft belly jamming the girth of the saddle into the
black uni’s ribs. The uni reared in surprise but didn’t immediatley bolt, he
was too well trained for that, and Ryon was too trained a rider to fall off.
But not even Ryon was skilled enough to hold
two people in his arms while his horse reared and bucked.
“Run!” Toyan shouted at Gilro and Zayal as they
both tumbled out of Ryon’s reach. Ryon was enraged and he leapt off of his uni
and landed right next to Zayal scooping her up and lifting her over his shoulder.
Gilro was too busy scrambling to his feet and trying to get away that he took
“Gilro! Toyan!” Zayal was suddenly jolted as
Ryon climbed back onto his uni with her across his shoulder. With Zayal over
his right shoulder and a whip in his left, he cracked his long green whip onto
his uni’s backside and he began to gallop forward toward the castle courtyard.
“Gilro! Get up you fool! You won’t be able to
keep up. Stay here! I’ll try and get her back!” Toyan was practically screaming
as he raced after Ryon and his horse. Ryon had already discarded his whip so
he could use his other hand to hold onto the sheath of his sword. He didn’t
need to hold onto the stallion’s reins. He was a well-bred horse and knew the
way to the courtyard. He knew not to drop his master.
“Back, you Halfbreed! You have no business interfering
with Shaylir!” Ryon shouted fiercely, his eyes now filled with mocking laughter.
Toyan blood seemed to boil beneath his skin. This anger was what he needed to
keep up the pace. He was gaining...gaining....It seemed that the horse was slowing
down...or was Toyan gaining speed....
There was a whoosh as a blade swung through the
air, striking. Toyan gasped in pain, he was reeling now. The world was spinning.
He hadn’t even seen the great general’s sword drawn. All he could see was the
world spinning around him. He was dizzy and hurt.
“Stupid Child. Never interfere with politics,”
was the warbled version of Ryon’s voice. Toyan couldn’t hear anything with the
blood pounding through his ears.
He didn’t hear Zayal’s shriek of anguish as the
world begin spinning faster and faster before going completely black.
“Toyan! Zayal! What have I done? Come back! You can’t do it all by yourself!
I know you think I’m a coward Toyan...but I can help...please!” Gilro had fallen
to his knees and felt pathetic. Why couldn’t he have just made some kind of
sound to warn Zayal and Toyan that the general had been watching them? Why?
Well, He wasn’t going to let Ryon do that to his friends. He wasn’t going to
screw up anymore.
“I’m coming Toyan, whether you like it or not!”
Gilro yelled out to the empty air. He quickly slung his bow over his shoulder
and he was swiftly running across the path towards the castle. He couldn’t let
down Zayal and Toyan. He just couldn’t. He had to do something...for once.
To be continued...