"Toyan... you can't go on and even if you could we'd
never be able to sneak into the castle like this," Gilro said as Toyan
once again tried to struggle to his hooves, unsuccessfully. Frowning Toyan lay
sprawled across the pathway, feeling horribly defeated. He wanted to save Zayal.
There was nothing else to it. He wouldn't let that creep Ryon do anything to
her. Just knowing that Zayal was being held captive by Ryon was enough to make
Toyan's blood boil and he showed it with his fierce determination to get up.
But why did he care so much? Did he just want to play the hero like he always
did? No... it was something different this time. Toyan shook his head vigorously
trying to sort out his train of thought.
"But Zayal... what if they want to hurt her or
use her or something? What if that's why that prisoner wanted to see her? What
if she's important somehow? What if this is all some big conspiracy... what if... well... it
could be anything! Gilro, We can‘t just sit here knowing that Ryon has her captive... I
mean... what if he brought her to the King? The King!" Toyan tried once again
to scramble up and this time achieved it. He leaned his body against the side
of the wall. "I... I can do this Gilro," he said, trying not to show the absolute
agony he was feeling by gritting his teeth and biting his lip.
"Toyan, it's not a question of if you can
do it or not... it's... if you go in there like that we'll be seen for sure. They'll
hear a loud... clunk... clunk... drag... clunk... clunk... drag. And if that's not
as obvious as my boots I don't know what is," Gilro said in mock exasperation
and plunked himself down next to Toyan. Making a point to crunch a pile of trodden
leaves with one of his boots. Toyan couldn't help but chortle good naturedly
in spite of the situation, but this caused him to get thrown off balance and
he was again laying on the dusty path as quickly as he had gotten up. Then he
"I know Gilro, I know, but what else can
we do? We have to do something. I can't just sit here idly, twiddling my thumbs
while for all I know they could be torturing her..." The thought shocked Toyan.
What if that was what they were doing? "Gilro... they can't do that... can
they?" Toyan never had to ask for Gilro's reassurance before. The green haired
Kyrii took a deep breath, wanting to make his Uni friend feel better. He could
only return the favour, Toyan had done so much for him. But... Toyan had always
told the, sometimes blunt, truth never hesitating to hold anything back and
many times it was a lot better then a little white lie that was said just to
make Gilro feel good about himself for a short amount of time.
"I'm not going to lie to you Toyan. Because
I don't know. I honestly don't know...." His voice trailed off as he tried to
think of something. Anything, because Toyan was right. They couldn't just sit
here and do nothing. "I know what we can do," he said suddenly, as
if a light bulb had been flicked on inside his head.
"You do? What?" Toyan exclaimed in reply, eyes
wide with hope. Wondering what on earth Gilro had in mind. Gilro was never much
"You can stay at my house and rest, heal up... and
I'll go to the castle and see if I can find where they're keeping Zayal." The
words just came out of Gilro's mouth without filtration. As soon as he said
it he knew Toyan wouldn't go along with it. As good of a person Toyan was, he
was just as stubborn and extremely persistent.
"But... but... well... first of all your
parents don't like me... imagine waking up in the morning and them seeing your
"scoundrel" friend in your room with a slash in his leg! Plus... you can't
do this alone! We've got to do it together Gilro!" Toyan was really just making
up excuses. It was true Gilro's parents didn't exactly approve of him, they
thought because had no noble blood or money that he was a "scoundrel" and
a bad influence on their son. But that wasn't the main reason Toyan was protesting.
"Well, They'll have to deal with it, now
won't they? Besides, That's not why you're not going along with it. You just
want to be the glorified one, as usual. Eh? I don't mind Toyan, I never do,
but this is my time to do the right thing. To prove I'm not a coward. A test,
if you will, of how well you've rubbed off on me. I can do this Toyan, just
get better, okay? Please? All I'll do is get in and find out about what's going
on. If it's an absolute emergency... I'll do the best I can. If they're just
holding her prisoner I'll come back and we'll think of a plan to get her back
together. Okay?" Gilro stood up and wiped his leaf-cover trousers off, looking
down at Toyan.
"... Okay... but just find out? Because... I
want to help too... I really do... even though I can't..." Toyan's voice trailed
off as he again tried to straighten out his thoughts.
"Don't worry Toyan. I won't do anything
important without you. Zayal will be okay. We've just got to get prepared and
before we can do that you've got to fix that leg." Gilro smiled slightly. "Let's
get you home."
"Okay... but... you make sure that... that
bad guy isn't hurting her, y'hear? Because if he is... well... he'll be sorry,"
Toyan said with such conviction that Gilro peered down at his friend in surprise.
Even Toyan himself was surprised at that. What was going on with him? He'd never
been so concerned about anything or anybody... or felt so powerfully about something
or someone... he just didn't know what to think of it.
"Toyan. She'll be fine and I don't doubt
for a second that Ryon is going to pay... although. I think I'll leave the fighting
to you. It's your battle Toyan... besides, I may be able to sneak into the castle
but I'd never be able to take Ryon down," Gilro muttered quietly, disappointed
with himself but knowing it was true.
"Gilro, Don't second guess yourself. This
is our battle. All three of us. You, Zayal, Me. That's why we need to get her
back. Right? So you go and show your stuff and hurry back. I might worry myself
to death laying down with nothing better to do! And I'll have to deal with your
parents. Oooh boy," Toyan said, smacking his forehead slightly and winking.
"Toyan. Worry? Since when?" Gilro said,
laughing and helping the blue haired centaur to his feet. Toyan grinned back,
despite the pain in his leg. He didn't care anymore about pain or anything else.
All he was worried about was Gilro... and Zayal. He clenched his fists and limped
forward. They were on their way.
The door to Zayal's chamber opened. She didn't really care. She lay on the
floor unresponsive to everything around her. She was exhausted to the bone,
and very hungry. Not to mention she was so drained emotionally she couldn't
even think straight. She rubbed her blood shot eyes which had shed every tear
that she had inside of her only the night before.
Was it only the night before? Or was it weeks
ago? It felt like years, an eternity. Or maybe it had only been minutes and
she had imagined the time in between. Everything seemed like an illusion now.
Time was merciless. It took one's mind and manipulated it. Zayal decided that
she hated time. It had warped her perception, her thoughts, but now she didn't
care. She just didn't care.
"'scuse me..." a small, meek voice said quietly.
Zayal rolled over, curiosity grabbing hold of her momentarily. Who was this
person in her room?
Standing there was one of the Bruce servants,
shaking with fear, but in his eyes determination gleamed. His hair was slicked
back and he wore the simple drag tunic that all servant's wore. There was nothing
special about him except for that odd look in his eyes and he had a platter
of food in his arms. Zayal stared at it ravenously, her stomach suddenly doing
a flip in her stomach.
"Who are you?" Zayal asked dumbly, even though
she already knew who he was, she couldn't think of anything else to ask at the
moment. She didn't exactly have her wits about her.
"J-J-Just a servant Miss. I bet you're hungry... even
though the king told me not to feed you... I-I.." The servant was tripping over
his own words as he took a few steps towards Zayal setting the platter in front
of her. All it had on it was two slices of bread and a mug of water, but it
was food. Anything would suffice.
"He told you not to feed me? What exactly does
he have in mind?" Zayal fumed, suddenly sitting up straight almost knocking
the tray over.
"I'm sick of him. I am sick of him!" the
servant suddenly screamed as he fell to the floor and began to sob hysterically.
Great, Just great. I can't even handle my
own emotions and I have this servant who can't deal with his either. Zayal
thought to herself as she scooted next to the servant. She didn't know what
"He's... disgusting! I can see him treating
us all like scum, we're just lowly servants, but then harming an innocent child... torturing
her... why he want to do that to you? Why?! Why? I'm going to stop him. I am,
I will." The servant by now had stopped crying and was rambling on about things
Zayal couldn't begin to understand. One thing she did understand was that she
was to be harmed.
"First of all. Nobody deserves to be treated
like scum, no matter their occupation. Secondly, I won't let them harm me. Not
before I get them that is. Vengeance is a strong emotion. Stronger then grief
or sorrow," Zayal cried out forcefully, suddenly. The servant was taken aback
but nodded in response. The second part she had said more to herself then to
"Bless you miss. Bless you. I will get you out
of here. I will, it may take some time, but I will," the servant replied
"I have all the time in the world, because I
won't let it manipulate me any longer. It has lost it's grip on things," Zayal
said with a ghost of a smile apparent on her face.
"What has lost its grip, miss?" the Bruce
asked hesitantly, a bit befuddled by the statement. His forehead wrinkled slightly.
"Time, Time has. What's your name?" Zayal asked,
changing the subject. She was now on her knees and she'd forgotten her loneliness.
Her emotions were easily forgotten when she had something else to put her mind
"Hal. My name is Hal," the Bruce said,
surprised by the question.
"We can do this Hal. Once I'm free and I've defeated
them both the first thing I'll do is make sure you'll never have to be a servant
again. The second thing I'll do is see why this prisoner wanted to see me..."
Zayal blinked, only just remembering her entire reason for coming to Shaylir.
The Bruce's face broke into a huge grin and he
hugged Zayal with his flipper arms tightly. Zayal blinked, then smiled weakly.
Friends weren't as hard to find as she thought.
But she'd never find a friend like Toyan ever
again. This time she held back her tears, but she knew that she wouldn't be
able to hold them back forever. But now was not the time to cry. She had business
to take care of.
"I'm going to mess up... I'm going to mess up... .I'm going to mess up...." Gilro
repeated over and over to himself in a hoarse whisper, as he clumsily toppled
into an open window. He had no idea where it led to, he didn't exactly care
either. Triken had helped him scale the wall to the window. Thank goodness for
that spider, or else Gilro would have been in some serious trouble.
He found himself in a hallway, a hallway adorned
with portraits of past kings. Not taking the time to actually look at the pictures,
Gilro quietly walked down the hallway, trying as carefully as he could to not
make a sound... to no avail. His boots thudded against the stone and echoed through
"Blast it... I knew I was going to mess up... I
knew it... I knew it..." he told himself harshly, still trying to do his best
in sneaking down the hallway.
"Who's there?" a small nervous voice asked.
Oh no... Gilro thought, his heart pounding
with terror. This was it, He had failed Toyan and Zayal. He was such a failure.
A complete and total failure.
"My goodness. What are you doing here? If
the King finds you... well let's not talk about that!" The voice had come from
a Bruce around the corner. Now the Bruce approached Gilro, looking about nervously
as if he was being watched.
"I - I.." Gilro tried to think of some excuse,
but really, how did you explain just walking about the palace corridor in the
middle of the night? Gilro blinked, as a sudden looked of recognition lit up
the man's face.
"You must be that Kyrii she spoke about! Hurry
come with me! You must get her out of here! I can not, for the King will have
my head. Come! Hurry!" The servant grabbed Gilro by the arm and dragged him
across the floor.
"You know Zayal?" Gilro exclaimed, then clapped
a hand over his mouth trying to keep himself from speaking too loudly.
"Of course, I was planning on helping her
escape once the chance came up. You do not want to know what they were going
to do to her... his majesty and the general are truly cruel..." The servant shuddered.
Suddenly, it seemed as if the servant reached
out of nowhere, opening an invisible door that led into a small room.
"My goodness, Zayal!" Gilro yelled leaping
into the room, amazed that he had already found her. Well, not by himself of course,
but still. The look on Zayal's pale face worried him. She looked emotionally drained,
and she didn't look at all like herself. She was different, no doubt about it.
"Gilro... you're here... we can leave now... and
find out what all of this is about... there's so much we need to do... but I'm
so tired..." Her voice was hoarse and raspy, as if she had a sore throat.
"It's okay Zayal! Let's just go. We'll talk about
later, later. Right now let's just get out. We've got to see how Toyan's doing..."
Zayal sat up bolt right.
"That's not funny Gilro. He's gone. Don't do
that to me. Don't. I'm trying to accept it, that it's my fault," Zayal said
flatly, her eyes watering. She forced herself to close her eyes tightly to stop
the tears then re-open them.
"Zayal, What's gotten into you? Toyan is
fine, he's fine. He just had a gash in his leg, That's all!" Gilro explained,
a bit confused, but it made sense. He had also thought Toyan had died when he
first found him... why wouldn't Zayal think the same thing?
"He's... alive? He's alive!" Zayal exclaimed,
then she collapsed on the floor into a heap of crying, laughing confusion.
"This girl certainly has had her ups and downs
the past few hours," Hal stated with a slight chuckle. "But you'd better get
her out of hear. The sooner we leave the better."
"Of course," Gilro said, smiling as
he helped Zayal up. She was laughing and crying hysterically. "C'mon Zayal.
We're going to get Toyan, and then we're off on another whirlwind adventure!"
At that, Zayal burst into more giggles. Tears
streaming down her face.
"He's alive, Gilro! He's alive!" she shouted
and Gilro threw his hand over her mouth and she continued to yell out muffled
"That he is Zayal. That he is."
A few days later, after Toyan has recovered from his injuries. The three of
them headed into the dungeon of Shaylir to finally see Xaania. Meanwhile Ryon
and the King had been scouring the kingdom looking for the three trouble makers
without any luck.
Awed, Zayal peered into the small tunnel that
was hidden by a bush. It was the hidden tunnel that led to the dungeon deep
beneath Shaylir's castle. Gilro pushed a piece of a his shocking green hair
out of the way as he leapt inside adjusting his boots as he landed. Both Zayal
and Toyan were not far behind as they went into the tunnel. Toyan's hooves silently
clopped against the dirt that was on the bottom of the tunnel.
"So, This is it?" Zayal whispered quietly,
almost to herself more so then Toyan and Gilro. The part Uni part human replied
"I guess so. You finally get to meet the
person who sent for you!" Toyan said with a slight chuckle as he continued down
the tunnel after his Kyrii friend. It wasn't long before they reached the dungeon,
Toyan went in first to make sure that there were no guards making their rounds
around Xaania's cell.
There weren't, surprisingly enough.
Toyan gave the sign with a flick of his tail
for Gilro and Zayal to follow. They both did so. Zayal's heart was racing. She
wanted to know who this mysterious person was... the person who had sent for
her. Now that she was finally going to find out, she was excited. Very excited,
and she wasn't sure how to react.
They turned the corner to the prisoner's cell.
A mud-caked dirty woman looked up and met their eyes. If it wasn't for the glisten
in her eye, Zayal would have thought the woman was ancient, but the young vigour
in her eyes told her otherwise.
"Zayal..." the woman, Xaania, said quietly. Drifting
off. "My one and only daughter..."
"... Mother? You're my mother?" Zayal asked, taken
aback. Her mouth dropped open as she kneeled in front of the cell, reaching
into the cell. Toyan and Gilro were both as equally surprised.
"Yes... I... I'm sorry this had to happen..." Xaania
was being distant but she wouldn't take her eyes off of her daughter. "You're
so wonderful... just as I thought you would be."
"Mom... Amberclaw said you were dead..." was all
Zayal could say in a dazed voice.
"She would have... she probably didn't know
how to explain the situation properly," her mother said, shrugging slightly.
"All that matters, is after this is over, we'll be together. Everything
will be all right," Xaania told her daughter, smiling, for the first time
and a very long time.
"I... I want to talk more now, Mom... but
we have to get you out of here..." Zayal told her mother. Calling somebody "Mom"
was weird, but she knew she would get used to it eventually. She also wanted
to find out why her mother was put into prison in the first place...
"The guard will be here in a few moments.
Hide back in the tunnel and when he walks by take the keys from his pocket.
After I am free, we'll confront the king and defeat him," Xaania explained
firmly to Zayal, the Kyrii, and the Uni-boy.
"Defeat the king... but why exactly did he put
you in here in the first place?" Toyan asked, finally shaking off enough of
his surprise to ask a question.
"You will all know soon enough," the ex-general
told them, as they heard the guards footsteps and went to hide back in the tunnel.
Fifteen minutes later Zayal was unlocking the door to her mother's cell. It
hadn't been hard to slip the key out of his pocket without him noticing. He
had just walked right on by without even noticing the slight rustle in his pocket.
And Xaania was free. Without warning Zayal rushed
into her mother's arms, sobbing hysterically. For a moment they stood there,
everything silent except for the sobs emitting from Zayal's throat. Gilro the
Kyrii and Toyan the Uni-boy only stood there, still shocked.
"I hate to ruin the moment... but we've to
got get out of here before we're seen," Toyan pointed out quietly, scoffing
his hoof against the floor impatiently. Gilro nodded eagerly in agreement as
his long green Kyrii hair shook behind him.
"Yes... they're right we must get..." Xaania
was cut off by a loud malicious laugh that came from behind her. The laughter
came from a large yellow Skeith with a long royal robe. It was the King, and
Ryon the Fire Lupe was right there with him.
"So, You think you've finally escaped Xaania?"
the king asked her in a coddling voice. Xaania's eyes visibly narrowed.
"Xaania... I still can't believe what you
did to me," Ryon said, shaking his head. "And to the king!"
"I did nothing to you or the King Ryon.
You've been deceived, for this is not the real king. This Skeith destroyed the
real king's memory and locked him here," Xaania told them firmly. Suddenly
things made sense for Zayal. The "False" King had accused Xaania of betrayal
for figuring out who he really was...
"What? So you lied to me about Xaania?!
You told me she betrayed us all!" Ryon's eyes widened suddenly in fury,
with a sudden leap he knocked the Skeith king down. Zayal, Xaania, Gilro and
Toyan all pulled together to push the king into the dungeon where Xaania had
stayed. Ryon forced the door shut.
"Hey! I am the King! I didn't do it... argh!"
the Skeith king explained.
"There, We'll never have to worry about
him again," Xaania said, ignoring him with a sigh of relief. "Let's
get the real king and go home everybody."
The only question was: How did Xaania figure
out he wasn't the real king?