Shortcut to Paradise...

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Chapter 19:

Sweaty, tired and sore that summed up the result of her day, Mels hands were raw holding tightly onto the reins. Sitting side saddle so long made her left ass cheek numb if Stan wanted anal tonight at least she wouldn’t feel it. Joking aside Mel is truly hurting they hadn’t taken more than one break all day.

Adding to her list of growing problems, Mel drank the last of her water hours ago. During a break to water the horses, Stan told her to fill up an extra canteen that he had, Mel insisted that she had enough in her canteen. Now here she was with no water, when she asked Stan if she could have some of his water he asked her if she drank out of the extra canteen yet. He told her no that she should have used her head.

Cotton mouthed and tired she contemplated her situation sore and hungry wrapped up in her misery Mel doesn’t notice that the column is stopped, she bumps into Nathans horse.

“Pay attention Retard.” Hisses Stan as he trots a head of the column, he raises his voice to the men. “Make camp here, dismount!” Mel followed Nathans horse to a shady grassy spot off the road. Mel’s hand maid Cindy follows behind on a chestnut mare, Benny one of Mel’s guards holds her reins as she dismounts. Mel watches as she rubs her blistered hands, as five of Stan’s guards unpack the only wagon brought on the trip. The men are pulling the canvas of a tent out.

“Princess lets go to the creek to refresh our water they won’t have the command tent ready yet. Mel is led down the rode, she watches as the men all tie off their mounts, on the other side of camp Mel witnesses Stan talking to a group of men, seeing him she is reminded of her thirst.

Nathan takes a right and leads her down a narrow path, at the end a small creek, a tiny stream spills into a pool. Nathan bends down and fills their containers, as soon as hers is handed back Mel guzzles the water down. Coughing as she drinks down half the container Nathan tells her to slow down.

“Easy Princess this water is cold you will choke on it. The ice cold water is soothing quenching her thirst relieving her sore throat , Mel ignores him and chugs it, but Nathan is proven right as she takes in too much. Coughing it up, all over her front she has Nathan fill up the container again. After her third canteen of water Mel returns to camp it had come to life in the twenty minutes that she had been gone. Five tents have been erected Nathan leads her to the largest one.

Inside the tent, a small wooden table for four people, sits with map. At the table shes sees her husband addressing two of his officers. Mel hears half of his conversation upon entering. “We will need three ships finished by the time we set sail.” Stan looks over to Mel as she enters the tent. He stands and leads the officers out of the tent. “We will speak more on the morrow, I will have dinner with my wife here in the command tent.”

Mel looks around the tent. The room is airy a mattress is settled in the corner on top of it are pillows. There is a small brazier in the corner with a smoldering fire. It gives off heat and gives the tent a cozy feeling the ground is carpeted. Mel takes her boots off at the entrance and takes a seat at the table. Stan doesn’t say anything as he continues looking over the maps on the table. Mel sits patiently, soon two large bowls of stew are brought in. Mel digs in gritting her teeth as she holds her spoon in her blistered hands.

“Slow down, gosh the way you eat... your disgusting.” Says Stan. Mel’s face is covered with the dark broth of the Stew. Both cheeks are sopping wet. “We will reach the Red Forest by tomorrow afternoon. We will be dining with the County Warden and Clan heads. I hope you will eat like a normal person.” Mel nods her head as she rips a loaf of bread in half and finishes her stew off. Stan pushes his bowl towards her. “Finish mine, I am not that hungry.” Stan goes over to a trunk on the floor and pulls off his robes. Reaching his hand into the trunk, he pulls out a small container from the trunk. Mel sees him out of the corner of her eye walk naked across the tent.

Stan walks over to the bed and takes a seat. “Get undressed and come to bed.” Orders Stan. Mel gulps down the last bit of stew and stands. Full and exhausted she asks her husband kindly.

“I am really tired, could we just sleep tonight?” Stan shrugged his shoulders.

“Just come to bed.” Mel walks over to him naked. He takes a lid off the container. “Let me see your hands.” Mel takes a seat and her gently lifts her hand. Mel feels the roughness of his fingers under her delicate skin. He begins rubbing the ointment into her hands. Mel is relieved as the pain disappears.

“Your hands won’t heal too much but it will feel a lot better tomorrow, I have a pair of gloves that you can use.” Stan laid down on the bed and held the clovers open for Mel as she climbed in. Mel is surprised as Stan slides his arm around her and pulls her into his tight embrace. Tired, sore and full, the heat of the fire and warmth of her husband cause Mel to drift off into a deep sleep.

Dawn:

The next day they ride until the afternoon. They rode across a grassy plain then a head of Mel she sees a massive forest. The trees even at this distance are hundreds of feet high. Mel trotted next to her husband. A portly man with a small group of retainer’s trots towards them, he wears a smile from ear to ear.

“My Lord, Welcome Back.” The County Warden falls in line with them and greets Mel with a friendly tone.

“Princess Welcome to the Red Forrest.” Stan and the Warden chat regarding the current. Mel half listened as looked around at the lush landscape.

“My Lord we have 11 hulls crafted we have sent them on.” As they approached the village Mel saw massive box shaped buildings. She heard the warden refer to them as Warehouses. The entrance to a warehouse is open as the column trots passes, glancing inside the building she sees a massive tree trunk. Dozens of men stand on top, hand sanding the trunk. Nathan addresses Mel Curiosity.

“The Red Wood Trees are used to make the hulls of ships, each one is handcrafted. Lord Stanley’s naval power is the source of his wealth.” The party enters the main part of the village. A single brick road lines the street. Businesses and buildings are packed close together, much like the look the frontier town in the American West. Mel had seen pictures of the wild west towns where the white man fought the savage and cannibalistic Indians.

Wooden sidewalks line the fronts of the buildings, set at a higher elevation than the brick road. The group comes to a halt in front of an inn. Stan pushes his mount over to Mel. “I have some business to attend too. Head into the inn, grab some food and bathe, you look like you have been rolling in mud. The Warden will be hosting us for dinner so don’t fill up on Tavern Stew and Bread.” Mel dismounted.

Her legs were stiff from the ride, Most of the soldiers continued on with her husband. Cindy holds the door open for Mel. The room has dark polished wood for walls, the entrance is a long hall with benches lining the walls. Several of her bodyguards entered in advance, Mel is ushered in by the overly excited innkeeper.

“Hello Princess.” The man gives her a sweeping bow with his nose almost touching the floor. “Please continue up the stairs, your room is the last one on the right number 31.” Mel places three heavy gold coins on the inn front desk.

“Thank you, innkeeper, Cindy please lead the way, Nathan better keep up my legs might give out up the stairs, that ride was awfully long. Innkeeper could you bring a flagon of cold milk and a pot of Stew with two bowls to my chambers.” The innkeeper nodded his head as Mel made her way through the inn. At the end of the hall she found number 31. Inside she finds a spacious room. The room is built into a rocky hill and has a terrace with a natural hot spring. Inside the room it features a entrance hall and several bed chambers. A futon with fluffy pillows greets her as she enters the master bed chamber.

A large tub big enough for five people is filled with piping hot water, steam rises from the tub, fogging the windows and mirrors. Mel walks back into the bed chamber and grabs a towel as she does so Cindy walks into the room.

“Princess, do you think you can manage the bath, I have to run to the store for clothing? Mel nodded her head.

“Yes I can manage thank you Cindy.” Mel looked at herself in the bedroom mirror. Turning to the side she smiles at what she sees. Covered in dust, but she saw how lean her body had become despite all her setbacks she liked what she saw. Sinking into the hot bath Mel felt her troubles slipping away.

Stan POV:

“Warden what have you heard from the other Wardens.” Asked Stan. He and the Warden sit inside the Redwood Temple. It is in the center of the forest, the temple built from a single redwood tree had been here for 11 generations.

“My Lord, the talk is of the revolution your people are with you.” Stan nodded his head. He had liked what he had seen so far. The warden continued to speak. “The Chiefs of the Clans of the Redwood Forest will meet at dinner tonight.” Stan looked the temple window, seeing the sunset he bows to the Warden. Upon picking his swords up from the ground, he bid the Warden his pardons and raises to his feet.

“I must get ready for tonight please excuse me.” Stan rode back with fifty of his soldiers. Stan arrives to see his wife inside the bathroom getting ready, taking a bath else where he dresses quickly. Only taking his short sword he makes his way outside. The Wardens home is a few doors down from the inn. On the way he sees something peculiar.

Mel is walking several feet ahead of him, her blonde hair is illuminated by the glow of the gas street lamps. Stan face turns into a frown as he sees her enter a saloon. “Tom” Stan hisses to one of his men.

“Yes My Lord.” Stan points Mel entering the saloon and her three guards following after her.

“Why is my wife entering a saloon?” Stan and his men follow after her.

Mel Pov:

The dress she wore was very cumbersome, it was the height of fashion on this part of the island. Cindy helped her into it. Every Step Mel made felt like she would trip on her face. Walking out of the inn Mel felt the tight dress pressing on her bladder she had to go. On the way she saw a saloon.

Walking into the building Nathan shouted at her but Mel didn’t hear him as she entered the building. It was very loud, it was hard to see through the thick clouds of smoke. Mel walks towards the counter, Busty worn out woman sit on the laps men. The barkeeper shouted at her catching her off guard.

“Lady this is no place for you, hey you stupid bitch are you listening.” Mel is focused on a massive creature coming towards her. A large bald man places his hands around her hips. Nathan entered as the man place his hands on her. The bar stopped activity to focus on the spectacle Mel had been caught up in.

Nathan gripped his short sword, as he did, a large fist came out nowhere. Mel watched as the fist rose past her face over her shoulder, she felt the wind and the release of hands. Mel heard a crash turning around, Nathan scooped her up and moved her to the side line. The source of the punch is the largest man Mel had ever seen.

His fist is still extended, the paw is the size of a dinner plate, the man’s arm is massive and hairy. His beard is thick and black and his eyes dark as coal. “Sorry about that princess.”

“What is the meaning of this.” Stand words cracked like a whip. At the sight of him everyone in the building went to one knee. No one answered him, the silence is uncomfortable, Mel brakes it as the tension builds.

“I came in here to use the restroom.” Stan spoke up.

“This is a saloon, woman of note are forbidden to step foot in here!” A whore from the side of the room spoke up.

“My Lord the Barkeeper insulted her, called her a stupid bitch.” Stan glared past the whore and stared directly at the man. Then he looked as the man who came to Mel’s defense. “Larry what did you hit this man for.” Mel is surprised that Stan knows his name.

“He put his hands on her hips and I couldn’t let that stand.′ Stan nods his head.

Patting Larry on the shoulder he praises him. “Good man.” Stan turns to Mel’s guard Benny. “Have that harlot jailed for one week.” The woman who ratted on the barkeeper was led out of the room. Stan looked at Tom his guard. “Take that man outside give him eight lashes and three coins.” The barkeeper is pulled from the room and led out back.

Stan grabs her forearm, he pulls her gently, leading her from the room. “She didn’t mean to cause this much trouble.” Pleads Mel. Stan addresses her quietly, Mel is expecting to be chastised but for once Stan speaks with a rare tenderness.

“I know you didn’t mean too, but I have to be strict, as my wife people my people are to show you respect and treat you with firm kindness. They are not allowed to address and act like that around you or other high-born woman.” Mel hears the screams of the Barkeeper being whipped. Even from the other side of the building his screams carry.

“Who was that man the big one with the large hands.” Stan placed his hand on her lower back and pushes her through the threshold to the Wardens home. Mel stumbles on the dress.

“Watch your step.” Says Stan kindly. “Larry, he is a chief for one of the local warrior clans, you will see more men like him this evening.” They shared a meal with a dozen people Larry entered the room. Mel was only three women in attendance. The Warden’s, daughter and wife sat at the table. When the sake was brought in Mel and the other two excused themselves for tea.

Making small talk wasn’t so bad, the Wardens daughter is a teen but she is really funny. As the girl gets up to bring more tea her mother speaks.

“How are you finding Fairfield Castle. I understand you had a son, I have a son too? Take my advice daughters are easier. My son charged into battle the first chance he had, I am not sure how I feel about another war, and one that may touch our island.” Mel bowed her head and took her last sip of tea.

“I understand, we did not ask for this war, it is being lead by the people a fueled by the powerful, I am sorry your son will be sent to war.” The woman placed a gentle hand on Mel’s hand.

“No need to be sorry, just know I feel just like all the other mothers whose sons will march to war.” Said the Warden’s wife as his daughter returned with more tea.

Mel is exhausted and sleepy as she makes her way down the elevated wooden sidewalk, her dress had become more cumbersome as the night progressed. Increasing her speed the dress gets caught under her feet. A tearing noise is hardly heard as Mel tips over the sidewalk, Mel sees a large trough, it wasn’t water she landed in. It was damp and she sank into it but it smelled like sewage. Nathan comes running over to her and lifts under her arms.

The green dress had been stained brown. “What was that.” Stan had made his way over to her, Stan had his nose pinched.

“You fell into a compost pile, you smell horrible. Cindy, take my wife to the stables and hose her off I will not have her tracking this smell into my room. Benny & Nathan, have men set up to stop any passerby I will not have the people seeing my wife hosed off like a skunked dog.” He walked over to Mel and smelled her.

“You are sleeping in one of the spare rooms, I will not smell this all night.” Mel is dragged to the stables and Cindy strips her of that nasty dress. The ice-cold water causes her to shiver, she is washed head to toe with soap four time. By the time she rinses off a fourth time her teeth wont stop chattering and every pore on her skin had become goose bumped.

Dressed in sweat pants and cotton pullover, Mel makes her way back to the inn. Stan had long fallen asleep. Mel lays down on her cold futon closing her eyes once, exhaustion over takes her.

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