The girls didn’t actually go first into the building—they didn’t dare—but they certainly seemed to think that it was fun to annoy me.
“So,” Amaya said when she saw the other guard passed out on the grass, “how did you knock yours out? You know, we just need to compare to see who did it in a better way.”
I looked at her with one of the most ‘are-you-serious’ looks I’ve ever made. “We’re competing now?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I mean, it’s the logical thing to do,” Amaya shrugged. “You tell us what you did and I tell you why the guard was so afraid of me.” She smirked at me, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation of knowing what made Amaya of all people scary.
I didn’t want to prove her right, but… I wanted to know.
“I don’t even know when you two ran off, but I blocked his attack with crossed daggers and ended up shifting it off to the side where he dug it into the ground on accident,” I gestured over to him where his sword was still stuck in the ground like a pitiful version of Excalibur. “And then I knocked him out with a hit to the back of the head.”
“And there were some very Calypso comments,” Marlee guessed.
“Well, of course,” I shot her a look that hopefully conveyed offense over her suggesting otherwise.
Amaya snickered, “well, our guard…” she shot a glance at Marlee that looked a lot like they were speaking through looks again.
I chose to pay more attention to the emphasis she put on ‘our.’
Amaya giggled a bit. “I didn’t come with only the food in my bag,” she said, looking at me as though waiting for me to understand what she was trying to hint at.
I kept watching her in confusion. “So, you brought… what?”
She pulled something out of her pocket and with a small amount of horror, I recognized it.
“That thing?” I demanded, staring at her. “My finger still doesn’t want to work properly!”
Amaya shrugged. “I wasn’t the one who touched your finger with it.”
I glared at her, then paused, pushing my own feelings aside for a moment. “Did you use it on the guard?” I asked in confusion. “I thought you could only make it heal.”
Amaya smirked at me. “I said that only I could make it heal, not I can only make it heal.”
I narrowed my eyes at her, “you little…” I began chuckling to myself. “Good job. You win.” I turned towards the castle and took a step before pausing and turning back. “Don’t you dare touch me with that again,” I said.
“Don’t give me a reason to,” she retorted.
“Okay, you two,” Marlee interrupted, looping her arm around Amaya and grabbing my arm, “let’s go inside before something else stops us from going in.”
“Now, why would we do that?” I wondered aloud, letting her push me into the building.
Amaya giggled, “because we’re insane.” She made a motion next to her head that I supposed was supposed to mean ‘insane.’ It was getting darker the further in we walked, so I wasn’t sure.
I pulled Marlee’s hand off my arm and hissed two last words: “be quiet.”
There was just enough light left for me to see the girls nod.
My cloak was billowing out around me, helping me blend into the wall and I crept forward, one blade in hand and the other tucked into my knife belt ready to be pulled out when it was needed.
Walking down the darkening corridor, I heard the small stones scrape against each other under my boots and the small tap of each footstep on the rocks that didn’t have sand and stones on them. It was like the whole corridor needed to be swept, but the chore had fallen by the wayside over the years, leading to accumulating silt and leaves from rainstorms from years passed and oodles of people who didn’t care enough to rid their shoes of all leaves and blades of grass before entering.
I kept walking and walking, but the tunnel didn’t seem to end. Instead, it branched off a few times and grew narrower in places and wider in others. Finally, I realized that it was made almost for the same reason the halls upstairs had been made for.
“It looks exactly the same everywhere I turn because it’s designed to get us lost,” I hissed to the girls in frustration. Of course, they wouldn't stop with making the above-ground levels alike. They had to bring it into the basement tunnels of sorts, too.
Marlee groaned in annoyance. “What kind of idiot does that?”
“A not-idiotic one,” Amaya replied easily. I felt more than saw her brush past me. “Here, I’ll lead. I’m good with tunnels.”
I felt a hand slip into mine and tried to pull away, but it held tight.
“You need to hold tightly onto my hand because it’s only going to get darker,” Amaya said sternly. “Now, grab Marlee’s hand.”
Never had I thought that I’d be listening to someone ordering me to hold someone's hand. Then again, I wasn’t a big fan of holding hands in general. I always found a way to sneak away from everyone who tried to hold my hand, family or not.
This time, I wasn’t able to do that.
“Okay,” I muttered with obvious displeasure.
“Good,” Amaya chirped, way too cheerful considering we were in a dark tunnel and could barely see our hands in front of our faces. “Now let’s go!”
I felt my arm get pulled and I started walking to keep up, ending up pulling Marlee in the meantime. Marlee sped up and stepped on the back of my foot, causing me to trip a bit and slow down. Amaya was ahead of us, still going strong and pulling my arm halfway out of its socket.
“Would you mind slowing down until we get a hang of this ‘hand-holding’ thing?” I asked in annoyance.
Marlee snickered, “Amaya, we need to remember that Calypso has probably never held a hand in her life.”
I growled. “Because I’m not holding two of them right now,” I snarked back.
“Who says that it’s my hand?” Marlee replied with a smirk in her voice, “for all you know, I could be pulling you and Amaya could’ve been the one who just tripped on you.”
“Amaya doesn’t know that you stepped on my foot,” I replied, “now can we keep moving now.”
“We are moving,” Amaya said seriously.
I had to pause a moment and wonder if she’d lost her mind because we most certainly weren’t moving.
“We are on the earth, which is moving around the sun, so, therefore, we are moving,” Amaya continued.
It took me a moment to get it, but when I did, I groaned.
“You’ve spent way too long around Kase,” I told her.
“Probably,” she agreed, “anyway, we’ll keep going.”
“Finally,” I muttered, then felt another footstep on my heel. This time, however, I didn’t think that it was accidental.
Something was up between Marlee and Amaya. Now I just had to figure out what it was.