After a while of standing there Issy finally said “What we need is a plan. When we go to sleep tonight if we end up in the crystal kingdom again we need to get together as quickly as we possibly can.”
“I am already very close to Rose,” said George. “If I can meet up with her and the horses and lions we can all go together to the dark palace.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Issy looking around at the others who all nodded in agreement. “I don’t know how far I am from you guys but for some reason in my dream I thought that we were going to end up in trouble and I persuaded the deer to gather up some support from the nearest animals which happened to be the elephants and rhinos. Now I know where you are I can tell them that we need to come to you. You need to wait for us to arrive, it’s not a good idea for you to do this on your own.”
“I agree,” said Rose.
“Me too,” said George.
“We already know that Violet is on her way to Alex and that Ruby is on her way to Callum” continued Issy. “If they can all get together and head over to the horse’s kingdom we can all be together. At least that way we can be as strong as possible for however the evil queen will react.”
“Yes and if we can find any other animals nearby to come with us then we will be even stronger,” added Callum.
“So that’s it then,” said Rose “we have a plan. Everyone heads to me and until we are all there we wait. No matter what.”
“No matter what,” repeated Issy.
The children then continued their walk into the woods and back to the cave. They spent hours looking around and digging inside and outside but this time they found nothing. As it started to get late they all agreed to head back to the house to get washed up and ready for dinner. There was a mixture of excitement and nerves among them as they ate and chatted to their parents about their afternoon in the woods. They all wanted to go back into the crystal kingdom but were secretly a little afraid of what was going to happen next.
When it was finally time to go to bed all of the children gathered in their tents and whispered to each other.
“Remember the plan everyone,” said Issy.
“Everyone is coming to me and I’ll wait for you at the horse’s kingdom no matter what,” whispered back Rose.
It didn’t take long before all of the children had drifted off to sleep. The last one to fall asleep this time was Rose. No sooner had she closed her eyes than they flicked back open again.
It happened in such a flash that it took her by complete surprise. Sunny was calling out to her. “Rose, wake up. Quickly, we have to leave at once.”
“What’s happening?” said Rose, jumping up.
“Maura’s spies have spotted us,” said Eden. “We have to stop them before they reach her. If they let her know that they have seen you she will prepare her army at once. If we catch them that won’t happen or at least if we keep up with them we can take her by surprise and she won’t have chance”
“But I have to stay here and wait for the others,” said Rose, panicking suddenly.
“Rose, your friends are days away. There is no way they will get here in time. We must act now. It is our only chance,” said Sunny firmly. “If you want to talk to Maura you will only be able to do this if she doesn’t have time to prepare her army. We will send word back and send for reinforcements but that is the best we can do. We must go now. The spies are getting away.” With that, all of the lions and horses except for one turned and made after the spies that were just disappearing from view. Rose had no choice, she had to follow them and hope that she had made the right decision.
George had already been discussing with Eldred the plan that they had all made as they made their way to the crystal towers. It was going to be another two days before all of the others made it to the horse’s kingdom and George was eager to meet up with Rose as soon as possible and was confident she would be heading back towards them already. So it was a bit of a shock when in the distance they saw one lone rider heading towards them.
As they got closer George called out “Where is Rose? Where are the other horses and lions?”
“I am Morgan. I have been sent back to gather reinforcements. Maura’s spies were spotted by our watchman near our camp at first light. Sunny has taken everyone with him in pursuit. If they can catch the spies they will stop them reporting to Maura of Rose’s presence here. They had to go after them. At the very least if they don’t catch them they will be able to speak to Maura before she has a chance to assemble her armies.”
“So much for the plan,” groaned George. “Now what do we do?”
“I will go back to the kingdom as instructed,” continued Morgan. “I will send for as many reinforcements as possible to follow behind Sunny as they march on the palace. With your speed you will catch them up quite quickly. You should send three of your dragons to get word to the nearby gorillas, bears and wolves. If they follow behind you even by a few hours Maura will know that to risk an attack without her full army assembled will be madness. There will be too many of us against her and she will have to agree to talk. She knows that none of us have turned to her for many years now. She awaits the return of Nerrez her husband just as eagerly as we await our beloved King and Queen. If she thinks there is a chance that Rose knows anything about where he is she will be keen to talk to her.”
“That sounds very wise,” said Eldred, dispatching three of his dragons immediately. “We will continue North and catch up with Rose, Sunny and Eden. If we get the opportunity to catch the spies we will wait as long as we can for you to arrive but we can’t risk being close to the dark palace at nightfall. Something tells me that those spies are going to get word to Maura before we have a chance to stop them. In which case we will have to all head straight towards the palace without delay.”
“May the spirit of Velaro Fore be with you Eldred,” cried Morgan.
“And with you Morgan and with you. Come George, come my brothers we have no time to lose. Let us make good haste. Your sister Rose needs us.”
Sunny stood watching as the spies got further and further out of sight. “It’s no good we won’t catch them now,” he said. “We have no choice but to continue on to Maura’s palace. By the time we get there she will know that you are here and she will no doubt be calculating a plan. Although I dare say she will be hoping that you will be able to tell her something about Nerrez. She has been anticipating his return for all this time.”
“But I don’t know anything about him,” said Rose. “I’ve never even heard of him until I came here.”
“Don’t underestimate her Rose. You could know a lot more than you realise.”
“I don’t even know my own parents. All I know is that there is an old photo of my parents standing in front of the house that me and my family are staying in now for our summer holiday. I have dreamed about this house my whole life but I had never seen it before in real life until yesterday.”
“Well Rose, I believe that your Mother and Father have been with you in your dreams this whole time. They have guided you here. Just believe in yourself and when the time is right your true power will take over. For now we have to continue on to the dark palace. Maura will no doubt be waiting for you.”