Wendell and the Dragon's Heart

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Chapter 52

Wendell wandered aimlessly through the castle’s many corridors at midnight, unable to find any sleep in his room.

“I wish I could do it all over again,” he thought, to no one, not even himself. “If only they sent me out again, I could fight just as well as I did before!! I’m the one who did everything,” he thought bitterly. “I’m the one who was brave and did what everyone else was too cowardly for!! I’m the one who risked my life again and again, for this sad ungrateful girl nobody likes!”

Where was the nameless one that supposedly helped him? If they were so great, why couldn’t they help him now?

“I’m the one who did it all. I’m the one who had to be great and clever and all, just like Curdie and David always were! I didn’t need any help anyways! Why would I??” he thought, on and on.

Finally, he found himself at the doorway of a small, round room. Someone was standing on a small pedestal with her back to Wendell, her arms stretched out for the royal measurers, bright red hair flowing down the white gown she was wearing.

Now they turned her around, and she looked back at Wendell as if to say, “Are you happy now?”, still holding out her arms as the servants bustled and measured her.

Wendell went through the halls at random now, his thoughts too horrible for words. One after the other, the passages fled before him, as he tried to find something, he didn’t know what.

A servant came running into view, a fearful look on his face.

“The king requests your presence in the royal chambers,” he said, panting. “Violet is gone!”

Wendell was led in a stupor to the throne room. The king stood, below his throne, some weary looking military commanders gathered about him. When he saw Wendell, he rushed over to him, his face empty and anguished.

“My dear boy, if anyone can help me, you can!!” The king said, his voice sadly eager.

“You must be off at once in pursuit!! I have arranged for horses. I am sorry, but you must be off before the kidnappers have gotten too far!! If anyone can help... if anyone...”

With that, Wendell was led with the commanders, Hangs leading them diligently, out to the royal stables, where several pages were busy dressing up warhorses and stallions.

Now Wendell mounted his old horse, and the others did the same. Together, they cantered about towards the castle bridge. The sky was cloudy and dark, and soon, droplets of moisture were falling.

As they reached the bridge, Wendell heard someone cry out behind him.

Wendell!!

He looked behind as the horses sped ahead, and saw Karen running after him in the rain, her wedding dress soaked with water. She tripped now, and caught herself, and looked up again. He always remembered the way her face looked, the rain streaking her hair into dark rivulets across her face, looking so sad, so sad...

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