Chapter 30 - There's Been a Breach!
Lillian was woken later that night by Draxus as he gently shook her by the shoulders in an effort to wake her; his voice desperate and filled with concern.
"Lillian, wake up!"
As Lillian, who was still half asleep sat up in her bed, Draxus got off the bed and went to continue dressing himself. She squinted her eyes, rubbing them as she looked across to her husband who appeared to already be dressed in his clothing and... armour?
Not only that, but her three handmaidens were all frantically gathering together clothing for her to change into.
"Draxus, what's going on?" she asked with a frown. "Why are you dressed like that, in your armour?"
"There's been a breach inside the castle." he reported sternly as he pulled on his second black boot. "Your maids have your clothing ready, get dressed quickly!"
He turned to face the maid closest to him as he gave his command.
"Ensure the Queen has something to keep her warm, we're to be escorted from the castle to a safer location."
Willow, the red-head maiden who had been given the direct order from her King bowed her head and ran to the hanger where large, thick coats made of various types of animal fur hung in a row together. She quickly grabbed one and rushed it over to the bed where the handmaidens Ruby and Skye had already begun dressing Lillian, who now stood beside the bed.
Panic began to set in as Lillian was quickly dressed by her three maidens and she watched her husband work swiftly to attach his belt around his waist, including the long golden sheath which was currently empty.
"Do you know who's responsible for the breach?" Lillian asked as Ruby slipped a pair of boots onto her feet, one by one.
"No idea." Draxus replied. "But the castle is virtually impossible to enter without help from someone on the inside. I've got Zaar looking into it. He suspects a mole somewhere inside the castle."
The King then turned to the side and grasped the long black and golden handle of his long sword, lifting it up and swiftly sheathing it inside its sheath as he continued to report what they knew so far about the breach.
Meanwhile Lillian went into a daze, thinking to herself for a moment and remembering back to the singular soldier she ran into on her way up to their chambers earlier on that night. Was it perhaps related? Could that soldier have been the one they are looking for; the mole?
"Lillian, are you listening?" Draxus broke her out of her daze with his bellowing voice, his eyes fixed on her and his brows raised.
She decided to share what she had seen, just in case.
"Draxus, it may have been nothing... but on my way up to our chambers this evening I ran into someone. A man whom I thought was a lone soldier at the time. He was dressed in Westonian armour with a helmet on, so I didn't think much of it."
Draxus seemed to take her information on board as he nodded and walked across, grabbing his helmet and placing it over his head.
"It's a possibility. I'll inform Zaar when we find him."
He turned to face his wife, who was quickly being ushered by the maidens towards the door to join him.
At last they were ready to leave.
Taking Lillian by the hand, Draxus looked her in the eye through the holes in his greatly intimidating helmet. His eyes seemed full of concern for her.
"Stay close to me, I'll take you to where General Shasharan is waiting to escort you to a safer location. You will do as he commands, do you hear me?"
Lillian frowned at this.
"Wait, what about you?"
"I'm going to lead the fight against any enemy soldiers who make it inside the castle walls. I'll ensure the breach is sealed and that whoever is responsible is brought to justice." he explained.
"I don't want to leave you..." her fear was evident now as she grasped his black gloved hands tightly. "I must be able to help out somehow. Please, just let me help."
He shook his head as he replied.
"I need to ensure you are safe, Lillian. I couldn't do my job as King if I were concerned for your well-being. You needn't be worried about me..."
He brought his right hand to rest on the side of her face as he continued.
"This is what I do, remember, the Dragon King? I'll have this whole mess sorted out and you'll be back in my arms in no time."
She wanted to believe him, but she couldn't help how her heart ached. He was right; her presence there would only cause distractions for him. She would need to leave. But she hated the feeling of being totally useless.
Lillian was aware that she had powers, though she didn't know what they could actually do yet. She had not yet learned how to harness them correctly.
With a sigh, she nodded and he smiled as she nuzzled into his open hand as it rested against the side of her face.
"I understand..." she gave him a stern expression with both of her eyebrows raised as she added, "But you will return to me unharmed, do you hear me!"
Narrowing his eyes, he gave her a small grin as they turned and began to move through the chamber doorway, out into the hallway.
Turning right where two waiting soldiers led the way down the hall, marching at a rapid speed with Draxus following and Lillian right behind him. His thick boots thumped down loudly on the stone floor beneath his feet as they moved along, Lillian feeling as if she were jogging just to keep up with their current pace.
She could hear shouting and banging sounds somewhere off in the distance as they turned another corner and began to descend down a steep spiraling staircase.
The head soldier had a flame torch in his hand which he held out in front as their descent deepened into the dark basement of the castle, where there were no lights.
"Why are we coming down here?" Lillian asked, holding onto Draxus' hand now as they moved through the pitch black chamber slowly. "Draxus, I can't see a thing!"
"Shh... The tunnel's opening is just up ahead, the General should be here waiting for us." Draxus whispered to her. "We need to remain silent or-"
His voice was suddenly cut off mid-sentence by another ahead of them.
"Too late for that, I'm afraid!"
As if by magic, the entire room lit up with more than fifteen flame torches surrounding the four who froze upon realizing they had been ambushed and were clearly outnumbered.
Instinctively, Draxus pulled Lillian in behind him as he unsheathed his sword and stood his ground; his soldiers did the same, even if the odds were against them.
Standing between them and their way out was a familiar face from long ago and Draxus' amber eyes narrowed as he met King Rathman's gaze, only made visible from the flames of the torch he held beside his head.
Rathman greeted the Dragon King with a sinister grin curving at the corners of his bearded mouth.
"Long time no see!"