Chapter 13 - The Greedy Pig
The sun had set by the time Lillian arrived at her destination. It was a small tavern called "The Greedy Pig” just a few hours ride from Castle Krillian, on the very outer boundaries of the Kingdom’s borders.
The letter from her parents instructed her to come here and meet with them when she could and gave her specific directions to follow in order to find the tavern, which was neatly tucked away in a small clearing of the surrounding forest.
She sat on her horse as she looked down the hill at the tavern, which was already busy with trade as the flame torches burned brightly around the building. She could see the glow coming from inside through the windows, as well as the movement of the patrons who were there at the time.
It was a busy night at the Greedy Pig!
Riding her horse down the hill slowly she came across to the pathway leading into the tavern’s entrance and spotted a lone tree off to the side. Dismounting from her horse, she then proceeded to use the long reigns as a rope, tying the horse to the tree's thick trunk and giving the brown mare a gentle pat across its soft mane.
“Hey girl. You’ve done it... Rest now.” she spoke to the animal softly. “I’ll return for you shortly.”
With that she began to make her way down to the entry of the tavern where many patrons were already walking in and out, going about their own business.
At that very moment, King Draxus, General Shasharan and Zaar were currently riding at top speed across the countryside, followed closely by a company of Westonian soldiers on horseback.
It was pure luck that General Shasharan had taken the time to read the letter when Lillian gave it to him for Draxus to read earlier on that day. The contents of the letter had described the place Lillian’s parents had asked her to meet them; a tavern called ‘The Greedy Pig’ and they were on their way there.
Wearing his horned helmet, the mighty Dragon King preyed they would find her in time, before anything were to happen to her!
Lillian’s emerald eyes peered around the inside of the tavern, searching for the familiar faces of her parents, the King and Queen of Rykiss. She hoped they were still there, waiting for her as they had instructed in their letter. How she missed them!
Making her way through the patrons carefully, so as not to raise suspicion, Lillian searched desperately for their faces. There were plenty of faces to search through though and majority of the people in the tavern were all either drinking, laughing or dancing about.
As she glanced toward the back of the tavern she thought she noticed a pair of figures sitting in the back corner, both wearing long cloaks and holding hands.
Deciding to take a look, Lillian began to maneuver through the drinking patrons, carefully brushing past one at a time until she was in a position to get a better look at the couple.
There were indeed two people sitting at he back table, holding hands and as one of them suddenly turned to glance around Lillian froze with uncontrollable excitement.
It was her mother, Queen Katherine!
“Mother.” she whispered to herself in excitement.
Not bothering to waste anymore time, she began to push past the last few patrons in the tavern until she came to stand beside the table they were sitting at, a large smile spread across her face as tears threatened to form.
It was them!
“Mother, father, it's me!” she spoke loud enough for them to hear and the pair both quickly looked up to see her standing before them. “I can’t believe you’re both here! I’ve missed you so much!”
But something felt off... Neither of her parents came over to hug her. Neither of them spoke a single word in response to her as she poured her heart out to them, and she stood with a look of concern forming on her face as soon as her gut-feeling began to kick in.
Something was wrong.
At last her mother did speak, but it wasn’t her mother’s voice!
“I told you before... this is far from over, my Queen.” the woman dressed as her mother spoke with a haunting voice as her eyes suddenly changed, turning white!
Lillian stepped backwards, her eyes wide with fear as the pair before her suddenly transformed as if by magic before her.
What was once the form of her mother had now become the same woman she had met in the carriage weeks ago; the one with the white eyes and black hair. And the figure once posing as her father had transformed into that of her recent captor and Draxus’ sworn enemy, King Rathman!
“No...” she mumbled shaking her head as she took another step backwards from them, the pair only grinning back at her as she did so. “This can’t be!”
Rathman gestured behind her with a nod of his head as he made a strange command. “Grab her!”
Before Lillian could turn around to see who he was giving order to, several of his men posing as patrons in the tavern suddenly moved in and grabbed at her arms, holding onto her tightly as she let out a terrified scream.
“No, help me please!”
Regular patrons at the tavern turned to watch in bewilderment as the soldiers held onto this young woman while she struggled and screamed out for help.
But this time Lillian wasn’t going to be taken so easily!
As they began to drag her in towards where their King sat waiting at the table with Rayvinn, Lillian closed her eyes and concentrated, focusing her powers on forming a protective barrier around herself. She needed protection!
The next instant, she opened her eyes revealing their bright white glow and instantaneously a massive wave of white light shot out from where she stood, sending all of the men holding onto her flying across the tavern and into unknowing patrons.
Some landed against the wall and came crashing down to the floor. Others went flying out the glass windows which smashed loudly upon impact, alerting everyone in the tavern to what was happening.
The force she had created only seemed to affect the men holding onto Lillian as both Rayvinn and Rathman sat there staring in shock at what she had just been able to do.
Rayvinn leaned forward and touched a silver amulet which now hung around the King’s neck; the amulet instantly lit up with a bright red glow and she quickly handed him a white piece of cloth which he pocketed as she gave a simple command.
“Go and grab her, do it now!”
Rathman moved out from where he had been sitting and began to make his way through the panicking patrons.
As Lillian’s eyes suddenly changed back to their normal emerald green colour, she blinked and let out a big exhale as she felt weakened suddenly. Shaking it off, she turned searching desperately for the exit.
Patrons were running about frantically now as she struggled to see which way the door was as they blocked off her view.
As she glanced back to check and make sure no one was following her as she pushed her way through the crowd of panicking patrons, she had no idea that she was walking right into his path!
Satisfied that no one was following her now, Lillian turned her head back to continue walking forward and came face to face with King Rathman himself!
Before she could scream, his hand quickly grabbed her by the neck and she struggled to pull herself free from him in an obvious panic.
“No!” she snapped at him. "Let go!"
Thinking fast, Lillian closed her eyes ansd tried to focus on using her powers to throw him away from her as well, but after about ten seconds or so of nothing happening, she opened her eyes and noticed him grinning with satisfaction.
Her powers weren't working! Why weren't they working?
She noticed a strange amulet he wore around his neck now which was glowing with a red colour as he pulled her in close to his face and spoke menacingly to her.
"Your powers won't save you now, Dragon Queen!"
His hand moved to his pocket and he pulled out the white piece of cloth Rayvinn had given him only moments earlier. He turned her around as she kicked and screamed, fighting with all she had left to get free from his grasp.
With his left arm around her waist to hold her in place, he placed the white cloth over her face, covering her mouth and nose and forcing her to breathe in the fumes from it's soaked surface.
The cloth had a powerful sedative coating it and as Lillian continued to fight against his strong grip, with each breath she sucked in of it's pungent aroma, her body became heavier and heavier, her vision began to blur and darken as she slowly began to stop fighting him.
"That's it... Don't fight it." he taunted her with a grin as she finally dropped her hands down and her entire body fell completely limp in his arms, her eyes closed.
Pocketing the cloth again, Rathman chuckled as he spun her around and then hoisted her up over his shoulder. Holding onto her as he turned around to see Rayvinn walking beside him, they made their way out of the tavern and across to where their horses were waiting a short distance away.
"My King, what about all of the witnesses?" General Wu asked Rathman as one of the soldiers helped Rathman lift the Queen up onto the horse, to be seated in front of him in his saddle.
Lillian's unconscious body lay back against his chest as he held his arms around her waist, her hair fell down his chest in a waterfall of golden silk.
"No one can be left behind to tell the Dragon King what happened here." Rathman commanded. "Burn it to the ground. Leave no witnesses!"
With that, he took off on his horse followed closely by Rayvinn who rode her own black mare. General Wu remained, accompanied by several of the soldiers who were to complete their King's command. They had plenty of terrified people to round up.
There would be no survivors.