Disclaimer: I only own the things you don't recognize. Everything else is from the brilliant C.S. Lewis. Nor am I making any $$ off of this.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Never Alone
"Stephen, what was that?" Emily shrieked, something had just flown quickly over our heads. Something that seemed to be ghost-like.
It even threw me for a scare as another something flew between all of us. We got a close enough look at it to know that it was a spirit of some sort, not very unlike Cruels, I would imagine.
I seconded the servant," Yes, what exactly was that?"
Stephen gulped and peered nervously over his shoulder at us," Did I mention that there are, ahem, more spirits that live up here? That might possibly-"
"Stephen," I growled, moving closer to him," Do not tell me that there's going to be a Cruel-infested-"
"Not Cruels!" Stephen defended, looking around nervously still. "It's something else…"
A cackle echoed through the mountain path and though we were not anywhere near being at the top of the mountain, a chill was sent down the back of our necks. Anger was building in me, had that boy and tavern owner led us all the way up here just to be locked away in the mountains with another troop of Cruels…I would lose control. I would not allow him to do that, not now. Had he been working against us this entire time...
Another one swooped down in front of us, cackling even louder than the first echo. It showed its face to us once and I had to take another glance; it was a woman.
"Stephen, I swear that if you're playing some sort of trick-" I accused again, even more baffled now.
"Stop it!" Emily barked, standing up for him. " He wouldn't do that to us, Rosalie."
I looked directly at Emily, baffled that she wasn't taking my side in this. As she came closer, the look on her face was dead serious. She honestly believed that he had done no harm and I think that I did deep down, but at the moment…he was not being viewed in a very pleasant light through my eyes. With a glare on my face, I watched as Stephen continued on awkwardly.
For another few steps in the cool air, we walked in silence, looking all around for any key as to where they could find the Telmarine men. All around, all we could see were walls of rock stacked high to the sky. We seemed so miniscule compared to these massive structures. The sun had already started to set as we entered the mountains and now that we were quite a ways into the trail; the moon was slowly making its ascend into the sky.
All of us seemed to be hearing all sorts of strange noises or perhaps it was merely our imagination. Either way, I believe it would have been safe to say that our minds were playing tricks on us. The visits from these creatures continued the closer we came to this spring.
Once, we had to throw ourselves onto the ground just to simply avoid being hit by the barbaric "woman".
"Are those women?" I asked Stephen, trying to catch my breath from the close call. " Are they really what they appear to be?"
Stephen shook his head," Oh, no. If I remember correctly, they're ridiculous. I don't know what they're called, but they thrive here. Typically they choose some sort of land structure to dwell in and these have chosen the mountains." He paused,"They're the most vulgar things you've ever seen, that is…after they take human form."
"Human form?" Emily asked incredulously; Stephen pulled her from the ground.
"Yes, if I remember correctly then whenever I came here with Jacob; they took human form. They're enticing, very enticing, but extremely vicious, bitter, and most of all jealous. We had to stay here for nearly two days the first time we came, just to convince them that all we wanted was strictly for business. We got lucky that they actually believed we would give them someone else in exchange for letting us go," Stephen explained to the both of us as we continued onward. " Mostly, they will stay in spirit form unless they have an interest in someone."
"Whenever you say 'interest'-" I started to ask with a raise of my brow.
He looked directly at me as if he knew exactly what I was asking," Yes. They mostly live on those types of desires. Folk say that these creatures are the perfect reason to abstain from those activities frequently. Those types of feelings are…addictive and turned these creatures into completely monsters."
I shuddered with disgust.
"So, how do we go about finding Caspian?" I asked after putting away the disgust. " Can these things be…destroyed?"
Stephen shook his head," I know that they can't when in spirit form. General tried that and it seemed to fail. I don't particularly know about their human form…it would be worth a shot. They can't do much physical damage in their spirit form."
I imagined they could do some fairly severe mental damage; however.
I nodded, keeping that in the back of my head. Mentally, I was preparing myself for whenever we had to face these things one-on-one. In my lifetime, I had only been in combat with humans and maybe a creature or two, but spirits were definitely a new opponent. I really had no idea how we were going to get Caspian out of the caves if we had to face all of these women-ghosts, but I didn't see us having any other option. I would make my move only when she was in human.
"Rosalie," A voice whispered, echoeing through the mountains.
I had been hearing so much in these mountains that I hardly knew what was real and what was just my head. I hardly paid much attention as Stephen informed us that we were just around the corner from where the Spring of Revival was. Up ahead, I noticed that there were the entrances to several caves, but there were still not a sign of any more of these creatures, for the time being.
"Rosalie!" It whispered again, more loudly and with much more panic this time.
Realizing that this could have been more than just a mind game, I looked around, searching for anywhere that this voice could be coming from.
Emily glanced at me with a concerned look on her face," What's wrong, Rosalie?"
"Listen, tell me if you hear anything," I told her, stopping in my tracks.
She looked at me, puzzled as she stood next to me. Stephen stopped several moments later and saw that we were both stopped. Before he could say a word, I put a finger up to my lip to signal him to stay silent. He nodded and stayed as still as possible.
"Over here, Rosalie!" It said, more loudly than a whisper this time. "To your left!"
Whenever the voice spoke, I could have sworn that it was Apollo. The whisper was much more muffled, but I would have bet anything that the voice calling to me was Apollo. Still unsure, I looked tentatively to where the voice was telling me. In the mountain wall, there seemed to be a small hole. I assumed this was where the voice was coming from so I slowly made my way to the hole.
"Rosalie, what if it's a trap?" Emily asked, her voice trembling, but I hardly noticed.
I had to take a chance. Before long, I was crouched down, looking directly into the hole.
"Who are you?" I asked, my voice in a soft whisper.
The man placed his face in front of the hole and a smile came to my face. One of the first genuine smiles I had in a very long time; it was Apollo. His light hair was strewn and his face seemed to be bruised here and there. Still, his bright eyes would have been recognizable from a mile away.
"Apollo!" I exclaimed, moving myself closer to the hole. "You don't know how happy I am to see you."
The man chuckled, how nice it sounded to actually hear his voice! Even if it wasn't Caspian, it was someone. It was someone from Narnia.
"And I you," He said with a beaming smile on his face.
Emily came running over after she heard my exclamation. She perched herself next to me and smiled greatly," Hi, Apollo!"
"Hello, Emily," He said cordially, still smiling.
"Where's Caspian?" I stuttered, after many moments of trying to decide just what I wanted to have answered.
It didn't take long for Apollo to silence me. Suddenly, a look of severity came over his face as something crashed in the background. Voices could be heard crying in the distance.
"I don't have much time, but you must get us out of here. Caspian and I tried to make our way to come out to warn you, but the 'queen' nymph found him and pulled him back away. She's got a close eye on him and I don't know if you know this, but these nymphs are particularly-"
"Vulgar," I finished his sentence with a nod of my head.
"Right. You have to get us out, I don't know how, but if you could do it without saying you're his wife or that you want to take him or anyone else away. She's already said that she would kill you should you try and take him from her. Use your words and try to convince them that all you want to do is make a deal."
I had a feeling that would not go over well.
"But, I am going to take him from her. How am I suppose to cover that up?" I asked him, confused by what exactly he wanted me to do.
Another crash could be heard from his side," You have to somehow convince them that you want no harm. The queen's name is Rhiannon, if you use it the more likely she will be generous."
"Apollo, I still am so-"
"I wish I could help you more Rosalie, but it looks like they're onto me now. Caspian and I put our complete faith in you," He spoke so quickly and before he could even bid me a farewell; he was gone.
The most help he had been was being able to give these creatures an official name. They were very barbaric nymphs, who didn't seem to get out of the mountains much and whose queen had a particular liking for Caspian. A pinge of hate ran through me already toward this Rhiannon and I hadn't even seen her yet.
"You know what we have to do right?" Emily asked me, an idea sounded as though it was forming by the tone in her voice.
She was acting as if this was simple.
"What?" I asked, still rather baffled.
"Stephen, come here!" Emily called, a look of excitement forming. "You really don't know, Rosalie?"
I shook my head, curious as to what she had up her sleeve.
Quickly, the boy moved over to us and looked at Emily confused," What?"
"We use him," She said to me and I nodded my head in agreement.
Emily's plan was risky, but it was possibly the only option we had. Since these nymphs were so caught up in men, we could play that game. We could give them a man. We moved closer to the entrance and found that there were several nymphs floating around the entrance to the caverns. We imagined that Stephen, if what they said about nymphs was true, would be able to distract them enough to where Emily and I could slip into the caves. Our plan to get him out was not very well developed, but that was something we would be able to further plan after we were aware of what the layout of the caves were like.
We knew that we would have to be extremely careful, but it was worth a shot. We had not come all this way just to let a bunch of nymphs stand in our way of getting Caspian and what was left of his men back.
One thing that was working to our advantage was that it was now completely dark. Our appearance would have been much more masked in the shadows rather than in the middle of the day.
"I don't like this," Stephen grumbled as we hid behind several rocks in clear view of the entrance before he was to go on his way.
"You don't have much of a choice," I told him seriously.
"What could be so bad about it for you? A bunch of women whose eyes are only set on you," Emily teased, trying to lighten the mood.
I chuckled at her comment, but Stephen merely glared. He started walking forward and called back," These aren't normal women!"
"Good luck!" I called after him, keeping my voice low.
"It was nice knowing you!" Emily said, she thought in a quiet enough voice that he could not hear, but the look on his face as he glared back at us suggested quite the opposite.
All jokes aside, Emily and I were soon watching intently as we crept through the shadows toward the entrance to where the nymphs were gathered. As we followed far behind Stephen, we noticed that just outside the entrance to the cave appeared to be a type of lake. I assumed that this was the Spring of Revival that Stephen and the tavern owner had mentioned before.
My heart felt as though it was going to pound out of my chest as Stephen first came into their sight. At first, they seemed to overlook him, but a second later; they were hooked. I watched in glee as all three of them turned to their human form. I shook my head in disgust at the sight of the three, slim, seemingly glowing women as they placed their hands on Stephen, guiding him farther into the caves. Thus far, our plan had worked.
Emily and I nodded to one another and quickly moved into the cave. There were several torches lit along the walls to guide the paths, but there was still something that seemed creepy about the place.
"Do we split or stay together?" Emily whispered in my ear as we stepped foot into the cave for the first time.
A chill was sent down my back just by being in their dwelling. We needed to find Caspian, Apollo, and their men and get out as soon as possible.
"Let's stay together," I decided before moving quickly down the nearest tunnel that I saw.
We ran together, unseen, for seemingly a long time before we came upon a fork in the path. Breaking through the silence, screams of men could be heard coming from the right. The two of us didn't need to be able to see each other in order to decide which way to go. We sprinted to the right and kept on running until the screams were so close we could feel them.
Emily ran ahead and looked carefully into this very large, open area that the tunnel broke off into.
Granted, the number of men that were in that room were great, but they were no where near as many as Caspian had left with. With that in mind, we were posed with another problem…how all those men were to be broken out. I tried thinking about how in the world we would be able to distract the nymphs that much, but nothing was coming to my head at the moment…we had to move on. The more we saw of this place, the less prepared I felt for how a turn of events would play out.
After moving on for quite some time and several close calls for the nymphs would still be on the lookout, we finally reached the end of the tunnel to find that we had reached a dead end. Frustrated, Emily and I crept our way back and tried again. Hours passed as we hid in the darkness, trying to locate just where Caspian could be and it wasn't until our last go through that we found him. The tunnel that we had found branched off of one of the others that we crossed several times. It was probably the smallest, most difficult tunnel to get through. For the entirety of the time we traveled through the tunnel, we had to slide through sideways. Obviously, no one had traveled through that tunnel in quite some time.
Whenever we came to the end of the tunnel, I saw a sight that enraged me to the point where any conscious thought was erased.
One of the nymphs, Rhiannon, I assumed was circling Caspian, who was bounded to a chair in the middle of the room. I noticed that there was only one other exit to the room, but other than that it was rather cold and dark with the exception of a few torches burning. He was only clad in a white shirt and brown trousers, but it appeared as though the shirt had been through quite the adventure. It had many rips and tears in it as he sat, nervously.
"It seems as though the disturbances were just a faux pas," Rhiannon purred, running her fingers along Caspian's arms, with a sort of rhythm to it. I watched, disgusted as Caspian sat, very stiff and very uncomfortably. "Now, we can pick up where we left off."
She slowly moved herself down to where she was perched happily upon his lap once more, wrapping her arms around his neck as she faced him directly," I can assure you that we won't be interrupted anymore."
A smile moved onto her face, but the anger that was growing in me was much too strong to handle. I started to fly out of the space, but before I could; Emily grabbed me," You can't."
I knew that, but I watched bitterly as this pale, blond, skinny woman ran her hands all along his tanned skin. It was such a relieve to see him alive, but my happiness in seeing him was covered by my disgust in the nymph sitting atop of him, using him for her own sick pleasure. Emily's firm grasp on me never lightened, not once, but at the moment that Rhiannon forced her lips onto my husband's; I broke her grasp and grabbed the knife that she had dangling from her belt.
"Rosalie!" She scolded hoarsely, but I was gone.
She hardly had time to react for I was soon throwing myself from the tiny tunnel and standing right behind her. Watching, as she made her move.
Caspian made eye contact with me and immediately a look of shock and relief came onto his face. I put a single finger up to my lips, signaling him to stay quiet. It was wonderful to see him, but I couldn't be too happy, not yet. Silently, as she forced her lips to his once more, I stood directly behind her. She was much too distracted to notice that Caspian had his eyes wide open and locked on me needless to say that she never expected there to be a knife held to her neck in a matter of seconds.
"Get off of my husband," I growled, not caring if she knew who I was. Not caring to use her name.
With one jerk, I frightened her bad enough to pull her off of him. In one hand I held the slender woman around the neck and with the other I threatened to slice through with the knife I had taken form Emily.
A sick cackle came from her lips," You're the little queenie. How sweet," she said, but the last word was anything but "sweet". She spat it rather than said it.
"Emily, come, help Caspian!" I ordered to the servant, who was already popping her tiny frame out from the tight crevice.
Before Emily could even think about helping Caspian, Rhiannon burst out of my grasp and bared her teeth at the servant girl like some sort of barbaric creature would. Emily jumped back briefly as I struggled to get the nymph back into my grasp.
"You will not touch him!" She screamed at Emily, forcing her to take several steps backward. I watched as she started to pounce.
"This isn't her mission, Rhiannon," I stopped her, keeping a steady voice. " I'm the one taking him from you. He's my husband, not hers."
Slowly, the lanky woman turned on her heel and glared at me. The face that could have been so beautiful looked more hideous than anything I had ever seen as she looked at me with glaring eyes. She started toward me, but I moved away and we started to pace around, looking each other directly in the eyes," You're right."
"My lady! My lady! Rhiannon!" The voices of several other nymphs echoed through the tunnels and I swallowed hard; we weren't alone for long. "The intruders! They're-"
"I KNOW THEY'RE HERE!" Rhiannon screamed as several other outwardly beautiful nymphs came sprinting into the room, in their human form. In their clutches, was Stephen. It appeared as though they had seen through him. He was struggling to get out of their grasp.
"He lied to us," One of the dark haired nymphs growled to her leader, referencing Stephen, "Let us finish him, Rhiannon."
Their blond headed leader seemed to be grinding her teeth, deciding exactly what she wanted done. She turned her attention from me to them and said in one of the most menacing voices I had heard," After I finish her."
Her icy blue eyes turned and were set directly in mine.
I should have known that prancing into the nymphs civilization wasn't going to be as easy as I thought.
In an instant I watched as she started running at me, teeth bared. For a moment, I wondered just how she intended on attacking me, but it would have been foolish for me to ponder that for long. I wanted her no where near me, so I did the one thing that came to my mind.
I raised the knife back behind my head, gaining momentum as she ran faster toward me, wishing nothing more than to tear my head off. Within moments, I threw the knife as hard as I could, praying the entire time that it at least nicked her. It was more an act of desperation.
To my surprise, it did much more. The knife jabbed right in the middle of her chest. It took her several moments to realize what had happened and whenever she felt the impact for the first time; a scream louder than any I had heard before echoed throughout the tunnels. Her face in absolute agony as she fell to her knees, blood spilling from her chest as she slowly melted away. In a matter of seconds, she was dead and I was still in awe of the matter.
Emily jumped from her position and started feverishly untying the knots on Caspian's chair, but my eyes were still stuck onto the nymphs who were just s shocked as I. Their attention was no longer on Stephen, who was able to stealthily slip away.
"Rosalie!" Stephen cried from where they were holding him. " Bad idea, they-"
"You killed her," A red-headed nymph stepped forward, snarling at me. Several more followed behind her, looks of absolute despite on their faces. Bitterness set in rather quickly. "Our queen is dead because of you." They spat at me.
I looked around nervously, looking for anything that could have been of more assistance, but after finding nothing I looked to the red-headed nymph," I don't want any harm with all of you-"
"If anyone so much as lays a finger on our queen, we are to kill. I would say that you have crossed that boundary," she said threateningly to me, stepping closer by the minute.
I swallowed hard again, trying to think of what exactly we were going to do, but there wasn't much time for thinking. Emily released Caspian from his binds and both of them ran beside me, just as they got there, the nymphs all released a screech that was nearly as loud as their leader's death had been. I hadn't a weapon or any plan as to what I was to do, needless to say, when they charged; we ran the opposite direction.
"Good to see you again!" I cried to Caspian before running to the crevice, this definitely wasn't the reunion I had originally planned.
Stephen had somehow been able to sneak his way passed them and was now jumping through the crevice to where Emily was leading us through. There wasn't any way that they could all fit through, but there was one detail that we had forgotten.
Their spirit form.
Though they could do no physical damage in their spirit form, they could still very well cut us off at the other end of the tiny tunnel, which was exactly what they had done.
"Rosalie!" Caspian tried getting my attention, but I was much too set on finding another way out. Looking all around, finally he grabbed my head with both hands and forced me to look at him through the darkness," I love you more than you know. Thank you."
"Caspian-" I started to hesitate, but it was a matter of seconds before he had pressed his lips hard against my own. I had to smile through the passionate kiss and almost forgot that we were being closed in on by nymphs on either side. Their screeches so incredibly loud.
"Hey!" Emily yelled, looking back at us.
"Not to interrupt or anything, I know you're glad to see each other and all, but why not making yourself useful and, oh, I don't know, FINDING OUT HOW WE'RE GOING TO GET OUT OF HERE ALIVE!" Stephen hollered from up ahead, obviously getting rather nervous as they came in closer, making the small crevice-tunnel, even smaller.
Immediately, my cheeks felt as if they were on fire as I broke away from Caspian. Both of us chuckling slightly, before looking ahead and watching as the army of nymphs charged in closer. I turned my head to see that not only had they blocked off the front, but they blocked off the back as well. We were completely trapped.
"Hey Stephen, got any more knives?" I asked, finding that to be our only option. "Here's your opportunity to practice some more knife throwing."
As I was saying this, Caspian whispered to me," And who is that kid?"
"I'll explain later," I told him quickly, waiting for Stephen's answer.
"Heh, I don't think I have that many knives," He replied, with a small, humorless chuckle.
Just as he was grabbing his pack to check his supplies, they started moving in even more heavily. They seemed to be multiplying by the minute, forcing all of us into a close huddle in the middle of the narrow tunnel, there was hardly any time. Their teeth seemed to be inches from us.
"Rosalie, what are we-" Emily tried, her voice very high-pitched and very nervous sounding.
"I don't know," I cried, feeling Caspian beside me and grabbing his arm tightly, so glad to finally be with him once again, but scared that this was the end. There was no way that we could escape this.
Right as the first nymph jumped to make her mark on us, the ground shook tremendously. A continuous rumble echoed through the tunnels as we tried to hold on to something, anything. I held tight to Caspian and watched as Stephen grabbed Emily away from their reach and tucked both of his arms protectively around her.
I had thought that this earth shake was perhaps one of the ways that the nymphs had planned to destroy us, but the looks of their faces showed that they were just as frightened as we were. They started to retreat as rocks started falling from over head. We were quick to follow them as they seemingly forgot about attacking us and tearing us to bits; it was a matter of survival for all of us.
As soon as we exited the tunnel, the shaking of the ground ceased and the memory that they were about to kill us re-entered all of their heads as they looked around, seemingly baffled by what had just happened. Still, it seemed as though we were trapped. Evil smiles returned to their faces as they came ever-closer to us once more. Caspian directed me in the opposite direction, a small opportunity for us to escape; Stephen and Emily quickly followed behind, but before we could get very far; our path was blocked.
Caspian and I looked at each other. The rumble may have been a shock, but this was completely unexpected.
A lion stood in the path, sitting proudly on its haunches. The ever familiar smile planted on his face as he looked at the four of us, who, I assumed looked completely astounded.
The lion roared and the nymphs seemingly disappeared.
Aslan had never left us.
Author's Note: This chapter was a lot longer than I thought it would be, but that's alright I suppose. I can't believe that this is one of the last chapters…crazy, but anyways CASPIAN IS BACK! Woo-hoo and Jacob is in for a big shock soon. :)
Thanks for your support guys! I love hearing all of your feedback so please let me know what you thought of this chapter.
You all are the best!