Not Even One
Disclaimer: Okay, so I don't own much other than Rosalie and a couple others, but for the most part Narnia and all its inhabitants belong to C.S. Lewis.
Chapter Thirty-Five: Not Even One
Emily, alongside the troop of mice, made her way down the hillside. There was still quite a bit of ground that needed to be covered and even when they reached the city gates; they needed to stay hidden. They stayed along the outskirts of town, careful to stay only in the darkest of shadows.
The atmosphere of Telmar had completely changed. Even though it was late at night, there were still plenty of Jacob's men charging around the streets. There were very few people that were actually out and about, but the few that were could hardly avoid being harassed. A woman stepped out of her home briefly, just to look down the street and before she could shut her door Jacob's men were storming her house.
Emily could hardly believe her eyes.
"That's awful," she muttered under her breath.
"They're mentally unstable!" The mice cried as quietly as he could. "They don't know what they're doing, but Jacob can't risk even one person stepping out a line."
The woman shrieked as they pulled the rest of her family into the street and repeatedly whipped them with the leather strap they held at their belt. Tears came to Emily's eyes...those people hadn't done anything wrong. If this was what Telmar had come to, then she wanted no part of this monarchy. The sight of the woman and her family being beat pushed her to want to get Rosalie and Caspian back where they belonged as soon as possible.
They stood there for several more moments in complete shock before Reepicheep objected," Let's go. It's useless to stand around and watch this nonsense."
They crept along the backs of houses and in side alleys all throughout Telmar until they reached the castle walls. Emily gazed upon the top of the walls and noticed a patrol walking along the top. Swiftly, she motioned the mice toward the side of the wall, careful not to step out of line. They shimmied along the side of the wall until, in the distance, they could see the horse stable jutting out from a break in the wall.
"Reep, do you know about where the giants may be housed?" Emily whispered quietly as they inched closer to the stables.
"They'll be way off in the distance. Jacob probably won't call them in from the woods unless he's in absolute need of them. They're not the most intelligent creatures so they know better than to wander too far."
Emily nodded her head. This gave her somewhat more of a peace of mind, but not much.
They were coming close to the stables. It appeared as though there were still roughly three men standing at the entrance to the stables.
"Leave them to us!" Reepicheep squeaked as they inched closer.
Emily was going to stop him, but before she could make any sort of a scene; they were gone. She watched their little tails run off. They wouldn't have much a challenge for it seemed as though the men were dozing into sleep. Before the men could even open their eyes to see what had happened, the mice had sliced them up. One of them seemed to realize what was gong on, but he couldn't even place a hand on his weapon.
"C'mon!" Reepicheep quietly called to Emily after the last one was finished.
She looked up to make sure no one was overhead and quickly sprinted to the stables in the shadows. With a deep breath of air, she followed the mice, making sure to crotch down to prevent being seen through the open stable.
All around, Emily noticed horses, but not the proud majestic creatures that could usually be found in that stable. In stead, she saw many pathetic-looking horses that seemed to have little desire to do anything other than lean against their stall and whine. It broke Emily's heart when she saw all of these horses with large gashes over their back and midsection; what kind of sick individual would do this to an animal? Then she remembered who she was dealin with here and who would have called the attack of these horses.
Just as they reached the entrance to the castle, Emily noticed that Kingslee, Rosalie's horse, was standing at the end stall. Her head was pressed against the stall and eyes closed shut. Emily knew that if Rosalie had seen this, then she would have been very broken-hearted, but most of all, angry.
Kingslee slowly raised her head and noticed the crew passing by her stall. Emily looked at the horse one last time and she may have been seeing things, but it was almost as if a small smile came to the horse's face. She was baffled by this, but had little time to react for Reepicheep was barking orders at her.
"Hide! They're coming!"
Emily looked all over, but heard a quiet grunt-like sound come from Kingslee. Puzzled, she looked at the horse and noticed her motioning with her head for Emily to get into the stall. Emily hesitated, but hadn't much of choice before the doors from the castle where thrown open. She climbed into the stall with Kingslee, hiding behind the wall in the stable.
"Oi! What'd you hear down here?" One of the men coming through the door cried as he ran after his fellow men.
"The wall patrol said that they're three men dead down here. We need to find out why!" The other man said as two other men followed in their footsteps.
"Prob'bly got trampled by these rabid horses…I say we finish them once and for all…" The other said with a stupid laugh.
"They may not be the most intelligent men, but they're smart enough to avoid being tramped by a horse," The main man said, as they examined the bodies. "Plus, you know why we could never get rid of the horses. For some reason, the King's got a real fond attachment to them."
Emily believed this to be true because he and his father used to ride horses all the time. That was probably the only reason he kept Kingslee, since it originally was his father's horse. Otherwise, he would have slaughtered her just for the mere memory of his sister. It was ironic; however, that the horses were in such bad condition. She wondered if perhaps someone else, such as General, had treated them so horrendously.
"These are sword wounds, someone's got to be in the stables or at least nearby. They can't be too far," The man announced after several more moments causing Emily's heart to pound crazily. "You two, search the perimeter and we'll take the stables."
"'ight!" The two grangly men cried and left the stables while the other two came waltzing back into the stables.
"We know you're in here and let's make this process a whole lot easier," The man said with a certain growl to his voice as he kicked open one of the stables.
Suddenly, just as he did that, Kingslee started whinnying out of control and going completely mad. Emily wanted to kill the horse at that very moment, but just before the man could let out a frightened swear, he released a blood curling scream. The other man looking through the stables with him had opened a stable and released an equally blistering scream.
Slowly, Emily peered over the edge of the stable and noticed the horses, once dead (appearance speaking), were now trampling over both of the men, violently. She looked up at Kingslee. It was as though they were merely waiting for her word to attack. This was what they had been waiting for. Swiftly, the horse put its head over the edge and released her own gate. This whole time, she was waiting for the right moment when all along she could have released herself.
Emily stood in amazement and watched the horse trod herself out of the stall and give a valliant nod to Emily. Those were two less men they would have to worry about.
"Go to Rosalie. I assume you've known where she is this entire time, haven't you?" Emily said with a smile on her face to the horse, who had started a trend and now each and every horse was releasing their own gate, whinnying as though their life depended upon it. Not even one was left out.
Not wanting to leave without giving an answer, Kingslee turned back to Emily and gave a violent shake of the head. Emily smiled and the entire stable was then filled with horses, wild and ready to leave. Within moments, Kingslee had moved herself to the front of the stable and was sprinting as quickly as possible, creating a stampede of horses.
"Emily! Now, would be a splendid time to enter the castle. They're going to be quite distracted with trying to find their horses," Reepicheep cried from the door entering the castle.
Emily nodded to them and looked back one more time to watch the horses leaving the stable with a smile on her face.
Emily had to stifle a laugh as she hid in one of the cupboards after entering the castle, as many men ran by, swearing and chasing after the lot of horses. After she was sure they were gone for the time being, she signaled the mice army, who were in the cupboard across the corridor, and they all moved out quietly.
The feel of being in the castle again was wonderful, but Emily couldn't help but notice that the air wasn't near as chipper as when Caspian and Rosalie were ruling the nation. Trying to force that to the back of her mind, she led them to the end of the ground-level corridor to the back stairwell, where she doubted that many people would have known of, other than the servants.
She led the way through the dark stairwell, feeling along the wall to keep balance. The mice scurried along behind at her heels, trying to be as silent as possible. They climbed level after level until Emily figured that they had reached the top level of the castle, where the throne room and other important quarters would be.
As she poked her head out the side of the door to look down the corridor, she noticed guards patrolling the corridor. At that current moment, they were at the opposite end, but she assumed they would be coming down to where they were soon enough.
"My lady," Reepicheep whispered," Allow us to-"
The door to the throne room was slightly ajar. Emily could hear voices coming from the room and realized that something of importance could be going on in there. Should Reepicheep and his army as they scurry across the corridor and make any sort of noise, then the entire room would be aware of their presence and that was a risk she could not take.
"Reepicheep, wait for them to come to us."
The mouse started to run off, but stopped when he heard her voice. He knew not to argue, as badly as he wanted to. They hid in the shadows of the stairs and waited for the men to make their round.
"I DON'T CARE ABOUT THAT, PENELOPE!" Jacob, presumably, screamed from the throne room.
Emily, a puzzled look on her face, ignored his yell, briefly, as she continued to watch the men, who were growing closer by the minute. Reepicheep and his mice positioned themselves in the perfect position to spring. They came as far as the stairwell and just as they noticed the troop; Reepicheep sent his mice to attack. The men hardly even knew what hit them. She was beginning to become more and more graceful for these mice by the minute. Emily noticed a cupboard just beside the stairs; she pulled one of the men by his shoe into the cupboard and closed it. The mice helped to push the other man in, but Emily, once again, did most of the work.
She knew that it was useless to search much farther for Penelope since they now knew where she was and that they would hardly be able to do much of anything until this meeting was over. Placing a finger over her lips to signal silence, she inched closer to the doors to get a better idea of just what was going on in the throne room.
"Why is General not here, Penelope?" Jacob demanded, Emily looked around the cracked door and saw just a glimpse of the throne room.
It was as though all of the beauty that once had been in the throne room had been drained. Jacob was wearing a rather large cape with fur trimming that seemed rather unnecessary. Cuts were all up and down the men who were standing around the room, presumably his council, but not a scar lay upon Jacob's face. Emily also noticed that there was a woman sitting with her legs dangled over the edge of the throne. She had deeply tanned skin and was quite beautiful, but Emily had never seen her before. She noticed Penelope standing near the window as her brother lectured her; she could not see the front of Penelope's face, but merely her long, dark hair that cascaded down half of her back as her brother spoke to her. The servant girl didn't dare try to look around anymore and quickly moved her head away from the crack to simply listen and avoid being seen.
"Jacob, I don't know. He gave me a timeline of when he was going to be getting more men, but I haven't a clue," A strong young woman's voice said, Emily assumed this to be Penelope.
"If I might interject something," A more mature, heavily accented woman's voice said, the woman at the throne," There's rumor going around that someone has started a rebellion in the direction that General has been sent. Word has it that your sister has-"
"Don't speak of my sister," Jacob growled at her.
"I'm only saying what I've heard, Jacob," She defended, sounding as though she was quite frustrated.
"Listen to me, Jacob," The same female voice said, " Your sister could have given General some problems. If I remember you saying this, then I believe you banished Caspian to that area in which you sent General. Is it possible that Rosalie could be trying to throw a wrench in General's plan with the help of her…husband?"
"That's ridiculous!" Jacob scoffed. " I banished that disgrace of a man. Plus, where I sent him is a place that is nearly impossible for any man to come out of with a clear head. I doubt that if my sister found her pathetic little husband, she would want him back. The nymphs have quite a way of words when it comes to…men. Any of them would be a complete fool to try and make an attack on this castle. They haven't any help coming from these walls as they may think they do."
He's wrong, Emily thought to herself with a smile on her face.
A few male chuckles echoed in the air, Emily assumed this must be the council members.
"Though it is…unlikely, your majesty, what are you to do if this has happened?" One of the male members asked.
There was a silence in the air.
"What is all of this talk of rebellion? I want to hear nothing more of it; we are simply getting off the main question that I've been trying to get answered. That question being where is General? Let it be assumed that Rosalie and her husband are dead. No one else is to be caught even mentioning their names," Jacob nearly exploded on his followers, which left for an awkward silence. "They will NEVER be coming back here. And I've a plan secured if they try for I think I've a decent idea of how they might be trying to infiltrate the system, but Penelope, Natalia, and I all know that they will not win."
Natalia. That must have been the woman sitting on the throne. Emily's curiosities over this plan that Jacob had developed was growing even more steady by the moment. There was only one thing Emily could do at that point and it was talk to Penelope. If Penelope had changed, then it was what it was. Emily couldn't back down then, not after all she had gone through just to get there.
"Now, Penelope, my dear sister, you've the rest of the evening to figure out just what happened to General. Then, I will send you out on that stupid horse of yours to go and find our head of militia," Jacob ordered.
Emily couldn't help but chuckle at the mention of a horse.
Emily took this as their invitation to retreat to the stairwell. She waved the mice back and they moved as quickly as they could. Just as they hid in the stairs, the doors to the throne room flew open. Out came Penelope and plenty of the other men. Some of them came toward the stairwell, while others, such as Penelope retreated to their quarters.
Silently, Emily and the mice moved farther up the stairs to prevent being seen. Just in case, she grabbed the knife that hung at her belt. Holding her breath, they stood at the stairs and watched around the corner as the men came around and traveled down the stairs. Feeling as though it was now completely empty she moved slowly down the stairs. She watched as Jacob, alongside the deeply tanned woman, Natalia, strolled down the opposite end of the corridor. Silently, she placed the knife back at her waist.
Just as Jacob opened the door to what used to be Caspian and Rosalie's bedchambers, Emily heard him say to the woman beside him," You look exhausted, are you sure you're doing alright?"
She nodded meekly to him as she moved into the bedchamber, Jacob did one more look up and down the corridor, but just as the woman was moving into the chamber; she noticed something. Though it may have been a stretch, Emily could have sworn that she saw a ring on her finger as she placed a hand on the wall, as if steadying herself before entering.
"Reepicheep, do you know who that woman-" Emily whispered hastily to the mouse as they followed Penelope's footsteps down the corridor.
Before she could get an answer, the mouse was already down the hallway, nearly ready to knock on the door that Penelope had entered. Emily sprinted to catch up with them. She took a deep breath in; this was it. Careful not to knock too loud, she rapped on the door and waited in agony.
Several moments passed before the door flew open. Emily's heart was beating wildly once more.
"Whatever you-" Penelope started rambling as if she were yelling at her brother, but at the sight of Emily, she nearly started crying. Knowing she had to be silent, she pulled her in and tightly embraced her. The mice assured Emily they would keep watch outside. Emily was now feeling some mort comfort at the way that Penelope had greeted her. Jacob really was the one who was being fooled, or so it seemed for the time being.
"Emily, why are you here? You're risking so much by being here, but…Aslan knows I've been waiting for someone...anything to come from one of you. I was nearly ready to come and find you all myself, but really why are you here? What do you need? How can I help?" Penelope spewed off, walking Emily back to her sitting area, still talking in a low voice.
"They needed someone to come and speak with you, Penelope. We need to come up with a plan. Caspian's re-formed his army and needs a way to get the advantage on Jacob. He thought that either you or Trina could assist us in getting the castle at its weakest. Or that you could at least assist us when we do come to Telmar," Emily poured out her heart to Penelope as if they had not been apart for long at all.
"I guess we really don't have time for the details, but all I want to know is how many men you've recruited in this army?" Penelope asked, whispering still.
Emily pondered it for a moment," Not the size of a normal army. We've maybe a little over a hundred men. This is why we're in need of your assistance."
Penelope nodded her head, understanding as she began to pace. For several moments, Emily thought that Penelope was not going to say a word, but suddenly it was as though a miraculous thought had hit her. All of this was happening so fast that it was rather surreal to Emily.
"I've just been told to go out searching for General. All I would need do is convince him to allow me to take a troop of his savage men with me, which won't take much," Penelope whisper-exclaimed to Emily, who was nodding. "Sometimes, I forget how much he actually trusts me."
"Could you lead them directly into Caspian's army?" Emily asked. "Assuming that, of course, I tell you where their camp is and that Jacob actually gives you a troop of men. Jacob wouldn't have a clue what was going on and by the time that he finds out then you would have been long departed."
A smile came to Penelope's face. A smile that Emily had seen on Rosalie's face plenty of times," You and I seem to think alike, Emily."
Emily returned the smile, but before she could say anything Penelope began speaking again.
"We'll have to inform Trina as well," she said quickly.
Emily nodded," And where exactly is Trina?"
Penelope swallowed hard before saying," Where every other traitor is…locked away in the dungeons. She's lucky because she's of some importance to Jacob since she's Apollo's wife and all; the others are slowly being sent to the gallows."
Emily's heart seemed to be on pause," That's terrible."
"That's Jacob. He's got little forgiveness in his heart. Mostly just bitterness and he's trying to fill that gap with something. Therefore, he's locking away anyone who's ever had anything to do with the one who caused all his pain, that being our sister," Penelope explained somberly. "Anyways, I can explain most of the other details after we move on. The faster I can come up with a story to tell Jacob, probably the better it is for both you and me."
Penelope walked down the small corridor in her quarters and returned several moments later with a pair a thick boots on. After throwing open a cupboard, she pulled out a small sword that she seemed to keep tucked away and placed it at her belt.
"Do you remember where the dungeons are located?" Penelope asked, pulling her cloak from the hook near the door.
"Yes," Emily replied, watching as Penelope scurried about hecticly.
"While I'm informing Jacob of this, you are to go and free Trina. Here are the keys," Penelope pulled the key off from around her neck and tossed them to Emily. "Best of luck to you."
Before Penelope pulled open the door, Emily warned her," The mice. Reepicheep-"
"Reepicheep?" Penelope asked, confused, as if she had never heard of a mouse by this name.
Emily furrowed her brow at Penelope. She knew that Penelope had met Reepicheep on several different occasions…why was she seemingly forgetting him now? Emily didn't think too much on the matter, perhaps she would recognize him after seeing him. Emily was sure that a lot had happened to Emily emotionally and that it wasn't anything she should have been concerned about. She followed Penelope out the door, but she noticed that the mice were gone.
"Reepicheep-the mice- they were right here!" Emily said quietly, but Penelope was still clueless as to what had happened.
"How about you explain this to me later?" Penelope offered, turning toward her brother's quarters.
Emily wanted to say something. She wanted to say how peculiar it was that just before the mice went missing that Penelope seemed to have forgotten entirely about them when Emily knew that she knew the mice. Another thing she wanted to know was who the woman was that Jacob seemed to be linked to. She stared at Penelope peculiarly for a few moments. Despite her curiosities, Emily turned the opposite way and left for the dungeons.
The castle seemed to be empty as she traveled down level by level, not seeing a single guard on duty. She found this to be rather odd, but pressed on to the dungeons despite this fact. After crossing the courtyard with no interruptions, Emily knew that something had to be going on. All she wanted to do now was find Trina, get her out and then go to Penelope before she was caught.
After some remembering, she found the stairway that led down to the tunnels which would eventually bring her to the prison. She picked up the pace as she ran through the underground tunnels, careful not to stumble over anything in the dark. At every turn, she tried remembering just which way would lead her to the prison cells. She knew that she had picked the right tunnels after she finally stopped and right in front of her lay eight cells, brimming with prisoners.
Before Emily could become too excited, she noticed a guard with his back turned to her, at that moment. Her heart skipped a beat as she placed a hand on her knife. She looked down at the knife and then to the back of the man's head. This was a knife that Stephen had given her. While everyone else had been away planning for battle, he had given her one as they remembered the inn.
She couldn't let him down.
Slowly, she picked the knife up behind her head and heaved the sharp object at the man. Her heart stopped beating once more for the several seconds that the knife was in the air. For a moment, she questioned if it would even hit him or not, but just as the man turned around; it caught him right in the chest.
His eyes were wide as he fell backwards, dead.
"Emily!" Trina exclaimed, but it was not a happy sort of exclamation. In fact, Emily would have thought Trina was quite the opposite.
Ignoring the fact that her knife was in the man's chest, she scurried over to the cell in which the light-headed woman sat and shoved the key in.
"Emily why are you here?" Trina demanded, still with a rather angered tone. "How did you get those keys?"
"Penelope. I was sent from Caspian to rende-"
"Emily, please tell me you didn't go to Penelope. Please," the woman practically begged Emily with tears forming in her eyes.
Regret started to fill Emily's heart as she unlocked several other cells, trying to take her mind off of what she had just done.
"Penelope's been brainwashed-" Trina started as she joined Emily outside of the cell.
"What?" Emily exclaimed, opening another cell for the servants who were slumbered in the corners, amazed that help was finally coming to them. Emily hadn't a clue how long they had been sitting down there.
"Jacob didn't trust her after Rosalie escaped, Emily. He knew that she was working with both sides, but he didn't know that she was actually on our side. He was under the impression that she really was on his side. He didn't have any proof that she was directly linked with it, but he didn't want to take the risk that she was still communicating with us…so he brainwashed her," Trina explained, very quickly as Emily unlocked the last two cells. " He sent his own sister down to suffer with those hideous creatures."
"Then why did she recognize me?" Emily asked, still unable to believe that this was really happening.
"Jacob's got her trained to recognize all of you as friends at first, but to report to him as soon as she's met you. He knew that one of you was going to try at some point to communicate with her again so he protected himself by making her put on the façade that she really was on your side. It's very complex brainwashing, but he's done it. He can't risk even one person betraying him."
Emily shook her head, still in shock that this was happening. She knew that there was a way to get out of the cells by maneuvering through the tunnels, but Penelope was really the only person she had ever heard of successfully making her way through them. As she was thinking about escape, she was also thinking about how odd Penelope was acting...it all made sense and she couldn't have felt more idiotic.
There were many things that she wanted to ask Trina, such as who Natalia is, why Trina was really locked up, and just where Trina's children were this entire time, but she settled for one question that seemed to cover the problem for the time being.
"Then what do we do now?" Emily asked with a frantic tone to her voice as they crowded up the stairs to start their trek.
"Stay right where you are," A familiar male voice said from the shadows.
Jacob stepped forward with a large smirk on his face as he laughed.
Author's Note: Don't be too upset yet! Just keep reading! I've got lots of explaining to do, I know...
We're at 178 now…22 more to go. Ya'll can do it :D