A Mouse's Tale

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Chapter 20

No one moved. Mouse could hear her own heart pounding against her chest as fear and panic flooded through her. Arya was in serious danger and Mouse felt completely helpless. If only there was some way that she could sneak around behind them...

Mouse's eyes flickered over to Vyron, who looked at her as well and nodded slightly, an instinctual click between them that they had to get Arya away from Lord Gregory and fast.

As Mouse was at the back of the group, her presence was pretty much hidden by the bodies of her companions. For the first time in her life, Mouse was so thankful and happy that she was short. She slowly inched backwards till her back was pressed against the wall.

"You don't have to do this," Vyron's voice filled the room, drawing everyone's attention to him as he stepped forward.

Mouse's hands were shaking as he fingers slid along the paneling of the wall, trying desperately to find a hidden catch. She didn't know if there was a secret passage near by, but she prayed that there would be.

"Stay back or I'll do it!" Lord Gregory threatened, his voice not as sure as his words were. This surprised Mouse, making her turn her attention on him. He was an older man, his grey, greasy hair was balding and his large, flabby belly was bulging under his fine tunic. Above a chubby nose sat a pair of dark grey eyes that were wild as they danced around the room, showing just how scared and nervous he actually was. Sweat rolled down his face and dripped onto his tunic, leaving wet droplet marks all over the front of it.

"Please, Lord Gregory," Vyron took another step closer, his hands held up in the air to show that he was weaponless, that he was not going to harm him, that he was no threat. "Please, you don't have to do this."

"STAY BACK!" he screamed, forcing Arya to stand and he pulled her out if her chair and backed up, dagger pressing closer to her throat. Arya's eyes were wide with fear.

Click

Mouse felt something give beneath her fingers and she breathed a quick sigh of relief, sending up a quick prayer of thanks and then one for Arya's protection. She quickly slipped unnoticed into the wall, the door shutting smoothly behind her.

She felt her way through the passageway, using only her ears to guide her as she listened to the voices of the men on the other side of the wall.

"Gregory, why are you doing this?" Torden's voice added to the mix. "We've known each other for years! We were both raised here, along-side Terian as he grew from a young boy to a King! We were friends! He was your friend! And now you're threatening his only daughter's life? This isn't like you! This isn't the boy I knew when we were kids!"

"That's because I grew up!" Lord Gregory snapped. "You're right, I'm not that boy anymore! I changed! I became a man! A real man! One that knows when sacrifices need to be made!" Arya cried out in pain and Mouse felt her heart stop. She rushed forward, looking for anything, anywhere that would give her a view of the room. She saw a small crack of light ahead and quickly went to it, pressing her eye to it. All she could see was the soft velvet of curtain. She silently cursed at her misfortune, then smacked herself on the forehead as she realized the opportunity she had been given. This was the perfect cover for her to be able to slip back into the room. She quickly felt along the wall around the crack till she felt another catch give beneath her fingers, opening the hidden door. She smoothly slipped out behind the curtain and made her way to the end of it and slowly peaked around the edge.

She was scared of what she was going to find. Would she see Arya's body lying lifeless on the floor in a pool of her own blood? Mouse tool a deep breath before opening her eyes as she peaked around the curtain.

Lord Gregory's back was to her and Arya's body was thankfully not on the ground, but rather still in his arms. The body moved, lightly trying to struggle against her captor and Mouse breathed a sigh of relief. But then she saw it. The small splatter of blood on the floor by their feet. He had hurt her. She had failed as a protector. She had failed at protecting Arya from harm.

"I'm sorry, King Terian," she whispered, closing her eyes as she tried not to cry. "I failed you."

"Protect her!" the words came flooding through her ears again. Mouse's eyes flew open, determination filling them. She had not failed completely. Arya was still alive. There was still time to save her, to protect her.

She slowly eased herself out from behind the curtain. Thankful for her stealthiness as she crept towards the unsuspecting man.

"Lord Gregory, please!" Vyron urged, his eyes only slightly flickering to where Mouse was before they fell back on the traitor. "You've shown us that you mean business. Please, let her go. She is a good, kind Ruler. You know that. She has all of the best qualities of both her mother and her father. I know that you would rather have Prince Marcus on the Throne, but do you really think that by you killing her, being a known supporter of him, that the people would allow him to take the Throne? They would feel as if you had won, your wish being granted if Prince Marcus was crowned King. No, killing Her Majesty will not get you what you want. It will only make things worse, for you and for him!"

"Lies!" Lord Gregory screeched, madness flickering on the edge of his voice. "The people will gladly accept their rightful King and everything will be as it should be! And of course the new King will see that I was acting in his honor and pardon me of getting rid of the one thing that was standing between him and the Throne." His voice took on an sudden calmness that worried Mouse. "Only one thing standing in his way..." He gently stroked Arya's hair. "And I can't let it stay standing any longer!"

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