Lost Kingdoms

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Chapter IX

Night fell and the stars that dusted the sky were dim tonight and the only source of light for the three travellers were the small trashcan fire they were all huddled around in an attempt to rid their bodies of the bitter cold

Teeth chattered against each other as the three edged ever so close to the edge of the fire, they were already half exhausted the only thing keeping their eyes peeled open was their ambition to stay alive

“You two get some sleep” Natelia commanded softly “I’ll take first watch”

“No,” Hailey shook her head her eyes were slowly closing but she still disagreed “I will”

“Your already falling asleep now stop being so stubborn” Natelia pointed out

Hailey scoffed “And you’re not, Mom you haven’t slept in a week”

Suddenly their argument was cut off by Sam who made a strange noise erupt from the back of his throat, mother and daughter turned to him both giving him the family look of ‘Are you mental’ but Sam just coughed and cleared his throat before speaking “Just shut up you two are both giving me a headache I will take first watch”

Hailey shook her head at his reaction to the argument with her mother but he didn’t disagree because she could feel her eyes already falling closed more heavily than they were before and Natelia had already fallen asleep exhaustion catching up to her as fast as a high speed train

It took Hailey a little longer to sleep but eventually she drifted off leaving Sam alone to watch over the night. He would eventually wake Hailey when he really needed to go to sleep but he would leave the petite girl to sleep for as long as possible

Nothing much seemed to happen until an hour later when a rustle filled the air jolting awake a now sleeping Sam who may he be reminded said he would keep watch quickly he gripped his bow and took a bow from his quiver which was laying on the ground and he pinched the end of the arrow to the string between the two gold bits an raised his bow ready to let the arrow fly.

But just as he was about to let an arrow go a small brown bunny came hopping out of the bush and across the deserted road before ducking inside another bush and then after a few more rustles of the bush the air clung to a heavy silence once again

“Scared of a little bunny now are we Sam?” A voice echoed throughout the night leaving Sam to jump in freight before spinning around to see the smirking face of the midnight headed girl

“How much of that did you see?” He asked wearily knowing that she would probably hang it over his head for years to come.That is if they get through everything thrown their way

“Oh just about...” Hailey paused for dramatic effect, “Everything.”

“Figures you Croppers were always good at seeing things you weren’t supposed to” Sam snapped hotly

“What?” Hailey asked her brows furrowed she had picked up on the fact that there was another meaning behind the words though what that was she didn’t know

Sam smacked his lips in realisation “Never mind”

He tried to wave his mistake off and Hailey knew what he was doing you don’t get far in her line of work without knowing people habits she wanted to know more but she let him wave it off and Hailey would just have to bring it up again later

“Anyway you get some rest and I’ll take over” Hailey says to Sam

“No, it’s okay, you go back to sleep” Sam says and even though he needed sleep he wanted Hailey to sleep because she needed it, she was basically a princess and who in their right mind would deny a princess some beauty sleep

“You’re as bad as my mother” Hailey says flatly before sitting down in the chair

“What are you doing?” Sam asked confused to the girl’s behaviour

Sharply Hailey turned to face Sam before snapping “What does it look like? I’m being look out with you”

“Why?” Sam said before he could stop the words tumbling from his lips

Hailey shrugged like she didn’t have a proper answer and pulled her arms across her chest because despite the warm fire heating up the surrounding air, she still felt cold and it didn’t help the fact that she was still half asleep

Finally Sam noticed and spared her a glance “Are you cold?”

Hailey looked up from staring at her lap and shook her head despite herself “No”

“Here” Sam said as he shrugged off his jacket and gave it to her

Hailey hesitated before taking the smooth leather of the jacket and then proceeded to curl herself into a tight ball and wrap the jacket around her almost instantly it made her feel warm and safe

“Better?” Sam asked and she nodded

“Tired...” She let out a yawn and curled into a tighter ball and dropped off to sleep

“Yeah me too” Sam chuckled and closed his eyes

When Natalia woke up the next morning she was surprised to see that Hailey was curled up next to her and even more surprised that she wasn’t in any of the tents and instead was curled up and lightly snoring on a metal chair with Sam’s jacket flung across her with Sam entangled in her limbs

“Wake up Haile and Sam” Natalia whispered glancing at their hands which were laced together

Finally Hailey stirred and moved from underneath Sam which awoke Sam, it took them more than a few seconds to properly wake up and when they did they looked at one another blushed and then towards Natalia who was now smirking at the teens embarrassment and when they caught her eye the jumped several feet apart meaning that Sam fell over with the chair on top of him

“M-Mom what are you doing here, why so early?” Hailey stumbled over her words blushing

“Its 5:30” Natalia replied with a chuckle

“First of all OW!” Sam said in faux anger as he got off the ground and dusted himself off playfully glaring in the direction of Hailey making her slap a hand over her mouth to muffle her giggles “and second of all we really do need to keep going if we want to reach Bore Creek by midday”

“Thank you Samuel, now lets pack up and leave before the mine workers start their day” It was nice to see another side of Natalia while it lasted but it didn’t last for too long

A half an hour later everything was packed up and they left as if they were never there after putting out the trashcan fire of course and they followed a nearby stream west in hopes of coming to Bore Creek. The first part of their journey was spent by Natalia walking a foot ahead of the two and the teens sparing glances at one another when they thought the other wasn’t looking until Sam found the courage to muster up a sentence

“About last night – ” Sam started but was quickly cut off by Hailey

“I know, I don’t know why or what happened between us but it will never happen again”

Hearing the painful words come from Hailey’s pink lips was as painful as a stab in the chest for Sam and it was like bringing his worst fears about himself crawling back up to surface

Upon seeing the pained expression on the boys face Hailey rearranged her words to what she thought were the right ones “I-I mean...I didn’t mean for it to happen and it shouldn’t of but I was glad it did”

Sam looked hopeful for a second before he shook his head “Don’t say things you don’t mean”

“I’m not” Hailey protested flushing “Look I don’t know what it means but I want to stick around to find out”

Sam was pleased by this answer, he didn’t know what it meant himself but he was over the moon the fact that the mysterious raven headed girl wants to try as well so with some new found confidence he grabbed her hand and squeezed “Me too” he agreed

Up ahead Natalia stopped by the waters edged and looked into the abyss – there wasn’t anything out there apart from a few shrubs – but still she found herself smiling almost as big as her daughters smile

“Mom, why did we stop?” Hailey asks still gripping tightly to Sam’s hand

Even if Natalia notice the small embrace between the sixteen and eighteen year olds she didn’t say anything as she didn’t want anything to ruin her elated mood as she was finally home after nearly a decade of being away

“Welcome to my home the Isle of the Lost Kingdom” Natalia beamed and Hailey looked out into the abyss with a strange expression. She had thought coming to the Isle of the Lost Kingdom would be more excitable than this after all she had been spending 3 months traveling with her now not so dead mother and her companion but alas it was a complete let down

Sam and Natalia didn’t seem to notice her expression as they were busy beaming at each other the two had finally completed their mission of delivering Hailey to the lost kingdoms but them a wave of crushing guilt dawned on Sam: He had completed his mission of keeping the heir of the lost kingdom safe and Elsya was probably going to put him on the Queen assignment and he would never be able to see Hailey again

Sam quickly let go of her hand like it was on fire and Hailey gave him a strange look but didn’t question him and instead turned to Natalia who was still smiling like an idiot even though all there was, was abyss

“Mother what is going on?” Hailey inquired tilting her head ever so slightly

Only then did Natalia face her daughter her smile never once wavering as she gestured to the abyss “Hailey welcome to your true home” and as if those words triggered some sort of reaction suddenly vines spurted from the ground wrapping themselves around each other as they spread out to make a building – a castle.

Hailey blinked and didn’t see how water just sprayed out of the ground showering the castle in gleaming water and how ivory and vines sprung out of the ground and created a bridge leading up to the iron gates of the castle

“Whoa” Hailey muttered her mouth agape as she took in her surrounding

“C’mon” Sam says finally grabbing hold of Hailey’s hand again “Let’s go meet your grandmother”

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