The rest of the day was fairly uninterrupted and calm which was a very strange thing to happen during the middle of a war. This was giving me a bad feeling, like the calm before the storm. But I guess today wasn’t completely peaceful with Mallon being on the campsite. For some bizarre reason he kept wanting me to drop everything that I was doing to show me something that he said was very important that I see. Each time though I had to say no because I was still fairly busy with the remaining patients, the rest of the workers, and then a list of things that I had to do myself. Mallon kept asking me to do this for the next three days before I finally caved and told him that I would come with him to whatever he wanted to show me tomorrow. I just wanted him off my back so that I could have a little bit of peace. Mallon was driving me absolutely insane, and I didn’t really see another way out of the situation, plus the rest of the healing staff was about ready to commit murder if he came in the barn one more time.
Something in Mallon had changed since the last time I had seen him, it was just something small but it was nagging at the back of my mind. Mallon had this weird look in his eyes, which I just couldn’t place, ever since Avin had showed up at the camp. If I wasn’t mistaken it looked similar to that of anger and anticipation, which looked completely out of place considering the scenario. When the next day finally came around, I was dreading going to meet up with Mallon. I made sure to finish all of my rounds at the healing barn first, not wanting to leave anything unchecked before I left because I wasn’t too sure how long I was going to be gone.
The last person that I checked on was Avin. He had been doing a lot better in his recovery the last couple of days. Although, he has gotten a little quieter around me in the last day or two. I really hope that Mallon’s presence in the barn hasn’t caused Avin to shut down again. I was just starting to get used to actually talking to him.
When I walked into the stall where Avin was supposed to be staying, he was not where I had left him. Instead he was standing up over by the small window, looking out through the dusty glass panes of glass. I cleared my throat as I entered the stall so that I wouldn’t spook him with my sudden presence. Avin turned his head away from the window to look at me, smiling shyly like he had just been caught doing something that he wasn’t supposed to be doing. Which in a way was true, Avin wasn’t supposed to be standing on his own without supervision. His legs weren’t up to par yet and were still wobbly from his previous injuries.
“Come on, you know better than that,” I told Avin in mock frustration as I crossed my arms over my chest and tapped my right foot on the ground. I completely ruined my act though when the corner of my mouth started to twitch up into a smile.
“Yes I know, I know,” Avin replied with his hands up in surrender but the smile never left his lips. “I just wanted to see what you have managed to do with the place since the last time that I saw you. I’ll go back to sitting down now though, promise.”
I sighed and walked over to Avin as he slowly lowered himself back down onto the ground. I wasn’t going to help him unless he actually needed me to. I know that he didn’t like to be babied when he was recovering. Avin groaned as he finally managed to land with his butt on the ground. I knelt on the ground in front of him and went through with my examination to make sure that everything was healing properly. Avin was patient with all of my poking and prodding at his healing wounds and still sore muscles.
When I had finally finished, I backed up a bit and looked up at Avin with a tired smile hoping to see his half smile but instead he was frowning. What the heck could he possibly be frowning about? The puzzling in my mind must’ve reached my face by now, because Avin sighed reluctantly.
“How long are you going to be out with him?” Avin asked coolly trying to regain his composure and act disinterested. Ohh, so that was what he was so frustrated about, and he was probably watching Mallon from the window rather than admiring the landscape.
“I don’t know, probably not too long,” I told Avin as I let my mind wander over my memories for any ideas about Mallon because I hadn’t remembered anything about him yet. It was almost like he didn’t exist. There was a bad feeling that was clouding the back part of my mind about Mallon that I couldn’t seem to be able to get past. “But if I’m not back by sundown be careful of anyone else that comes into camp. Until I come back don’t trust anyone.”
I made sure to whisper the last part so that anyone that may have been eavesdropping wouldn’t be able to hear what I was saying. I wasn’t too sure when Mallon would show up to take me to this surprise that he had planned. If I was wrong about Mallon I didn’t want him to be insulted by my assumptions about him being untrustworthy. Avin stared into my eyes with a very serious and grave expression on his face, before he relented and slowly nodded.
“Thank you, I’ll be back as soon as I can,” I told him before leaning in for a quick kiss. Avin apparently had other things in mind. He grabbed the back of my neck, gently keeping me close to him for a longer and more passionate kiss that took breath away and made my legs feel like Jell-O. When he finally let me go I felt like I was going to melt into a puddle.
“Don’t you dare be late,” Avin murmured as he kissed my forehead. I didn’t trust my voice to be steady after a kiss like that, so I opted to just smile shyly and nod my head. I stood up slowly to make sure that I didn’t fall back onto the ground and then walked out of the stall to go find Mallon. I just wanted to get this down and over with so that I can return to my duties. I really hope that this is going to be as much worth my while as Mallon was making it out to be.
I walked outside the barn door to go looking around for Mallon. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I found Mallon leaning up against the barn wall literally just outside the door. My heart jumped into my throat and I barely managed to swallow my scream. I hadn’t been able to Mallon at all so I didn’t expect him to be so close.
“Are you ready to go?” Mallon asked as he pushed himself off of the wall and began to walk away from the barn, glancing back probably to make sure that I was following him.
“Yes, but where are we going?” I asked Mallon as I walked towards him to catch up.
“It’s a special surprise,” Mallon replied with a big smile on his face. But it seemed to me that it looked a bit too forced. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to be funny and mysterious or if he was actually trying to hide something from me.
Mallon and I walked away from the compound and into the forest. I don’t know how long we walked but my feet and legs were already starting to hurt from the trip. I had asked Mallon when my legs had first started hurting why we didn’t just take horses considering that it would’ve been faster. But he had made the excuse that it would have ruined the surprise if we had taken horses. That made me very suspicious, I didn’t question him any further though.
However, the creature within my arm began to stir, which was something that he had done in months. The dragon was waking up and making my arm get itchy as he moved around to get a comfortable position again. I stared down at my arm for a moment confused as to why all of the sudden he was so active again. Something must be really bothering him if he wants to make his presence known to me. Wait, how far are we away from the camp grounds? I was not at all familiar at all with my surrounds which meant that we were too far away from the compound. As I looked up at the sky I saw that the sun was starting to get low in the sky, which would mean that we wouldn’t make it back to the camp until after dark.
“Mallon, I really do think that we’ve gone far enough,” I told him as I slowed down my pace. “It’s getting late and I’d rather not leave the camp unattended for longer than I absolutely need to. Just in case something were to happen and they needed my assistance.”
“Relax your highness we’re almost there,” Mallon called over his shoulder. His comment sounded so natural and so nonchalant that I almost missed what he called me…almost. I stopped in my tracks and narrowed my eyes at Mallon’s back as he walked another couple steps before stopping. He turned around to face me with his eyebrows scrunched together in confusion.
“What did you just call me?” I whispered to him, stunned. No one else was supposed to know that I was from royalty since I was still regaining my memories. The only people that knew of my heritage was Avin and Aquaphira and I knew that neither of them had said anything to anyone else. So I guess the question was, was how did Mallon know that I was royalty?
“What? By your name?” Mallon asked cocking his head to the side but I could see the corner of his mouth start to twitch. The way that he was talking to me sounded like he was trying to make me sound like I was the one who was stupid, and misheard what he had said. But I knew what I had heard.
“No! What did you just call me?” I asked grounding out each individual word, suddenly on high alert. The dragon in my arm was becoming increasingly active, showing his displeasure for the situation. He even began whispering words into the back of my mind: traitor, spy, betrayer. My arm grew hot as I stood there and waited for Mallon’s response. He groaned and rubbed a hand over his face.
“And we were so close too,” Mallon muttered quietly before sighing. He looked back up at me and smiled a little before taking a step towards me. I popped my swords out of both of my wrists and into my hands, preparing for an attack. Now that I had my swords out, Mallon appeared more nervous. The dragon was waiting and watching from the tattoo on my left arm. It felt like he was prepared to help me out if I needed it, but I had no idea how he was planning on doing that if it did come down to me needing his help.
“I was really hoping to talk this over with you in a calm manner, but I can see that that isn’t going to happen,” Mallon muttered, seemingly frustrated but it all seemed like an act to me at this point. Mallon closed his eyes, raised his right hand into the air, and then snapped his fingers together. I relaxed my stance, a bit confused that nothing had happened for several moments. What was he trying to do?
I became alert to someone else’s presence only a moment too late as I was knocked forward and onto the ground. I whipped my head back to see who had knocked me over, but there was no one there, at least not any more. I felt a warm liquid slip slowly down my back, I didn’t have to look to know that it was blood. I didn’t really feel any pain so my adrenaline must’ve kicked in. What the heck did the person hit me with? I tried to get up to move but then the pain came, radiating all across my back, forcing me back down onto the ground. The wound must’ve been pretty big at least length wise because it didn’t feel too deep.
I glared up at Mallon from my spot on the ground. This was really not good. Even the creature in my arm was fidgeting like mad trying to do something, anything, to help me out but nothing seemed to be working. There was someone else here, I could feel it, but I couldn’t for the life of me be able to find them.
“Sorry that it has to be this way, your highness, but you’ve been interfering long enough,” Mallon said as he walked to the left, towards a thicker clump of trees. He looked towards the trees smiling as he held out his hand towards them. I scrunched up my eyebrows in confusion but then my eyes instantly widened when I saw a blue feminine hand come out of the grove of trees.
I snarled as I watched the little bitch princess, Amavin, practically float out of the forest. I had thought from the very beginning that she had been up to something, but I never really expected Mallon to be behind any of this. Amavin sneered down at me and I was so mad that I almost didn’t notice the bright smearing of red on her right hand. That was my blood on her hand, I realized then that I had to figure out what my next move was going to be, and quickly.
Mallon pulled Amavin in closer to him and kissed her hard on the mouth. She made little noises as they kissed and I had to look away in disgust at their promiscuous and sexualized attitude. I wanted to find a way, any kind of way, for me to be able to escape here alive. But my gut kept telling me that there wasn’t a plausible way for me to be able to escape in one piece. There had to be something else that I could do to at the very least let someone else know what was going on here. I pulled my swords back into my wrists and discreetly looked around for something that I could use to send a message back to camp.
I scraped up some dirt and squeezed it tight in my hands and concentrated hard on turning it into something that could make it back to camp without being caught. I managed to turn the dirt into a small bird. I watched as the little bird flapped its wings in my hands, and saw that my message inscribed on its body. I quickly threw it up into the air and watched it fly away as Mallon and Amavin were too distracted with sucking each other’s face. After a moment or two more they seemed to remember that I was still stuck on the ground, bleeding out from my back from whatever nerve poison Amavin used on me. I only figured out that they were paying attention when I felt a foot connect with my stomach that sent me flying in a tree with a sickening thwack.
Splinters from the place where I had hit the tree sprinkled down on me as I laid on the ground and coughed up blood as I fought to stay awake. The blood tasted gross in my mouth and dripped down out of the corner of my mouth and into the grass below. I struggled up onto my elbows and just barely managed to wipe the blood off of my chin as my legs curled in towards my stomach to try to lessen the pain.
“Careful my dear,” I heard Mallon whisper to Amavin. “They want her alive.”
I could Amavin pout to Mallon but she didn’t approach me again. It sounded like Mallon was behind all of this from the start, from the shadows pulling all the strings so that I wouldn’t remember him. He was probably the one that was dictating the orders to Amavin for what she had done at the castle. He must’ve also been the one that had hired the cursed assassins that wounded Avin and killed King Regalis.
I’ve never gotten to the point where my anger has radiated heat beyond my arms, until now that it. The heat was radiating all over my body and turning the grass brown beneath me. I tried to get up again but I was pretty sure that my ribs were at the very least cracked if not completely broken, and my spine felt odd. I was nervous to know if I had dislocated a disk in my back during the impact with the tree. Mallon left Amavin where she was and walked over to me. He knelt down beside me, which was probably the stupidest thing that he could’ve done.
“Now if you promise to cooperate, I can promise that no harm will come to you,” Mallon told me, but the smile on his face was telling me a different story. I didn’t believe a word that he had said. I tried my best for a sweet smile before I quickly spat in his face. Something that I didn’t count on was the fact that since my body was so hot my spit had turned into some kind of acid spit. Mallon screamed as he held onto his face and jumped to his feet, after a couple seconds of that he turned on me beyond furious. I don’t remember what happened next after his foot connected with my face.