Enchanted Stories: Adventure in Brightvale - Part Four
The next morning, after breakfast, we six were gathered outside of the inn discreetly discussing plans, when Celine wandered into the alley next to the inn and started barking. We went after her to see what was up. Lying on the ground was a hair-bow, it was made of silk ribbon and had flower made of jewels in the middle. Celine was excitedly wagging her tail and panting up at us.
"Do you think this belongs to the princess?" I asked.
"Celine did pick up her scent back at the palace. If she is excited by finding it must smell familiar to her. Wait, with this Celine can pick up her trail." Anita cried.
She picked up the bow and held it under Celine's nose. Celine took a deep sniff and then Anita said, "Go, girl!"
Celine put her nose to the ground and started sniffing. She found a scent trail a moment later and she quickly started out of the village. On the edge of the village I heard Princess say, "What good luck."
"Too good, don't you think?" said that part of my mind that is usually dormant.
I stopped dead and ordered Celine to wait. She sat down and waited patiently. The girls looked as me expectantly.
"You know," I said in a voice a little louder than necessary. "We are a rather large party, we might scare the girl. You guys should go back; Celine and I will go on alone. If we find her we will bring her back, then we can all return."
While I was saying this I had had held my right hand out, palm up, and with my left drawn a circle on it. I could see that Elise understood me.
"You know what, you're so right. We'll go back to the inn and wait. Don't take too long," Elise said, then turning to her sisters, added, "Come on, girls. We can check out that cute little shop on the other side of town first. We'll still be back before Kristy, I'm sure."
They went off and I said, "Well, it's just you and me, Cellie. Lead on."
After a fairly long walk into the countryside we finally we came to a cottage. The windows were boarded up and it looked run down. No one had lived there for a long time. I came to the door and listened. There were hurried noises inside, like someone getting ready to flee. I had no time to waste. I threw myself against the door and it burst opened. A Starry Ixi girl was in the act of climbing out a back window.
"Princess Emily, wait!" I cried.
She stopped and looked me over, a confused expression on her face, I was clearly not who she had expected to see.
"Who are you?" Emily asked.
"My name is Kristykimmy; I'm here to rescue you, I explained.
"Rescue me? Then you know I am in danger? Has he been exposed, can I return to Papa?" Emily asked in a rush.
"I know you are in trouble, but I don't know from whom. I am here to take you home. Your father hired me," I said.
"You're a Meridellian. You're a mercenary?" she asked, looking a little more anxious.
"Not a mercenary, just an adventurer. Princess Emily, you have to help me if I am to help you. Why are you here and who is after you?"
Emily sat down on the table she had been standing on and said, "Duke Ashbant, his name is Duke Ashbant. He has been a friend of my father's for as long as I can remember. However, he has tried numerous times to kidnap me. But, I did not have any proof, and without that I know he would be able to talk his way out of it. I confided in a friend who decided it was safest to hide me here until he could prove that Duke Ashbant was plotting against me. I don't know why, I don't know what he wants. Can you help me?"
"I'll do everything in my power, milady," I promised.
Celine turned towards the door and growled.
"Emily, get under the bed," I warned.
She slipped under the bed not a moment too soon. A shadow darkened the doorway and in stepped a Split Grarrl in very fancy clothes. I knew that this had to be Duke Ashbant.
"Grarrls again? Seriously?" my mind screamed.
"Who are you?" I asked aloud.
"Duke Ashbant, at your service, lady. I was sent by the king to escort his daughter home," he said with a bow, obviously trying to win me over with charm.
"Well, tough luck, she's not here, just another dead end. By the way, the king doesn't know where she is so he wouldn't have sent you. If you think you're going to steal my hard work and claim my fame for finding the princess and bringing her home safe, you've got another thing coming, lord hoity-toity," I declared as mockingly and provokingly as possible, I needed him to think that she wasn't here and I was only doing this for fame.
"Oh, you are precious, what with your little mercenary act. I'm sorry, I observed you at the palace, and I know that you are not that type of person. I guess this means you know the truth already. Well, come on out, Emma. Uncle Ashbant is not going to hurt you."
"What do you want?" I asked. "What good does it do you to kidnap the princess? Emily knows, so you will get caught."
"That is if Emily speaks, which she won't. I am going to ransom her for a large sum of money. Your interference in this matter is too wonderful. At first, I thought I would have to disappear because I might be discovered, but now I have you. I'll have you be the one to demand ransom and then you and Emily will both disappear. It will be perfect, because everyone will believe that you offered your services to the king as a pretext to find out where she was to kidnap her yourself and hold her for ransom. I will be the one with the money and you two will never be seen again."
"Not on your life!" I cried.
Celine tensed and growled low in her throat and I pulled out my sword.
"Don't make this difficult. I have twenty men outside, you can't fight us all," Ashbant mocked.
At that moment a whip coiled around his ankles, sending him toppling to the floor.
"Correction, you had twenty men outside. My sisters are currently tying them up. You made a fatal mistake; you should never go in against a Meridellian when a princess is on the line," Anita taunted as she walked in.
"Clever." I grinned.
"Why, thank you, but you were the one who figured out that these losers were tailing us. They were so confident that no one was keeping a look out. Chloe got most of them, but I bagged the big one, so I'm happy. Princess Emily is here, isn't she?" Anita told me as she knelt down to caress an exuberant Celine.
"You can come out now, Princess, she's family," I called out.
Emily rolled out from under the bed and I helped her to her feet. Chloe raced in and bound and gagged Ashbant in record time. We walked outside and found Princess and Elise waiting.
"Okay, Anita and I are going to take Princess Emily back to the inn, and get the mayor to send men to come round this trash up. We'll leave Celine to help, just in case anything happens. Okay?" I said.
Chloe dropped Ashbant on the ground next to the others and sat on him before saying, "You're the boss."
As we walked off I could hear her saying, "Let's play a game, if you're not a stupid villain say anything. What was that? What, you're muttering? Oopsies, time's up, you're a stupid villain!"
Anita just shook her head and laughed under her breath. Soon the villains were in Elsmet's jail and we were in a hired carriage on the way back to Brightvale Palace.
When we arrived, there was much celebration, but for me, the best part was seeing the looks of joy on the faces of Hagan his sons when Emily got out of the carriage.
We told Hagan about Ashbant's plot and Hagan told me that he would have him brought back to rot in his dungeons for what he had tried to do. For our reward he knighted us all, even Inna. He asked us to stay and serve as bodyguards for the royal family, but I knew that the story was drawing towards its close. I told him no, and there were more adventures out there for us. After out farewells we set out.
As I passed through the gate, I couldn't help but close my eyes, and when I opened them I was home.
As I looked around I noticed that it was the exact same time as when I had fallen asleep. No time had passed while we had been in the story. Everyone was awake now, little Inna was looking around in confusion, trying to figure out what had just happened.
I stood up to put the book away when Bluejay asked, "Are there going to be more, Kristy?"
"I don't know, Blue, I don't know anything. But I'm going to find out. Someone somewhere knows something, but more importantly, they know why too. We're going to find that why out," I vowed.
The End... or is it?