Three of a kind:Part Three
“So we have met!” Scarlet exclaimed, excitedly.
“Of course, and how lovely it is to see you again, and Steel, I remember you it is good to finally make your acquaintance finally. I am Grym, protector of the lost,” Grym smiled. “Stubs, have you come for clients?”
“I am just bringing them here to see you, I have a Goo free evening to enjoy,” Stub smiled. “Good luck Ash, and you too, Scarlet. It was nice to meet you Steel, I hope we meet again. I’d go with you, but I’d rather not leave the forest and I suspect we would have run into Violet long ago if she were here.”
“Ah, you seek the third,” Grym nodded. “I can take you only as far as the edge of the forest, I dare not leave it myself either, but I will tell you where to find your fair sister.”
“Thank you,” Scarlet answered excited. “Thank you so much!”
“Yes, thank you very much,” Steel added. “It is wonderful to meet you, and lovely to meet you as well Stubs. Our next meeting will not come soon enough.” Scarlet laughed, as Ash pretended to gag.
“Have a good evening, Stubs,” Grym answered with a bow. “Come along, then. We will reach the edge of the forest by sunset.”
“So why don’t you like Grym?” Ash had fallen back to the pack again. Scarlet joined him listening for a few minutes to Steel and Grym talking. Grym was telling Steel about some of the interesting people he met in the forest, and about a young Scarlet.
“So why don’t you like Grym?” She asked as she fell into step with her brother.
“What makes you say that?”
“Well the way Stubs reacted to your asking, how Grym reacted to seeing you, how you wouldn’t look him in the eye or talk to him really,” she ticked each thing on her fingers. “Should I go on?”
“He took you and Violet away,” Ash admitted, louder than he had meant to. Steel looked over his shoulder, and Ash lowered his voice. Scarlet smiled and waved. “We had a perfectly good family, we, you didn’t need a new one, and he left me behind!”
“Oh, Ash,” Scarlet sighed, and wrapped one arm around Ash. “I’m sorry…I-“ He shook her off.
“Forget, I mentioned it,” He said, forcing a smile. “I’m just glad we’ll finally find her.”
“Me too,” She said, she looked at him for a moment. “I really have enjoyed meeting your family. Steel! Stop telling embarrassing stories about me!” She jotted up to the others.
“Family, what family?” Ash asked out loud, but no one heard him. He was left to ponder her question alone.
“This is as far as I can take you,” Grym announced as they reached the edge of the forest. They could see the tops of the towers of the castle of Brightvale in the distance. “I wish I could continue you with you to meet sweet Violet again. You should camp here tonight, but I must bid you farewell. There are more souls I must find.”
“Thank you, Grym, for everything,” Scarlet hugged the great uni tightly. He whispered something in her ear the others did not hear but it made her smile.
“Thank you for guiding us,” Steel said as he shook his hoof. Ash regarded the uni coolly.
“Yeah, thanks, but where do we go from here?” Ash asked doubtfully. “This isn’t exactly what we asked you for, unless you are hiding Violet in the trees here.”
“Violet is not in the trees Ash, unfortunately, I cannot join you for the next leg of the journey,” He replied, looking from Ash to Scarlet. “Your sister lives in a land past Brightvale, but if you reach Meridell you’ve gone to far. Miniglen is a small kingdom known for its ability to hide. It maybe a challenge to find but you will only have to mention her name to find her once you’ve reached her land.”
“’If you’ve reached, Meridell you’ve gone too far’,” Ash mimicked Grym’s voice mockingly, as they left Brighvale’s country side behind them. “What is that supposed to mean, there is nothing between Meridell and Brightvale! Has he ever seen a map.”
“There are a lot of places that aren’t on maps,” Scarlet replied. “If they weren’t I wouldn’t have a job. I make maps. I don’t just explore places. Although I haven’t really found anywhere truly notable like Moltara, but I hope to someday.”
“Perhaps if we find Miniglen you can be known for that,” Steel suggested.
“I don’t suppose they would like very much, especially if they are known for hiding,” Scarlet replied.
“No, I don’t suppose we would,” Scarlet jumped when she heard a stranger’s voice and found an arrow in her face. As did her brothers who found their own arrows pointed at their own noses. “What brings you here strangers?”
“Please,” Steel started, as he pushed Scarlet behind him and Ash took the other side to protect his sister. He didn’t look very peaceful to Scarlet however. His stance said he was ready to fight if it came to it. She knew her brother. “We don’t mean you any harm.”
“We are just travelers,” Ash added. Scarlet watched as he reached for the wrench he kept in his belt.
“Wait, we are looking for a girl named Violet,” Scarlet pushed out from between her bothers.
“Why do you seek her strangers?” the voice asked again, and its owner a tyannian peophin stepped out from the bushes. Flowers were woven into her red mane. She was virtually invisible until she was stepped out of them. Several others stepped out of the bushes as well including a marachite gelert who wore a dark black hood.
“Well, we will let you know that you are here while you enjoy the hospitality of our dungeons,” the gelert answered, pointing his sword toward them.
“We will go with you peacefully,” Scarlet responded before either one of her brothers could stop her. She was speaking to the armed strangers as much as she was her brothers.
“That is a wise choice,” The gelert answered, motioning for them to walk ahead of him.
“Why would you throw them in here Nessie! Really Nessie, isn’t this a bit extreme?” Scarlet looked up as she heard a female voice. She, Ash and Steel had been separated. They didn’t talk much in the dungeons. She had been in stickier places but it was hard to think about that now. She didn’t think telling her brothers stories about her other close scrapes would make them feel any better about being locked up. She suspected they were racking their own brains for ways to get out of their latest mess.
“They were Nyx’s orders,” they heard the familiar voice of the peophin from the woods.
“Well, my orders are to take me to them, and I am a princess, so I out rank him,” the other voice argued.
“Not yet you don’t, I am in charge of you,” the peophin replied. “And he is in charge of me.”
“And my parents are in charge of him and Rillien can give him orders as well,” They heard a soft thump. It sounded like the speaker had stomped her foot. “I will go to him if I have to, or you can take me to them now. They were looking for me after all. ”
“You are stubborn,” The peophin sighed. “Come along then.”
Nessie Princess Violet reached Scarlet’s cell first.
“Hello Violet, I’m, uh, your sister, Scarlet, nice to meet you.”
Violet was able to have the companions to the same cell, but was not yet able to get them released from the dungeons without permission from her parents, who were hesitant, despite the fact they had adopted their youngest daughter while on a trip to the Haunted Woods. Since Violet did not remember her childhood, they wanted more proof before letting them out.
“How many siblings do you have?” Violet laughed, as Scarlet and Steel finished telling her the story of one of their sister Jungle’s failed inventions. Ash kept his distance at the back of the cell, trying to figure out how to prove Violet was their sister.
She had changed a lot over the years. Like her siblings, her stars had faded long ago, and was now a pale purple, but he was sure it was her. He just didn’t know how to prove it to her and her family.
“We have 6 others,” Steel answered.
“That’s a lot,” Violet laughed. “How do you stand it, I only have two, and they tend to drive me crazy…well I suppose I have four now…”
“Well, we don’t always get along,” Scarlet laughed. “They drive me crazy all the time. One time, when we were little our brother Tenz stole my plushie-“
“Plushie?” Ash interrupted. “Scarlet do you have a plushie Anubis?”
“Yes why?” Scarlet asked.
“Because I bet I know what you were holding when your parents found you crying in the forest, Violet,” Ash came over the bars of the dungeon.
“Why would you think I was crying?” Violet asked a blush creeping across her cheeks.
“Because I know you,” Ash replied. “I am your brother.”
“Back so soon?” Bellsamy asked, as Ash sat down at her table. He had returned a few days earlier but hadn’t returned to the gypsy camp. Stubs of course told Bellsamy of his return and relayed the stories he’d told her but he couldn’t bring himself to see her till that morning.
They had met Violet’s whole family while in Miniglen, the royal family. The guard who locked them up, Nyx the head of the guards, had even taught Ash so very interesting moves. When they left they were showered with gifts.
At the boarder of Brightvale Ash had said his farewell to Scarlet and Steel. They were headed for Mystery Island. Steel promised to make him a feast when he came to visit and Scarlet promised to visit him as soon as she could.
“Not so soon,” Ash replied. “I had a good time with my sisters…”
“So Scarlet and Violet aren’t returning are they,” She asked as she poured the tea.
“Oh they will, they aren’t moving in, but they’ll be around,” he accepted the cup she offered him.
“Then why do you look so glum?” She sat down beside him. “You can stop blaming yourself now. They are fine, better than fine. Scarlet seems to have a wonderful family, and from what Stubs tells me Violet is a princess?”
“There is just one thing bugging me…” Ash answered, as he turned his mug in his paws.
“Sorry, I don’t think you have the answer to that,” Ash answered, pulling a plushie Chompkin out of his pocket. “Mind patching Inge for me. She got a little torn on the trip back. Scarlet offered, her mom taught her to sew, Abby. That Anubis is more patches than plushie now. Anyway, you’ve always patched Inge in the past, it just didn’t seem right to have anyone else do it. You know, Violet still has Elliot, he’s in much better condition she doesn’t drag that poor gallion through the mud anymore.”
“I hear that’s how you talked your way out of the dungeon,” Bellsamy laughed accepting the plushie.
“Thanks, Bellsamy. I’ll pick her up a little later,” He said. “I have to ask someone a question.”
“I thought I would come to you, you’ve put a lot of miles on those paws,” Ash was not surprised to find Grym waiting for him on the steps of his wagon. He has left the wagon just outside the deserted foreground. He could not bring himself to park it permanently in the gypsy camp.
“Thanks, I guess,” Ash replied sitting down beside him.
“What is it you want to ask me,” Grym asked him, although he already knew the answer to the question.
“Why didn’t you bring me to a new family, why couldn’t you just keep us together?” He said finally looking at his feet.
“The answer is simple, Ash, you weren’t lost,” Grym replied, standing up. “You were happy with the family you had, but Scarlet and Violet felt lost in the forest they needed a new family. I knew you would meet again. You weren’t lost till recently, and now you’ve found your family yourself.” Grym started to walk away.