"That was my foot!" Alroy said from in front of him.
"Sorry." Cayle said to the darkness ahead of him.
"How long is this tunnel?" Cadman asked. "It seems to go on for ages."
"We've been in here for five minutes..." Finn said.
"Shut up." Was the response.
"How on earth do you boys ever get anything done?" Bart commented.
"Slowly." Cayle replied.
"I think I see something ahead." Cadman said. "It's a light!"
Anxious to get out of the dark and dank tunnel, they all hurried their pace, tripping over each other's limbs in an attempt to get to daylight and fresh air.
Finally, they emerged into sunlight, being temporarily blinded by its intensity after the darkness.
"Ouch." Cadman said. "That smarts a bit."
"Just a bit." Cayle agreed.
"Where are we?" Alroy asked.
"I have no idea." He replied, walking ahead a bit. "I think we're outside of town."
"I can't even see anything." Finn said, blinking rapidly in an attempt to regain his sight.
"Aha!" Bart exclaimed. "I know precisely where we are!"
"Lost?" Cadman said.
"Not at all." Bart said. "We're a mile out of town; the stables are over there."
He pointed to a small structure that stood right outside of the giant stone walls that loomed overhead.
"Well, that was easy." Cadman said.
"Where is she?" Finn asked. "Wasn't she supposed to meet us here?"
"Maybe she couldn't get away right yet." Alroy suggested.
"Maybe." Cayle said, though he didn't sound convinced. He started walking over to the stables, the others following behind.
* * *
Deanna was escorted back to her rooms and left there, with guards posted outside, while inside she paced, trying to think of how to escape.
There was a knock at the door and a small woman entered, her mouse brown hair cut short. She carried a silver tray with food on it. She bowed and then set it down on the table near the window and left without a word.
Deanna eyed the food warily, was it poisoned? She found that, after being told not to leave, how comfortable she had become here, and how now that comfort is her prison. She laughed at that thought. Who knew?
She sat down and looked at the plate for a minute before deciding that she really was hungry. She picked up the fork and started eating.
* * *
He paced back and forth, alternating between looking at the stone wall and the sky.
"Why are you pacing?" Cadman asked.
"No reason, why do you ask?" Cayle said.
"Oh I don't know, because you seem a little on edge." He replied.
"Shouldn't we get going?" Alroy asked. "We don't want them to discover that we're gone while we're still here."
"We can't leave yet." Bart said. "We wait for her."
Alroy sighed. "I really don't understand why everyone is after that girl, what did she do anyway?"
Cayle stopped pacing and stared at him. "You really don't have a clue do you?"
"No." Alroy said.
"Well, let's just say she killed someone very important for a very stupid reason."
"What the hell kind of explanation is that?" Alroy replied.
"A vague one, I believe." Bart said.
"She killed the Prince of Albernath because he supposedly had information on a man named Herndon, who by the way, doesn't exist." Cadman explained. "She ran, and a bounty was put on her head and that's where we come in."
Alroy laughed. "You're bounty hunters?"
"Yes, got a problem with that?"
"No no, it's just, you three? You don't seem like assassins."
"Then what do we seem like?" Finn asked.
"If I had to guess?" Alroy said. "A farmer, a wannabe knight and his wannabe squire."
"Guess you've got us pegged, huh? Mr. Runs-from-bandits." Cadman said.
"Boys, please." Bart said exasperatedly. "Must you keep arguing?"
"It passes the time." Cadman said, glaring at Alroy, who glared back.
"Something must have gone wrong, otherwise she would have been here by now." Cayle said.
"What makes you such an expert?" Cadman asked. "You spent maybe five minutes in her company and suddenly you know everything about her, and now your acting like your...." He trailed off and a look of surprise and amusement came over his face. "No way."
"What?" Finn asked.
"Shut up, Cadman." Cayle said with a warning in his voice.
"No way!" Cadman said, ignoring it. "You fancy her, don't you?"
Cayle ignored him and looked at the stone wall some more.
"Oh my god! You do!" He was laughing now, and Cayle was visibly getting angrier and angrier.
"I agree with Cayle." Bart said. "Something must have gone wrong."
"What should we do?" Finn asked.
"Good question." Cadman said, regaining his composure.
"Should we go in after her?" Finn asked.
"And risk being thrown in the dungeon again? No thanks." Cadman said.
Alroy rolled his eyes, but didn't say a word.
"Yes, Finn, that's exactly what we should do." Cayle said.
"Whoa whoa whoa!" Cadman said. "Don't we get a say in this?"
"All in favor?" Cayle said, and he, Bart, and Finn raised their hands. Alroy and Cadman shared a glance, and Alroy shrugged and raised his arm.
Cadman hung his head. "We are going to die, I just know it."
"With that negative attitude? It's almost certain." Alroy said.
"I'm not going to dignify that with a response." Cadman said. He sighed. "Alright already; when do we go? And how do we get in?"
"Simple." Cayle said. "We walk right in the front door."
He pointed towards a carriage that was just visible in the distance, heading towards the castle.
They were just able to make out the flags that the foot-soldiers carried: a wave crashing onto the shore.
"We are definitely going to die." Cadman said.