Chapter Sixteen (Caspian):
I was snapped out of a trance-like sleep by the sound of the main door opening and closing. The others woke up as well and looked at each other. Who’s there? Two sets of footsteps crept down the pathway, silent and stealthy.
“Mom!” Maya cried out in the dark. Mrs. Histerian put a finger to her lips and smiled, hugging her through the bars. The rest of us grinned. She’d found us! Beside her stood a girl around Maya’s age, with red hair and a bored aura (is that possible?) around her. She stood awkwardly to the side, rocking on her toes and eyeing us suspiciously.
“How’d you find us?” I asked quietly, standing up. Taka shifted next to me, also curious of the answer. Mrs. Histerian smiled.
“I know a lot about the layout of this place. When Boston found me hiding from the Deep Panther this morning, she decided to help,” she said. The girl (Boston, I assumed) rolled her eyes.
“I don’t mean to burst your happy bubble,” Boston cut in, leaning forward. “But there’s no way of getting you guys out without the key, which we don’t have. But feel free to magically teleport out of here, because that’s what Slydogs do.” Genesis glared at Boston. Heh. New Girl might have Genesis beat on the sass.
“Actually, we do have it,” Maya’s mom said, pulling out a key from her pocket. Rorry grinned, his glassy eyes still fixed ahead, and Boston raised an eyebrow as Mrs. Histerian unlocked the cell and let us all out. “Now that we’re all here, let me introduce you to Boston, from…somewhere.” Boston rolled her eyes again (guess she had a lot of sarcasm in her). We went around with out names, and Boston made a point of not listening when it was Genesis’s turn. I felt a little silly, but at the same time, I also felt like Boston was already part of our group. Like it was preordained.
We all stood outside WhiteHeart Manor, having successfully escaped. Out of sight of the guards, we all sat in the grass, contemplating what to do. The first idea had been to go home. But then we decided we had to make things right for all of Queen Highblood’s subjects. Which meant defeating Slydog. The only problem was that none of us knew where he was.
“He could still be in Mother’s mind,” Rose brought up again. Nimbus shook his head, biting his lip.
“We already would have run into him,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m certain of it.” Boston sat back, lazily running her hand through the grass. Kodah rested against Maya, who was deep in thought. I sighed.
Suddenly, the air turned chilly, and the wind whipped up. Dark clouds raced across the horizon, struggling to find their spot on time.
“That storm came on unusually fast,” Genesis commented. Mrs. Histerian frowned. Rorry stood up, staring at the sun, which was peeking out behind black blankets and shedding a single ray upon his amber hair. The rest of us tried to get up, but were pushed back down by the wind. Rorry smiled.
“What’s going on?” Ruby cried. Emilee grabbed onto her and held on. Rose yelped and turned into Roseberry, bracing her paws against a strong gust. “Rorry? Are you doing this?”
“I’m nØt RØrry,” he said, grinning. What does he mean? I wondered. “I’ve been right in frØnt Øf yØu all alØng.”
“Who are you, then?” Nimbus asked. “In the Queen’s memory, Slydog didn’t talk like you do, so who are you?” Not-Rorry shrugged.
“YØu had it right the first time,” he hissed, and opened his mouth. Darkness seeped out, flooding the world with nothing but oily blackness. The wind stopped. There was no noise. There was nothing but darkness. I took a shuddering breath. Then another. Calm down, Caspian. He’s just trying to psych us out with a trick. He didn’t really just barf darkness all over the Slydog Realm.
“You’re not playing fair!” Maya cried from somewhere near me. “Give Rorry back!” It was getting harder to breathe. Ink, oil, raven feathers, and darkness itself pressed on my chest.
“YØu want him back?” Slydog asked in a teasing, sing-song voice, yet it sounded more threatening with his rasp on the Ø’s. “I’ll tell yØu what. Let’s play a little game of hide-and-seek fØr him.” Just like that, the lights came back on. Slydog stood in Rorry’s place, a lithe, black fox with long legs, garrote-sharp teeth, and a white spiral on his forehead.
“Hide-and-seek?” Mrs. Histerian asked.
“Exactly,” Slydog hissed. “YØu’re it.” He disappeared, leaving nothing but shadows and a lock of amber hair behind.
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Next chapter on Monday.