Chapter Twenty Six

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Beating the Odds

She had counted six giants in all. Six! It was not an army, but the fact there were so many working together was incredible. They were solitary creatures by nature, and tried to remain away from villages and towns. If too many of them lived together, they tended to fight and create a big mess of their surroundings. A giant sighting was a rare occurrence and Victoria had only heard of one herself.

A giant named Miff that passed by Volcaringuard and politely asked if he could borrow some yarn for flossing, before proceeding to eat most of the sheep in the village. If it had not been for the dragons and phoenix, he probably would have eaten them all. Gail told the story with such enthusiasm and joy at scaring the all the children of the village, that each year the story became more and more exaggerated.

Finally, when Miff had started biting the heads off children and feeding them to the sheep, Victoria had heard enough to ignore Gail each time she told it. Shaken out of her momentary daze, Victoria listened to Lillian shout out her confusion about the attack.

"This makes no sense. Giants aren't usually violent unless provoked." Lillian said.

"Well let's deal with the 'why' later and figure out what we do right now." Victoria said.

They ducked behind a wall that was still intact to contemplate their next move. She had just realized that they were in the large training field behind the castle. There was nothing beyond it except steep mountain ridges. A small vegetable garden smashed beyond recognition lay to the right and they would only find more rock if they passed it. Stables stood to the left, though she was not sure how useful horses would be at that moment. Beyond the stables, a small flower garden sat untouched from the chaos around them, nothing useful there. There was no way around to the front. Large iron gates secured both sides of the castle and stretched all the way out to the mountain rocks that protected them. They would have to go through the castle. She did not like the idea, but they were running out of time and Ryhan could be in danger.

Looking at Lillian, "Can you sense how the structure of the castle effects the earth?"

"I'm not sure. I've never tried anything like that." Lillian said.

"Even if she could what would be the point of something like that?" Alex asked.

Victoria responded, "To see if the tunnel we took is the only one, or if there are more. If there is more than one—"

"Then perhaps we could find which way Gavin took Ryhan." Evangeline finished her thought.

Victoria nodded, and then asked slowly, "You think he took her?"

The others just stared at her, unsure of how to respond. She could tell they were all wondering if Ryhan went willingly.

Finally, Evangeline said, "He must have."

Never had three words been full of more hope than what Evangeline had just spoke. The thought of Ryhan betraying them was too much for her to bear. They needed each other, at that moment more than ever before. Victoria squeezed her hand and nodded at Lillian to try.

Lillian closed her eyes and Victoria could feel Evangeline's power flow through her, it was working its magic and making Lillian's power stronger. If Lillian could do what she was asking of her, she did not have the chance to find out. Thunderous footsteps knocked them to the ground.

A giant was close, and there was not much cover. If it attacked, they would have no chance against it. It was an ugly thing. Pale grey skin hung in loose folds all over its body. Moss and dirt clung in large patches and seemed to grow right out of its skin. It was bald, naked, and didn't seem to care about either. The giant sniffed the air and made a weird grunt.

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