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Pen Your Pride

The Moon Coin: Race Against Time

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Chapter Ten

Race Against Time

No sooner had Nimlinn bounded through the opening than the rock behind them sealed shut. They were trapped. Snerliff and Twizbang screamed as though they'd been set on fire. A clutter of Rinn, panting and out of breath, perched atop the boulders half-hidden among the crags.

Lily glanced up. The dead moon was receding, but it still took up a third of the open sky. Around it were other moons, large and small, weaving among each other at different rates of speed.

Directly in front of them, blocking the path, stood Roan.

"Roan!" gasped Nimlinn. "But how?"

Roan tossed his head toward a disheveled Rinn, lying lazily atop one of the taller boulders. Lily had to look twice to see him, which she thought odd, given the clarity of her new sight. His fur was the color of sand, perfectly matching the rock he chose to rest on. Thick mats twined throughout his long fur.

"Tanglemane," sneered Nimlinn. "Just how is it you came to know this place?"

Instead of answering, the Rinn merely settled lower on his perch, rested his pointed chin on his huge outstretched paws, and closed his eyes as though to sleep.

Lily felt Nimlinn's scalp bristle.

Nimlinn turned to Roan. "Greydor ordered you to the field. You have disobeyed your King. Leave this place at once," she commanded.

"Stand fast!" barked Roan to his clutter. He gazed at his queen. "This is not a decision that I have made lightly, Your Majesty. It is far too dangerous for you to travel this day alone."

"You will do as I say!" roared Nimlinn. Roan didn't flinch.

"I will not leave you," he stated calmly.

Lily felt Nimlinn shudder with rage.

"You will leave," Nimlinn seethed, "or you will be banished, you and all your clutter."

Roan's reply was immediate. "Then I am banished," he said flatly. And then, to his clutter, "You are all relieved of my command. Do as you will."

The only signs of movement came from the wind stirring their long fur.

"Tell them to leave, Roan."

"I cannot. They are no longer mine to command, as I am no longer in the service of my King. Now, Nimlinn, where are we going? I assume we have little time to waste."

Nimlinn hissed.

"Fools!" she cried. "Greydor will have you all roasted on a spit!"

"Then I will bring the sauce," replied Roan, his voice rising, as though tired of all this talk.

"You are not needed, Roan. I am far from defenseless."

"Doubtless, but I will not willingly leave your side until you are safely back within Sea Denn."

Nimlinn made a sound Lily suspected was a Rinn expression of disgust, tempered with resignation. "It is more complicated than that," said Nimlinn, after a time. "I have a long way to travel. And during that time I will desire conversation with Lily—private conversation."

"We will remain out of earshot, out of sight," said Roan. "You need not worry—we will be discreet."

"A Rinn can hear a long way," said Nimlinn.

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