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Chapter 12 - Plan B
I waited a few more minutes to climb down so there would be no chance of the men hearing my noisy descent.
I looked down too quickly and felt a moment of dizziness. I swallowed deeply a few times to get my emotions under control.
If John could fool those men and find a way to lead me to him I could certainly climb down a tree.
I took a deep breath and slid my gaze down the trunk only far enough to see the closest branch.
Going down was the hard part.
There were always those few moments of free fall as you dropped from your branch to land on the next one. I swallowed my fear and began going down.
I reached the bottom fairly quickly and wiped the sweat from my forehead.
My skin felt clammy and I felt unsteady on the ground.
I was tempted to sit for a moment and rest, but I didn't want to fall too far behind.
There would be time to rest later.
I made my way to the camp and looked around thinking about what needed to be done. Our bags could stay up in the trees if I camouflaged them better; maybe tie them higher up. People rarely thought to look above them when walking through a forest.
The big question was what to do with the horses... They wouldn't exactly be easy to hide...
After removing all signs of the camp, I decided to take the horses back to the village. It seemed like the smartest course of action since I didn't know how long it would take to rescue John. The village was half a day's ride away by horse and the return trip would be even longer on foot, but I had no choice. There was no way I could follow John with two horses in tow and not be caught.
At least it was already dark out, meaning that John's captors would probably only go far enough to make a camp for the night. I planned to use every minute of my time to get to the village and back; I couldn't afford to let them get too far ahead.
Putting Shadow on a lead I kept on steadily through the night, having only the light of the moon to light my way. I could hardly make out the trees before me and all the landmarks that had been so obvious during the day were nothing but shadows now. I glanced up at the stars, my only way to orient myself in the dark and hoped against anything that I was going in the right direction. I couldn't afford any mistakes now.
I lost track of the time and could feel the horses tiring under the relentless pace, but I couldn't stop. The slow journey chafed at me taking so much longer than I expected, but I had to keep going; in this race every second counted.
I had seen the moon rising steadily as I rode, and it was just now beginning to travel back down as my weary steps finally brought me to the edge of town.
Now what? I looked around me from the cover of the trees and saw the town deserted below me. How was I supposed to find someone to help me in the dead of night?
Keeping to the edge of the forest I made my way towards the city gates where I was sure sentries would be posted.
As luck would have it I saw a familiar face as I approached, at least I was pretty sure it was...
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The Last DanceHistorical Fiction
Prince John's biggest fear? Becoming King, and everything to do with it, from the sheltered life, to someday having to get married. Celia, a lady knight, minus the 'Lady' if she can help it, is not looking forward to coming of age and attending the...