The building was depressing. The walls and floor were tilted at odd angles, water dropped from many corners of the building, and rodents scurried about the place as if it were a palace. The smell alone was enough to send even the poorest man packing. Each room was darker and more drafty than the next. Old furniture set decaying in the saddening structure.
Snowy was lucky. In the corner sat one dry spot with cleanish blankets. The tired dog let out a quiet yawn and settled down for a well deserved nap.
For a moment the two sat in silence. Waiting for a sign to relax and let there guard down, yet it never came. Both were tense and highly alert.
Finally Tintin spoke. "I'm so glad to see you."
Rowen smiled sadly at him. "I'm still pondering on if you're a ghost or not."
Tintin's face swirled into a puzzled look as she slowly approached him. Her shaking hand grasp his warm one. For a few minutes she simply stared at the dirty covered hand clutching hers before letting it all pour out. Tintin quickly pulled her close and let it all drain away.
"Tell me everything." He whispered as her cries became nothing but hiccups.
"The last sub made it to shore and - and you weren't in it. My-my stomach dropped. They said you were dead! They all cheered! Rastapopoulous. He- he " she paused to catch her breathe.
"Its okay. I'm alright."
"He said when he was king he would dispose of everyone. The Captain, the Professor, Philip, everyone! The men kept tainting me ! They talked about my family. My father! My mother!I kept thinking of all the death! I was loosing everyone!
I felt sick. I though I lost you."
Tintin stood there for a moment, rubbing circles on the poor girls back hoping to calm her. Her hiccups had faded and she had stopped shaking. "I'm so sorry. I will never let anyone do that to you again. Plus people can't get rid of me that easily. They've tried and failed before."
Rowen smiled as she slowly leaned away to look at his face. "They tried to take Snowy but I bit the men who tried."
After a few moments the pair burst into uncontrollable laughter. Tintin pulled her close again and spun her around.
"Everything will be alright now. You won't have to bite anyone."
"What can we do now? Is it safe for us out here?" She asked.
"Our best bet now is to re group. And seeing as most of us are at the palace, we should try and gather there. Are you strong enough to travel?"
"I certainly can be but perhaps it will be in our interest to get food first."she replied.
Tintin nodded and began to notice how truly hungry he was. So he picked up his sleeping companion and the two crept out onto the ominous streets that snaked about the city. Under the cover of night, using the moon and a few streetlamps to light their way, they made it to an abandoned food cart. Silently they gathered up some fruit and bread before running off to another empty building. While Snowy slept, dreaming, I'm finally catching that pesky squirrels, the two friends filled up with fuel.
"Do you think we can walk right in?" Yawned Rowen.
"No. They didn't let me in earlier. I doubt they'll let me in now. Is there another way in?" Asked Tintin.
She nodded groggily and motioned for him to follow. They ran undetected down the South wall, stopping every few moments to let her press on a brick. Finally, it paid off and a small hole formed at the base of the wall. It was barely big enough for the two of them to fit through but it was a way in.
"This should take us to the Kings private study. After that we can split up and search for the others." She stated quietly.
The idea of splitting up made him feel uneasy but something else concerned him too, "Are you sure you can keep going, we can always find somewhere else to rest tonight?"
"I'm fine. We have to find the others." She paused. "But thank you for asking."
However, it would surprise them to find the private study already occupied.
Inside, tension was rising. The Captain and the King could not agree on anything. The two policemen were so tired they kept bumping into different furniture around the room as they tried to calm the situation down. And the poor Professor cannot understand anything anyone was saying.
"We have to find them!"
"I'm afraid we cannot do that. I will not let anyone else risk their lives. You will not leave this palace."
"BLUE BLISTERING -FINE. Fine. But we need to find them eventually. And you can't keep ud here forever. I know that Rowen escaped, if you'd just-"
The ceiling above them loudly began to crack. Quickly, they moved to the far wall away from the caving ceiling. Once it broke and dust flew everywhere, the men scrambled for anything to protect them.
"WHO ARE YA? YOU SNIVELING-"
"Captain! It's us!"
As the dust settled in to the expensive rugs, two people and a dog sat uncomfortable atop King Philips desk.
"TINTIN my boy! and ROWEN!" The old sea man jumped at his friends hugging the life out of them.
When he sat them down, Philip ran to embrace Rowen.
"Oh dear friend, I thought I'd lost you!"
Rowen nodded but the exhaustion had finally taken over and she closed her eyes to sleep. Before anyone could panic, Tintin picked her up and laid her on the sofa. Snowy lazily climbed up next to her. As the other began to ask questions, Tintin let that fade into the back ground as he smiled at the rare soul sleeping before him. Finally ready to return to the bustle around him, he stood and clapped to get their attention.
"I'm glad we're reunited. Now, Your Highness, double your guard. Without Rowen as leverage, we have no good idea what Rastapopoulous will do next. His next plan will probably be to kill you. No offense."
"Proceed," the young king nodded.
"We should rest up and be ready to work tomorrow and stop this mad man."
"I will take Rowen to a room."
Tintin intervened. "No need Your Highness. It may be best not to move her. If you bring me a pillow and a cot, I will stay with her."
"Me too." Huffed the Captain. "I'm sick of you wild palace type."
The King nodded and lead a confused Professor and two clumsy police men to their rooms.
Once the door clicked shut, "Tintin, are you alright?"
He smiled at the Captain. "Yes. Just terribly tired."
He patted Tintin's shoulder. "How's Rowen. She was shaking like a rat in a freezer last I saw her."
"Better now. I can't let her out of my site again."
"Feeling... obligated. Are we?"
Tintin nodded. Trying to sound convincing. "Yes. That's all."