A captive I might have been but I was still ordained royalty and the Kinsley soldiers treated me with the respect my position commanded. Obviously sensing that if they'd found me this easily then more loyal royalists would be on their way to rescue and protect me, the generals in charge decided to set up a defensive camp here, rather than risk running into an ambush en route back to Elsewhere.
This, admittedly, shocked me.
'This is outrageous,' I exclaimed, upon hearing of their plans. The sentries I'd dispatched to keep the humans safe inside had been rounded up and chained, with Kinsley's men now watching my friends and peers. I was still outside with a guard of five soldiers, just as much for my repression as my protection. 'This has gone far enough, we need to get back to Elsewhere. With luck this can be written off as a joke or some sort of masque; but it cannot go on any longer!'
I gazed imploringly from one general to another. They gazed impassively back.
Too late, I realised that whatever political and military uprisings had been going on at home weren't limited to Elsewhere. Suddenly feeling lightheaded, I dropped into a nearby seat. 'Kinsley intends to invade the human world,' I muttered, and it was not a question.
'Take him inside,' one of the generals said monotonously to the soldiers loosely surrounding me. 'Put him with the humans; he's half human himself.'
Despite the respect I'd developed for humans over my stay in their world, the insult still stung, and I repressed the urge to lash out. As a member of the royal family I may have been stronger than anybody there, but I was outnumbered fifty to one. Unwilling, but trying to retain some sense of dignity, I allowed the soldiers to escort me inside.
Dom, Adrian, and Ana all jumped to their feet instinctively when they saw me. I saw a thousand questions try to tumble out of their mouths and waved a hand towards them wearily, forcing them quiet. Adrian had already almost had his throat cut for impertinence, and these soldiers weren't under my command. I couldn't afford anybody much protection until Trorent or one of the other loyal lords sent more men to collect me.
The soldiers assigned to my protection dismissed the ones already in the room, and I could see Dom's eyes calculating the odds. Five soldiers with "medieval" weaponry and heavy armour against the twenty kids in the class must have seemed like good odds to him, but one warning glance from me seemed to quell his desire to fight back. I don't know how much he'd deduced, but he must have had some sense that my people were a lot more powerful than his.
Not that they were "mine" anymore, I surmised sadly. Kinsley had always been a power hungry pseudo-sycophant with a not-so-hidden agenda, but my father had trusted him and so I – and everyone else on the Privy Council – had laid our suspicions aside. Unwisely, so it would seem.
Despite the fact that we were inside and there was no chance of battle at any point in the immediate future, the soldiers in the room kept their weapons unsheathed and their helmets on. I wondered if the humans thought them ridiculous or intimidating.
Shaking off the gloved hand on my shoulder agitatedly, I moved towards the professor's desk, which had been pushed against the window, and sat on it, my back pressed against the glass. All I had to do was wait, but my calculating brain couldn't help trying to formulate its own plan. We were three floors up, so breaking the glass wasn't an option. I'd easily survive the drop, but the humans would break on impact; and anyway, I'd need a horse to get to Elsewhere.
YOU ARE READING
Nota comes from Elsewhere. He's been away for a year and things have changed. Now Elsewhere has forced its presence into the human world, along with a suddenly unwelcome visitor from Nota's past...