Chapter 5

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Evolving view
Disheartened, we turned around. It was the King's military faction again.
It was all in vain...the last thing I wanted to see now,was Hearst's taunting expression, snarling with sardonic pleasure. Luckily it was everyone but him. A few of them descended their horses. They did not look satisfied with the turning of events.

Carnell came up to Aldrich, standing in close contact with him. He looked down on my friend with fury.
"What were you thinking coming out here at dusk? Where did you think you were going?"
Aldrich stared right back at him

"We are just looking for answers we never got. Is there any place where we can find reception? " he held his cellphone aloft.
"You won't find it here, only more questions. Listen, Aldrich, right? There are no cellphones here, nor electricity, nor television. And yes ,it's the year 2016."
We were puzzled.

"Then why do you live like this?" Aldrich insisted.
"Prince Aland will answer the questions you might still have. My duty is to get you safely back to the castle."

"Who was that women and child?" I asked.
The men glanced at each other and then at me.
"I don't know your meaning. There is no one out here," Carnell said annoyed. He lifted my chin and had a good look at my lip....And this? What in God's name..?"

"It was an accident, I slid and fell. I think it's time you told us where the prince is. We've been ignored since we came."
"The king is very ill, they had an incident yesterday. He nearly lost his father. These are trying times for Bohemia.."

"Sorry to hear of it," I said.
Aldrich was helped onto a horse.
"Come on then,hop on!" Carnell gestured.
"Just like that? I couldn't possibly.."
"I said, get on the horse, we have wasted enough time already. I'll help you, of course," he said, arm outstretched.

"I am..scared of horses..."
"Great, just what we need now." One of his men grew restless.
"It's okay Wilfred, I'll deal with it."
Carnell put his hand next to the stirrup and turned his palm up.
"Now step on my hand and I'll help you up. Just do as I say and you'll be alright."

At last I was seated. Having someone behind me made me feel safer. The road back to the castle was without incident. Something, however, told me that we wouldn't get off the hook that easily. Hearst emphasized so clearly that we were not to visit the woods. The whole way back, my mind churned the events of the evening. Why would Carnell deny that there were a woman and child? We both saw them!

Back on solid ground, I was escorted inside where Mrs Pennington was waiting with some torn cloth and a glass container with liquid that resembled tea. She dipped the cloth in it and cleansed my knee with it. When she took another piece,I knew she was coming for my lip. I jerked my head away.

"What is this?"
"Whiskey dearie, to clean the wounds,otherwise it will be infected. Why did you run into the woods? The wood is full of vermin."
"What vermin?"
I shrieked in pain when she dabbed the soaken cloth on my lip. She placed the container with the leftover whiskey in my hand. It was no more than three sips.

"There,love, drink up. You'll need your rest. Goodnight to you."

A man I recognized as one of Carnell's team,came up to me and took me by the arm.
"What are you doing?" I asked indignantly.
"Go with him dearie, it's alright.

I was shocked. Was he my escort up to my room? I could walk on my own,I'll have him know!

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