chapter six;

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The morning took a long time to come, or perhaps it was the fact that Darryl couldn't sleep. They hadn't made a proper camp, had stayed up talking and laughing in what was most likely an attempt to forget their current worries. If they were laughing, they were happy, not concerned. That was simply common logic. Vincent had fallen asleep first, leaning back against one of the bigger rocks and pulling his cloak over himself to try and combat the chilly night air. Zak had been the next to go, eventually napping with his head on Darryl's shoulder. That was good, Darryl thought - at least this way he knew where Zak was and didn't have to worry about the prince wandering off. 

When the morning eventually did come, Darryl shook Zak awake, standing up despite the prince's small protests. They didn't have the time to have a lie in, they needed to reach the rebel base by the end of today, and it was a long enough trip on its own. Not to mention that Darryl would ideally like to stop off in one of the nearby villages to pick up food. They could go without if absolutely necessary, but he'd rather not, especially if there was a chance they'd be engaged in some kind of combat later in the day, and Darryl suspected they would be. There was no way they'd simply be able to walk into a rebel base without meeting some resistance. 

He woke Vincent next, tapping him carefully on the arm a few times until his eyes opened sleepily, drowsy expression still on his face. Pulling him up, Darryl glanced between the two, fixating on Zak as the young prince yawned and took a few shaky steps forward. He seemed alright after the events of yesterday despite the bandage tied firmly around his arm - at least being injured hadn't lowered his morale. 

"Okay," Darryl started, trying his best to sound as optimistic as possible. If he could get Zak and Vincent excited about today, then perhaps they'd get there with as few distractions as possible. "Todays goals - I want to head to the village a few miles away to stock up on supplies." Seeing Zak about to talk, Darryl continued quickly, "Before you ask, yes, you can pick up food, but don't wander off. I don't want a repeat of last time."

There seemed to be unanimous agreement about that. None of them were particularly interested in a repeat incident. 

"Then we need to make our way to where the rebel activity has been concentrated," The knight continued calmly, "And see if we can get them to give over the cure, or at least information on how exactly we could procure one."

Two nods. It seemed neither of them particularly wanted to speak this early in the morning, their energy still drained from the day before and still heavy with the weight of sleep. Darryl had no doubt that, had he not woken them, they would have slept until at least the middle of the day. They were probably somewhat used to that kind of schedule. They were part of the royals, after all. 

After making sure they had lifted their few possessions that they had brought with them they set off one after the other, Darryl rounding up the back of the group to make sure they were all staying together. As they made their way down the path to the village, Zak and Vincent began to visibly wake up, something Darryl was relieved to see. The more alert they were, the less likely they were to be caught unawares. 

The nearby village was small, but that was perfectly alright. It would still have everything that they'd need for the coming day. Keeping an eye on the two, they made their way into the small market square. It was considerably less extravagant than the one back in their hometown, but Darryl could already identify several of the places that they would need to visit. Unfortunately, Zak appeared to have identified several of these stalls too as the prince had already made a beeline for one of the food stalls. 

"Zak, wait up!" Darryl called, tone exasperated. Despite everything, Zak apparently still hadn't learned not to run off. Some things never changed. "Don't run off."

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