Riley struggled against the guards holding her arms. If she could just swipe her hand, these jerks would pay. One little flick of her wrist would send them flying across the room. The problem was she couldn’t even move her fingers.
She fought against them, not noticing Saber’s guards had let her go and she was speaking to the king.
Riley finally stopped struggling when she heard Saber say, “…kill the dragon?”
Riley looked at her companion, her jaw dropping.
“If we kill the dragon, will you release our friend?” Saber asked.
The king seemed to consider this, rubbing his chin as he looked back and forth between the two girls.
“How can I trust you?”
“You don’t have to. We just want our friend,” Saber said.
The king seemed to consider this, then nodded to the guards holding Riley. They released her. She pulled away, surprised at how stiff her muscles felt.
“And you agree that you’re not going to try and free your friend before the beast is slain?” the king asked.
“I don’t think we can rescue him. That’s not how the story goes,” Riley said.
The king looked at her, his gaze sharp as daggers. “Be lucky, young lady, that I don’t make you join him while your friend attempts to slay the beast.”
“Sorry, Your Honor,” Riley said, lowering her head.
“So, do we have a deal?” Saber asked, stepping next to Riley so their shoulders touched. Riley felt the warmth of her skin next to hers, which picked up her spirits.
She took a deep breath, and that little sag that had crept into her shoulders eased. Her back straightened and her eyes raised to meet the king’s as she returned his glare with her own.
The king nodded. “You have my vow. You slay the beast, and you can have the fiend who resides in the north tower.”
The guards behind them backed away, clearing a path to the door.
“Go. Kill the beast. If you return before the beast is destroyed, it will be your heads.”
Then the room was empty, the king and the guards gone. Riley could now see the large, stained-glass windows lining the hall. It reminded her of a gothic church. It was cool, but also kind of creepy being in there alone.
“So, what’s stopping us from going to the tower and getting Raz?” Saber asked as she looked around.
“Well, first off, I don’t see any other way to go but back down. I also think the moment we don’t go that way, the guards will return and the king will follow through with his promise. ‘Off with their heads!’” Riley couldn’t help but slip into a slight British accent as she imagined the queen from Alice in Wonderland.
“Then I guess we go back.”
“And kill the dragon.”
“Yeah.” Saber’s voice echoed in the large room. “I mean, we knew we were going to have to kill it sooner or later.”
“Well, if it’s the wraith, we’ll need to. If we don’t, we will free Raz just to do this all over again.”
Riley smirked. “Then let’s go kill a dragon.”