Chapter Sixteen: Change of Plan
"So, let me get this straight," Mal says, "You guys have no idea where your parents are being kept."
It had been an hour of walking now and they were fast approaching Auradon City. It shocked Roselyn and the others to see how bad Auradon had gotten in just a few short days. Even from where they were, they could see the damage done in the distance; they had to fix this mess immediately.
"Not a clue," Claire shrugged her shoulders.
"Maleficent separated us from them," Ben explained somberly.
"It's been days since we last saw them. I'm so worried about them," Roselyn fretted.
Jay grabbed Roselyn's hand and squeezed it in comfort. Roselyn sent a thankful smile his way.
"Don't worry about them lass. I'm sure they're safe and that we'll find them," Meraud comforted, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Roselyn smiled up at him in gratitude. Meraud's words and Jay's touch provided some ease and comfort to her conscience.
"I hope so," Roselyn looked down at her feet. She tried to keep a positive outlook, but she couldn't help but assume the worst. Roselyn just hoped that her family were okay, along with everyone else.
"Has anyone come up with some kind of plan or idea on how we can steal the wand back?" Ben questioned.
"I was thinking that when Maleficent goes to sleep get sneak into her room, grab it and go," Claire voiced her plan with confidence, "Simple, and to the point."
Roselyn couldn't help but roll her eyes playfully at her best friend, she was all action but lacked the logical side of the plan sometimes. Ben just shook his head with a small smile at the idea of Claire's lacklustre plan.
"That is a terrible idea," Meraud deadpanned.
"Well, I don't see you or anyone else coming up with any bright ideas," Claire grumbled irritably, crossing her arms over her chest with a huff.
The group was silent, as the eight of them tried to think of different ways of stealing the wand away from Maleficent. A half an hour passed and the sun was beginning to set. No one had managed to come up with a plan that didn't end with them being hurt or killed in the process. It all seemed nearly impossible for them to take the wand from Maleficent.
As the group began to draw closer and closer to the borders of Auradon City, Mal steered them away from the main entrance and hid behind some bushes just like they did before they entered the prison.
Everyone peered through the bushes to clearly see that the city was completely and utterly destroyed. There was no human in sight as thousands of goblins roamed the streets of Auradon City, throwing rotten food and trash everywhere. Fights were breaking out amongst them as they fought for the very little food that wasn't spoiled. The windows and doors of stores and houses were smashed and broken to splinters. No doubt that everything inside was either damaged or stolen.
Roselyn shook her head in disbelief, was this what the Isle looked like?
The princess, who noticed that Ben was visibly upset and distraught, placed a hand on his shoulder in order to comfort him. Ben glanced at Roselyn's hand before turning his head towards her and gave her a lopsided smile as if to show that he was alright. However, she knew deep down that he wasn't but was trying to act strong for the others.
Roselyn's gaze turned towards Mal who's face held a sour expression. She assumed that Mal was starting to regret her decision to give her mother the wand, and was blaming herself for what she had done to Ben's home. Roselyn couldn't help but feel sympathy for Mal.
Roselyn couldn't help but wonder if this is what Corona looked like as well. Her beautiful island kingdom was very likely overrun with goblins. She could imagine those nasty little creatures trashing her home and destroying all of her precious possessions. Tears she didn't notice were falling down her cheeks, were wiped away by Jay. Roselyn managed a soft smile for him, in which he returned.
"Great," Claire hissed, "How are we going to get past all of those goblins?! If any of them see us, they'll immediately sound an alarm!"
Mal bit her lip, she had to admit that Claire was right, there was no way to get past all those goblins without one of them getting spotted. Unless they split up.
"Guys, I have an idea but it'll be a long shot," Mal announced, which caught everyone's attention.
Jay shrugged, "I think we'll take anything at this point."
"Okay, here's what we are going to do," Mal stated, "We split up into small groups of two, because a big group of people will look suspicious, we all try to make it through the city without being spotted. It was going to be nightfall soon, so the dark should give us an advantage."
Everyone didn't like the idea of splitting up. Safety in numbers was always the go-to option in times like these but they all didn't want to get caught at the same; Mal's plan was going to have to do.
"Got it?" Mal questioned, just to make sure everyone knew of the plan.
"Got it," Everyone repeated in unison.
Mal nodded, "Okay. Jay, you're with Roselyn, Claire with Carlos, Evie you're with Meraud, and Ben, you're with me. We will meet each other at the castle gate, try to stick to the shadows and whatever you do, don't get caught!"
Everyone split up and snuck off in all kinds of directions. The only ones left behind were Jay and Roselyn. Looking around, Roselyn tried to work out the best route to take. She was familiar with the city, having visited it with Ben many times.
"So, which alley should we take?" Roselyn questioned, open to any suggestions.
"We aren't taking the alley's," Jay told simply.
Roselyn stared at him, wondering what he was planning in that head of his.
Jay's lips spread into a mischievous smirk, "We're taking the rooftops."
"Oh okay!" Roselyn agreed enthusiastically before her eyes widened once she registered what Jay had just said, "Wait, what?!"
"I get the feeling you don't talk very much, do you?" Evie questioned in a sceptical tone.
From the moment they split up, Evie had been trying to make conversation with the tall, brooding and stoic Scotsman but it was proving difficult as he did not engage much in conversation. The strong and silent type, Evie came to the conclusion.
Evie didn't like the idea of splitting up from her friends, and she definitely didn't like the idea of getting stuck with a guy who didn't engage in conversation. Looks like she had to do all the talking.
"You could say that lass," Meraud confirmed after a while with a slight smile.
"So, he speaks," Evie gasped mockingly, a small smile spread across her face.
Meraud only glanced down at Evie, "You'll find that I don't talk much."
"Kinda figured that out already," Evie stated with a giggle.
The blue haired girl then went right on back to talking, but Meraud blocked out her chatter as best as he could. Ever since he got paired up with this girl, she never once stopped talking. Evie was so distracted that she hadn't noticed that Meraud was trailing a few feet behind her and was ignoring her. Meraud didn't have time for chit-chat, he was more focused on getting to the castle without getting captured. His senses were heightened, looking out for any goblins they may encounter.
As Evie was talking up a storm and was in her own little world, she didn't even notice that she was about to walk out of the alley and out onto the street, where a small group of five goblins roamed. Meraud, however, noticed almost immediately and acted quickly before grabbing Evie's arm and pulling her behind a bunch of crates. Evie shrieked in surprise before Meraud gave her a look to keep quiet. She got the message quickly. Meraud peeked around the crate to see if one of the goblins had spotted them and sure enough, one of the goblins must've heard Evie's shriek because it had alerted the others of the sound.
They started to search around the street in front of the alley before they moved into the alley. They were getting dangerously close to where Meraud and Evie were hiding. Evie was freaking out while Meraud was trying to stay calm. The goblins were closing in on them and they were going to discover them at any moment. They were going to get caught if they didn't do anything soon.
In a split second decision, Meraud pushed the crates onto the goblins, making all five of the hideous creatures fall to the ground. Without saying anything, Meraud grabbed Evie by her wrist, jumped out from their hiding spot and ran as fast as he could, dragging Evie along with him.
Meraud was surprised at how fast the goblins recovered as they soon gave chase. In the hopes of losing them, Meraud ducked into another alley and continued running. Evie could barely keep up with the tall Scotsman, but she didn't complain as she didn't want to be left behind. Meraud looked over his shoulder to see that the goblins were gone but he had a feeling that they weren't far behind. Meraud soon came to an abrupt halt when he discovered he had taken a bad route.
"It's a dead end!" Evie panicked, resting the palms of her hands on the wall.
Meraud desperately scanned the alleyway, looking for an escape. His gaze then flickered towards the wall that blocked their way. An idea that was so obvious lit up in his head.
"Come on, I'll boost you up," Meraud motioned Evie to place her foot in his hands so that he could boost her up.
Evie didn't have time to protest as the goblins were fast approaching the two of them. She placed her foot in Meraud's palm and he quickly boosted her up. Evie reached out and grabbed onto the ledge of the wall before she pulled herself up. Meraud pushes her up more so that she could get a leg over.
Once Evie was safely sitting on top of the wall, she then went to help Meraud up, only to find that he didn't need any help. He was nearly as tall as the wall itself! Once he was up on the ledge of the wall, he then jumped down, landing on the ground on the other side with a thud.
"Okay, now jump down. I'll catch you," Meraud said as he held his arms out, ready to catch her.
Evie bit her lip nervously, gazing down at Meraud before she turned her head around to see the goblins approach her and began to throw their spears. Evie shrieked before she jumped off the wall and was caught bridal style by Meraud. He then set her down gently.
Evie muttered a thank you before she brushed her outfit off. He was such a gentleman — maybe she misjudged the Scotsman. From the other side of the wall, they could hear the goblins fighting with each other as they were angry that they let the two humans get away.
Meraud let out a deep sigh of relief before he collapsed against the wall, panting heavily. He then shot a glare at the blue-haired girl. "You should be more mindful of your surroundings next time, lass," he hissed.
Evie panted heavily. She leaned over herself as her hands were placed on her knees for support, "I'm really sorry. I didn't even realise —"
"Well then, maybe you should focus on the bigger picture instead of yourself," Meraud snapped.
He didn't mean to be so harsh but she didn't know how to keep a low profile in times like these. Maybe she was used to this type of an environment on the Isle, but this sort of thing didn't happen in Auradon. If they got caught who knows what Maleficent would've done to them. He was just thankful that they got away.
Meraud let out a sigh. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you," he apologised, his eyes downcast.
"No, you were right. I shouldn't have been so self-absorbed," Evie agreed.
"That was close though," Meraud said breathlessly, managing a small smile. Trying to lighten the mood.
Evie agreed with a nod, "Too close."
Once Meraud regained his normal breathing pattern, he then stood up and observed his surroundings. His face lit up as he could see the castle gates not too far ahead of where they were.
"The castle is just up ahead," Meraud pointed to where the grand building stood.
"Can we rest a little more?" Evie asked.
Meraud nodded, "It seems like the others aren't here yet so we might just have to lay low for a while."
Carlos cowered behind Claire's body, his brown eyes wide with fear. The young teen didn't like the idea of splitting up from the rest of his friends and despite Claire being slightly intimidating and scary, he was grateful to be stuck with someone who was tough and could handle a sword.
Claire, however, wasn't happy about getting stuck with a kid. Kids weren't exactly her forte and it didn't take much to make Claire annoyed but this kid was pushing her buttons. She could feel Carlos' presence close behind her and it was starting to annoy her, albeit distracting. How was she supposed to be focused and look out for goblins when she was practically giving him a piggyback ride? After deciding that she had had enough, Claire stopped abruptly which made Carlos bump right into her back, making Claire lurch forward and whip around to face the young teen.
"Would you quit walking so close behind me?" The older teen snapped irritably.
Carlos flinched at her tone, "S-Sorry."
Claire rolled her eyes before she let out an annoyed sigh and continued walking. Carlos tried to wrap his head around how she was so cool, calm and collected about all this. Following behind her, putting some space between them and in silence, Carlos found himself mulling over the presence Claire was giving off.
Seeing past her threatening stance, Carlos was starting to look up to her — admire her even. Her strength, bravery and courage was admirable, but he'd never admit it to her out loud. He didn't know how well she took to receiving compliments. Carlos wished he could be like her.
The sun was just beginning to set across the city and it was getting harder to see. Apart from the moon's dim light, it wasn't enough for them to see through the dark. If only the smashed and damaged lamp posts, that littered the streets, were working.
"Ugh, there must be a faster way to get to the castle without being seen," Claire muttered to herself.
Carlos scanned his surroundings, looking for anything that might help them get to the castle faster. "Maybe we could take a shortcut by walking on top of these abandoned buildings?" Carlos wondered out loud.
Claire hummed. "Not a bad idea," she shrugged which made Carlos look at her in shock.
Was that a compliment? Carlos could hardly believe his ears. Claire took an idea of his into consideration and planned to act upon said idea. Feeling giddy, Carlos followed Claire who was already scaling the wall of what appeared to be an apartment complex.
Carlos was impressed at how fast she had climbed up the wall as she hung onto the gutter pipe for support. 'Man, what is she? Some kind of human spider?' Carlos wondered as he continued watching her as she reached the top of the building that stood ten floors tall!
"Are you coming or what?" Claire called from above him.
The younger boy gulped before he grabbed hold of the gutter pipe and slowly pulled himself up higher and higher. Carlos focused what was above him and he didn't dare to look down, he scrambled up the pipe.
Claire resisted the urge to scoff at his slow pace. "Could you be any slower?" she crossed her arms over her chest as she tapped her foot impatiently.
"Well, sorry," Carlos commented sarcastically once he reached the top before he tumbled over the ledge, "I can't climb a wall as quickly as you can."
Claire ignored his sarcastic comment before she turned around to face a glass sunroof right in front of her.
Leaning forward, Claire peered through the sunroof and what she found shocked her. Lying at the bottom of the foyer, she could see a huge pile of sleeping goblins stacked upon another on the floor. Claire gasped which made Carlos look down as well. Carlos yelped and jumped back.
"Abandoned, huh?" Claire grumbled sarcastically.
Carlos' gaze flickered towards Claire's direction. "How was I supposed to know that goblins were sleeping in there?!" he snapped.
Claire rolled her eyes. "Looks like we have no other choice. We can't go around it, so we'll just have to walk across it," Claire said nonchalantly.
Carlos' face paled. "What?! Are you crazy?! There's a whole heap of goblins down there!" he squeaked, fear evident in his voice.
Claire decided to ignore Carlos' little freakout and searched the rooftop. Before long, she had spotted a long piece of rope which gave her an idea.
'Well, that's convenient,' Claire thought to herself before she went over, picking up the rope and inspecting the rope.
Carlos stared at her questionably, watching her go over to an arched vent pipe and tying the rope around it as tightly as she possibly could.
She picked up the other end before tying it around her waist tightly before she approached Carlos. Carlos was small compared to the tall female. She was quite threatening this close-up. Claire started to wrap the rope around Carlos' waist.
Carlos flinched before he began to protest, "H-Hey, what are you —"
Claire pulled on the rope a little too tightly which made Carlos yelp in pain, "Ah! Too tight! Too —"
"It's supposed to be tight, genius. But, if you want to fall through then feel free to loosen the rope," Claire snickered.
"Tight is good," Carlos spoke quickly, tightening the rope around his waist more.
Claire shook her head with a playful smirk before her expression turned serious yet again. "Okay, follow me," Claire motioned to follow as she carefully stepped onto the sunroof.
Carlos knew he had no choice in the matter so he hesitantly stepped into the glass sunroof. Why out of all the other buildings, did Claire have to pick this one? The others probably didn't have a sunroof that could break at any given moment. But it was too late to turn back now. Claire was already walking across the room with slow steps, while Carlos was shuffling across and kept his eyes up. If he looked down, he'd be to frozen in fear to go on.
After a few minutes, they had reached the middle of the sunroof. It was the biggest glass roof Carlos had ever seen, and so far, he was feeling alright until the very thing he feared happened. An audible cracking of glass could be heard from below them, as the sound of glass shattering pierced Carlos and Claire's ears.
"Run!" Claire cried before she made a break for the other side of the roof.
Carlos' legs felt like jelly as he tried to pick up his running pace. However, the shattering glass was much faster than he was and before he knew it, Carlos lost his footing and was sent plummeting towards the ground. The sound of glass shattering and Carlos' screams were enough to wake the goblins that slept below.
Carlos thought that this was the end for him, but was soon proven wrong when the rope that was tied around waist had caught him and dangled him just above the second floor. Carlos blew a sigh of relief, but it was short lived when he saw the goblins that were below him, were started to pile on top of each other and was starting to swipe at him.
As for Claire, she wasn't in the clear either. Claire was struggling to get up off from what was left of the glass roof, but Carlos' weight was pulling on the rope that was tied around her waist, yanking her backwards and threatening to send her over the edge. Despite the situation she was in, she was worried about Carlos' safety more than her own.
"Carlos, are you okay?!" Claire called over her shoulder.
She heard Carlos scoff. "Well, let's see — I am dangling two floors above a pit of goblins that are trying to grab me — of course I'm not okay!"
Claire was going to snap back at him when she heard a loud snapping noise. She whipped her head around to see that rope was rubbing against the glass — it was going to break at any minute!
"W-What was that?" Carlos squeaked.
Claire kept quiet about the fact that the rope was breaking away as she didn't want him to panic more than he already was. In order to save both of them, she had to stop Carlos from moving. Her gaze flickered down to her side as an idea popped into her head.
Claire then slid her sword out of its sheath and held it out in front of her, before she dropped it. "Carlos, catch!"
Carlos's head snapped up. He couldn't believe that Claire would drop her most prized possession and trust him to catch it. Holding his hands out, ready to catch the sword. He was sweating profusely, silently praying to himself that he would catch it As the sword fell into his hands, Carlos fumbled a bit before he secured his grip on the handle.
Carlos laughed and looked up at Claire in happiness, "I did it, I caught it!"
Claire blew a sigh of relief, "Great catch. Now swing it at the goblins!"
Carlos' gazed moved towards the rope as he noticed that he was hanging by a thread, as the rope was snapping. Fear wracked his body all over again.
"I can't. I can't do this! I'm gonna die!" Carlos screamed, thrashing about. This caused the rope to rub on the glass more.
"Are you going to be a wuss your whole life, or are you going to man up?" Claire questioned harshly, staring intensely into Carlos' fear filled eyes.
The younger teens expression turned into one of determination. He wanted to prove to Claire that he wasn't just a wuss, he wanted to actually gain her approval. Something he had never received from his mother, nor from any one for that matter.
Mustering up all his courage — which was very little — Carlos grit his teeth and swung the sword with all his might. Metal connected with the goblins bodies and struck them down one by one.
Claire's eyebrows shot up in shock. She was impressed by Carlos' sudden burst of courage. After a while, another loud snap of the rope brought her back to reality as she turned her attention to the task at hand.
She stood up slowly, before she scrambled over to where the concrete roof was. Once she was off of the glass roof, she turned around and quickly hoisted the younger boy up with all her might and when Carlos was pulled over the edge, both him and Claire collapsed on the roof, panting heavily from the whole ordeal.
"We made it! We're alive!" Carlos cheered breathlessly before he was silenced when Claire's hand flew up to cover his mouth.
"Be quiet!" Claire hissed, "There are still goblins around here, you know."
"S-Sorry," Carlos rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly before he handed Claire her sword back.
She took it from him, sliding the metal weapon back into its sheath, that was hanging on the side of her belt, and sighed. After regaining her composure, she gave the boy a small smile, "You weren't so bad in there, De Vil."
Carlos was shocked that he didn't receive a yelling or scolding from her but instead he had received an actual compliment. His lips spread into a smile before he picked up his pace and was soon walking beside her, instead of behind her. Never had he felt more confident than in that very moment.
It was awkward, to say the least. Why did Mal think that pairing herself up with Ben was a good idea? Mal figured that this would be a good time to talk to him alone and explain why she did what she did. But above all, she wanted to she wanted to say that she was sorry, as much as she loathed saying it, she felt like she had to say it and actually mean it.
Still wearing his once clean and pristine suit from his coronation, Ben had not spoken a word since they split up from the others. Not once did he look at her, his attention was focused up at the road in front of them.
After fighting with herself on what she should do, Mal had decided to end her suffering and speak first. "Ben…"
She saw Ben flinch at his name but he didn't answer her nor did he even look in her direction.
"Ben, I need to tell you something," Mal's voice cracked.
"What could you possibly have to say, Mal?" Ben snapped, "What could you possible have to say to make things remotely better?"
Mal was taken aback by Ben's attitude; he wasn't normally this fiery. Mal began to grow angry herself. "Why are you acting like this?" She questioned hotly.
"Oh, forgive me for feeling this way," Ben retorted angrily, "Forgive me for feeling betrayed by the girl I loved. Forgive me for thinking that you and the others had finally come around, and that I was soon proven wrong then you went and betrayed us."
"Oh, so now this is my fault!" Mal crosses her arms over her chest in defense.
"Technically yes! Because none of this wouldn't have happened if you hadn't given Maleficent the wand!" Ben exasperated.
"I didn't know that this —" Mal gestured to her surroundings, "Was going to happen!"
Ben stared at Mal with a blank expression. He could not believe she had said that. Of course something like this was going to happen. Sure, it was soul crushing to see his home this was but Ben was relieved that Auradon was completely destroyed. It would have been a lot worse if the other villains from the Isle were here. If they were, the city wouldn't be standing; it'd be reduced to rubble by now. Ben tried to shake the horrible image from his mind.
"I now realise that giving my mother the wand was the most biggest and stupidest mistake I have ever made in my entire life," Mal admitted, "But I want to set things right. I really do."
Ben stayed silent. He stopped in the middle of the alleyway, not caring if any goblin spotted them. Mal's nose wrinkled in distaste, this was it. This was the moment she had to say that word. Mal didn't want to say it but she felt like she had to, in order to prove to Ben that she truly didn't mean for this to happen.
"Look, I am truly and deeply…" Mal grit her teeth in disgust, "S-Sorry, okay? I'm sorry for trying to get my mother to finally approve of me and think that I am somewhat of a worthy daughter she can be proud of. And you're right, this is all my fault but what matters is that I set you and your friends free and we are trying to right our wrongs, because we realised that we want to be good."
After pouring her little heart out, Ben still didn't say anything.
"Well!" Mal shouted in frustration, "Say something, Ben, please!"
Suddenly, Ben pulled Mal into a hug. Mal froze for a moment before she leaned into Ben's strong and warm embrace.
"I'm so sorry for getting angry with you," Ben spoke sincerely, "I didn't mean it when I said that this is all your fault. Your mother forced you to do this. She is the one to blame for everything.
Mal tilted her head upward so that she could see Ben's face, before she gave him a small smile. "Ben, I'm really sorry too, and I partially take the blame for all this, since I gave my mother the wand."
Ben smiled down at her softly, "Well, all that matters is that you are trying to fix things."
After a while of just standing in each others embrace, they pulled away from each other and continued walking down the cobblestoned alleyway.
"Are you sure you know where we're going?" Mal spoke up after a while.
"I know this city like the back of my hand," Ben told with a smile.
Within minutes, Mal and Ben reached the castle gates just before nightfall. They were surprised that none of the others had shown up just yet and it was a miracle that they got to the castle gates without any trouble at all. They hoped the others were okay.
Never did it cross Roselyn's mind that she'd be climbing up a gutter in order to get on top of a roof. She has never done so before, until now. She had to ditch her heels in order to make the climb easier, but she didn't mind going barefoot. Roselyn had always preferred going barefoot.
Climbing on top of the roof like this reminded her of the time when her dad would tell her how he and his two 'partners' at the time, had scaled over the Corona castle wall and made their way onto the roof of the castle, in order to steal her mother's tiara.
She'd always wanted to walk on the roof of the castle but her grandparents wouldn't allow her to do that. Knowing that they would freak if they ever found out that she had done this behind their backs made it all the more exciting. As she was reminded of her family, her smile faded. She missed them terribly and was worried sick about them, but Jay promised that he and the others would save them, along with everyone else.
Before Roselyn even made it halfway up, Jay was already on top of the roof, waiting for her to reach the top. Once Roselyn was near the top, Jay bent down and helped her up.
Standing up straight, the fresh summer breeze ran through Roselyn's hair as she looked out towards the horizon. The street lights came on as darkness fell upon the city. Even though Auradon City wasn't in its former glory, the view from where Roselyn was standing was spectacular. From here, they could clearly see where the castle was. It was only a few miles away, which meant that they didn't have to travel far.
"Let's get moving," Jay motioned for Roselyn to follow him. Roselyn nodded as she followed Jay's lead.
Walking on roof titles wasn't as easy as Roselyn had once thought. Still wearing her now dirty and torn coronation dress, she had to pick up her skirt to see where she was stepping. While Jay expertly stepped on the titles, Roselyn wobbled unsteadily, trailing slowly behind him.
"How are you so good at this?" Roselyn questioned, her eyes still trained on her feet.
Jay looked over this shoulder with a smirk, "I've done a lot of roof-hopping to get my way around the Isle."
"Makes sense," Roselyn giggled.
Making their way across the roof, Roselyn struggled to walk as she kept tripping over her dress. The one thing she hated about floor length gowns is that she couldn't walk in them. She could barely see where her feet were treading. Becoming annoyed with every step she took, Roselyn stopped before she grabbed the bottom half of her dress and ripped it off.
It was painful for Roselyn to do that to such a beautiful dress, but it was already ruined and there was a lot more to think about other than some silly dress.
Jay stared at Roselyn in shock. "Roselyn, why'd you do that?"
Roselyn waved her hand dismissively. "It was ruined anyway. Bedsides, I don't want to trip and fall."
Jay nodded. "You're not scared of heights are you?" he teased with a smirk.
Roselyn laughed, "As if! You should see how high my bedroom is. My balcony is roughly a hundred feet from the ground. Falling is what I'm afraid of."
Jay held out his hand for Roselyn to take. "I won't let you fall, I promise."
Roselyn's gaze shifted to Jay's face to his hand, then back to his face again before she nodded with a smile. Placing her hand in his, they continued on. After a long and comfortable silent pause, Jay broke the silence as he cleared his throat nervously. This caught Roselyn's attention which made her stop in her tracks. Jay stopped a few paces ahead before he looked into Roselyn's eyes, those dazzling green eyes.
"Listen, Roselyn. I'm sorry again for what happened at Family Day. I never meant for you to get hurt, I —"
Roselyn grabbed Jay's hands, squeezing them as tightly as she could. "Jay, you don't need to apologise again. It wasn't your fault, and you know that. I've already forgiven you."
"I-I really want you to be my girlfriend again. I want us to be together again. I miss us." Jay wasn't normal a shy person. But saying those words made his heart flutter and his cheeks heat up.
Roselyn's own heart fluttered at the sound of his words. She felt happy to know that Jay wanted to get back together as well. She took a few steps towards Jay before stopping right in front of him. Jay didn't notice how close they were from each other.
"All you had to do was ask," Roselyn's lips spread into a grin, before she leaned in to give him a soft kiss on his lips. Jay was taken aback by her bold gesture and was about to kiss back when Roselyn pulled away quickly.
"Come on, there's plenty of time for that later," Roselyn teased, pulling away from a clearly frustrated Jay.
Roselyn giggled to herself as she watched Jay's reaction over her shoulder. She would never admit it out loud, but it was cute seeing him as frustrated as he was. With a cheeky grin, Roselyn turned her attention forward as as she walked over to the edge of the roof they were on. She stopped and looked over to see a large gap which separated them from another roof.
"How are we supposed to get across the other side?" Roselyn questioned.
Sure, they could have climbed down and walked across and climbed up the other building, but the building they were standing on was located in the city's center, and thousands of goblins were roaming everywhere. If they took that risk, they'd be spotted for sure. Jay came up and stood beside her silently. He then began scanning the rooftop with calculating eyes before suddenly leaving Roselyn's side.
Roselyn turned around in confusion, as she watched Jay pick up a long narrow plank of wood that was lying around on the roof carelessly. "Well, that's convenient," Roselyn smiled in approval.
Securing the plank of wood in his hands, Jay rushed over to where Roselyn was standing, stood the plank upwards on the edge and let it fall onto the other buildings edge.
Jay then turned to Roselyn before he bowed and mockingly said, "Ladies first."
Roselyn couldn't help but let out a giggle before it died down into a nervous chuckle. She shook her head in fear, "You should probably go first."
"If you insist," Jay threw her a smirk before he hopped onto the plank.
As he began to slowly make his way across the plank, Roselyn was surprised at how swift Jay was as she watched him. She felt the urge to close her eyes a few times but she couldn't bring herself to close them. Roselyn exhaled a breath she didn't know she was holding as Jay had safety crossed the plank.
"Okay, now it's your turn, Roselyn," Jay motioned for her to follow him.
Roselyn's fingers began to fiddle with a strand of her hair nervously before she stepped forward. Sucking in a deep breath, Roselyn stepped onto the plank of wood. As she steadied herself, her heart was pounding inside her chest as she shuffled slowly across the plank.
"You can do it Rose, trust me," Jay encouraged from the other side.
Hearing Jay's encouraging words managed to relax her, but only for a little bit. With her arms outstretched for extra balance, in her mind, she repeatedly told herself to not look down and to keep her eyes on the horizon. After a few more minutes of slowly shuffling across, Roselyn was approaching the other building.
Feeling confident, Roselyn quickened her slow and steady steps, and bounded towards the end of the plank. However, Roselyn managed to trip over her own feet and began to fall from the plank. Roselyn let out a scream, which caused Jay to spring into action. Leaning over, he caught Roselyn's hand just in time, before he pulled her up and letting her fall into his chest.
Roselyn clung onto Jay for dear life, as she tried to slow her rapid breaths, her hands resting on his shoulders. Jay wrapped his arms around Roselyn's mid section tightly, as he was trying to slow his breathing down also.
Roselyn let out a shaky breath, "That was a close one."
"Told you I wouldn't let you fall," Jay smirked as he stared into her green eyes.
Roselyn grinned before she gave him a peck on the tip of his nose. "I knew you wouldn't. Thank you, Jay."
Jay stood and stared at her in shock before he gave her a smile in return, "You're welcome."
Neither of them wanted to let the other go, but they had to get to the castle gates as they knew the others would probably be there by now. Slowly and hesitantly, they turned their attention ahead and faced the horizon. They could see their destination from across the rooftops; the castle gate was just up ahead.
It was nightfall and just like Mal had planned, everyone met up safe and well — for the most part.
"Well, that plan worked out better than I thought," Mal commented with a smirk.
"Wait, where are Jay and Roselyn?" Evie wondered.
"We're here!" A voice called out behind them.
The five teens turned to see Roselyn waving from the top of a two story building nearby, Jay standing beside her. Jay proceeded to climb down from the roof before jumped down onto the street. Trusting that Jay would catch her, Roselyn then jumped down into her boyfriend's waiting arms. He then placed her down gently in front of him.
"Great, everyone is here," Ben breathed a sigh of relief, "Did everyone run into any trouble?"
Everyone laughed nervously. Carlos' gaze shifted towards Claire, thinking back to the trouble they ran into on the way. "I think we've all had our fair share of trouble in getting here," Carlos rubbed the back of his neck and chuckled.
Meraud and Evie exchanged looks at each other. Jay stood behind Roselyn before he wrapped an arm around her shoulder. Roselyn placed her hand on top of his and smiled up at him.
"Ugh, guys. What happened to sticking to the shadows and not getting caught? Maleficent probably already knows that we are here by now!" Mal ranted.
"Relax, we did our best to stay hidden. But by the looks of the empty streets, Maleficent hasn't been alerted," Jay interjected.
"You're right," Mal grumbled before she motioned them to follow her, "Come on everyone, let's go."
From the outside in, the castle was unrecognisable. Ben fought back the need to shed a few tears; his childhood, his home — in ruins in just under a couple of days. It hurt him deeply. As the rather large group walked along the main hallway of the castle, they all made sure to be quiet as possible and were extra careful not to run into any goblins.
They approaching the throne room and Mal motioned for the others to stop before she slowly peaked around the doorframe and into the room where she saw her mother, sitting on King Beast's throne with a bunch of goblins attending to her every need. Mal groaned before she turned around to face the group.
"My mother is in the throne room, what do we do now?!" Mal hissed.
"There's no other way around, they have to sneak past the door," Ben whispered.
"Okay, huh...Jay and Meraud, you two go first. Then Ben and Roselyn, then Carlos and Evie and then Claire and me," Mal instructed.
The others nodded and followed Mal's instruction. Everyone managed to get past without being seen but when Mal was about to step behind the otherside of the doorframe, she heard her mother holler out, her voice echoing throughout the throne room.
"Mal, darling, there you are!"
Mal, along with the others, froze in their tracks. Mal made brief eye contact with Evie and motioned with her eyes to go ahead without her. Evie nodded and continued down the hallway. Evie nodded before she ushered everyone down the hallway that lead deeper into the castle.
Mal turned to see her mother lounging around on King Beast's throne, as a couple of goblins were holding pens and paper, ready to take notes. Hoping the others don't get caught, Mal slowly made her way into the throne room where Maleficent was sitting on her throne lazily, filing her nails absentmindedly.
"I thought I was going to have to organise a search party to look for you. Not like I was going to anyway," Maleficent scoffed, checking her nails.
Mal frowned at her mother's comment. "W-Well, I'm here now," Mal stuttered before clearing her throat, "So, mother, what is going on?"
"Why, planning my own coronation of course!" Maleficent announced as a matter of factly.
Mal's head reeled back in shock, "Your own coronation?"
"That's what I said, do try to keep up dear," Maleficent huffed, "I'm going to have myself crowned as Empress of Auradon in front of everyone tomorrow, followed by an after party.
"Everyone?" Mal repeated.
"In front of all the royals of course. I want to watch them suffer while they watch me take my rightful place as Empress! I'm telling you, darling, this will be the biggest and last coronation Auradon has ever seen!" Maleficent cackled evilly.
Mal managed a crooked smile, but her smile masked the shock she felt in that moment. "I'm sure it will be," Mal said starting to back away from her mother, "R-Right, well, I'm just going to...go and get some rest for tomorrow then."
Maleficent didn't even answer her daughter; she was far too busy yelling at her goblin henchman to write down what decorations she wanted for the after party.
"There's been a slight change of plan," Mal announced with a nervous tone as she entered the room.
Everyone, who was resting after traveling for so long, turned to face Mal, wanting to hear what was going on.
"What do you mean by slight?" Roselyn questioned, worry was evident in her voice.
"This can't be good," Jay muttered, glancing at Roselyn.
"Tomorrow Maleficent is going to hold her own coronation and is going to crown herself as Empress of Auradon," Mal told.
Everyone's expressions turned into one of shock. Roselyn began to panic, she recalled from Auradon History 101 that if anyone was crowned King or Queen of Auradon they were in charge all of Auradon until the next election or an abdication was called. However, there wasn't going to be an election anytime soon once Maleficent was crowned Empress, and something told Roselyn that Maleficent wouldn't abdicate from the throne neither.
Roselyn gasped, "We have to stop this!"
"I agree," Ben spoke up, "But how?"
"Well, I think sneaking into her room and steal it during the early hours of the morning is already ruled out, " Claire sighed, "So, anyone else got an idea?"
Everyone stayed silent. They were in a stump and the more they pondered, time was ticking away. They needed a plan and fast. Mal recalled how easy it was her to grab the wand from Jane. Maybe she could get away with it by doing the same thing again. It was all she had to go on at this point, but all she had to do is steal it from her, wave it around and say a few magic words. What could possibly happen?
Mal faced the others, "Why not use the direct approach?"
"You mean steal it back? As in, just taking it from her hands?!" Carlos questioned, throwing his hands up, "If we did that, she'd destroy us!"
Mal took a deep breath before she released it, "I didn't say anything about us. Since I am the one who is to blame for all of this, I have to be the one to set things right."
"Mal —" Ben tried to protest but was cut off.
"No, Ben," Mal interrupted, "I'm going to do this, whether you like it or not. I'm the only one that can get near her."
"But what happens if she turns on you? What if she spells you? What if you get hurt?" Ben panicked.
"Then I'll have to suffer the consequences, wont I?" Mal's eyes were downcasted.
Everyone grew silent yet again. Roselyn's eyebrows shot up in surprise at her comment. Mal was willing to sacrifice herself in order to set things right. As noble as it was, she didnt want her or any of her friends to get hurt. However, it was a difficult situation. They knew that any plan they made came with different outcomes, risks and consequences. But if things went bad tomorrow, they'll make sure to go down fighting.
"Well, I guess going in with part of a plan is better than going in with nothing I suppose," Claire shrugged with a slight smile, while Meraud nodded at her response.
"Well, I think that's enough planning for tonight," Mal concluded, "We should get some shut eye. We all have a big day tomorrow."
A/N: I am so so so so sorry for not updating in over six months! I was having major writer's block on this chapter, and life got in the way. I tried to make this chapter good. There are so many flaws with the gangs plan but I'm just going with it. I am in no way abandoning this story, I really want to make this story awesome for you guys and for myself. Anyways, just a head's up that the next chapter might take a little long as well, but hang tight, this story is nearing the end!
By the way, who is excited for Descendants 3?! I know I am!
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