Thanks to my reviewers. I have to say, this story really took off. It got a whole 25 hits. Not sure what to make of that but for those of you who took the time to read, I truly appreciate it and here's chapter 2!
"Is everyone here?" Ephraim looked around his ranks to see many faces. "Good. Then that is everyone. I'm sure that you all know what it is that we're trying to accomplish. Likewise, I'm sure you all know that we may not succeed. But we must try. For the sake of our lands and for the sake of many lives, we must try to end this as peacefully as possible. Our goal is to not be recognized until we reach the castle and have no choice but to admit to who we are. We will avoid battle and pose as mercenaries."
"A bit of a risky rouse, isn't it? Posing as mercenaries when we want to avoid battle?" Innes crossed his legs, leaning against a tree for balance. "What if someone tries to hire us?"
"We tell them that we are already hired."
"Who would hire a mercenary group to loaf about in time of war? …In the country that started it? If Gradoans sees soldiers in their country who don't bear the Grado crest they will assume we are an enemy and attack. Is it not our goal to not look suspicious?"
"Then what do you suggest? We must act quickly before all the Sacred Stones are broken. We don't have time to discuss something that really has no relevance."
"If we are thought to be suspicious, do you think that nobody will try to turn us into the crown. I'm sure a catch like us would be worth some gold."
Ephraim closed his eyes and sighed slightly through his nose. "We will say what is appropriate for the situation."
"Prince Ephraim…. If I may?" Joshua spoke up, attempting to break the argument. "We could say that we are mercenaries trying to get work from the Grado royal family. Plausible due to the war, makes us sound too arrogant for anyone to want to hire us, and explains why we would be heading towards the castle. No more questions to be asked.
"Then that is what we will do. May we leave? Our disguise will be worth nothing if we never leave camp."
"Oh, I quite agree! The act of hiding ourselves is rather pointless. I fear my reputation of the banisher of darkness has spread a large distance. People will figure out we are not what we say when they see me in your ranks!"
Dusk was not far in the distance. The group had began to set up camp when monstrous howls could be heard coming from the woods around them. Loud howls, angry howls echoed throughout the area. L'Arachel was the first to comment on the matter.
"It sounds as though they're close."
"Then we battle them." Marisa took hold of her sword. "Simple."
"Someone will have to keep watch. Franz, why don't you take the first turn with me?"
"Sure! I'd be honored to!"
"The rest of you, get some rest while you can."
L'Arachel and Dozla
"Those beasts are keeping me awake! Dozla, is there not something we can do about them?"
"I would love to, Princess!…But Prince Ephraim commanded that we not attack anything unless we were attacked first."
"This will never do! Those creatures are abominations to the light and should be destroyed! What type of notoriety could be formed from that? That is just ridiculous!"
"Gwa ha ha! I agree! I think I'll go battle some of them right now!"
"That sounds like a brilliant idea! Just let me grab my staff!"
Ross and Amelia
"Hey, you! Your name's Amelia, right?"
"Huh? Oh yes, that's me."
"You're from Grado, aren't you?"
"So what was your country like before this whole war started?"
"What was it like? Why would you want to know something like that?"
"Just curious. I mean, we've been fighting Grado for a while now but I don't know anything about the people. You don't seem so different from me. Kinda got me thinking that I'm killing people who in different circumstances would have been my friends."
"…People in Grado and people in Renais aren't that different at all. Especially now. All their lives are torn apart by the war."
"Well, I'm Ross! Hopefully we can all stop this before it goes any further and Renais and Grado can be friends again."
"Nice to meet you Ross. I hope so, too."
Joshua and Marisa
"While we're stuck here on guard duty, why don't we make a little wager?"
"Wager? On what?"
"This coin. You see, we bet gold, I flip this, you call heads or tails and if it lands on what you called you win the wager. If not, then I do."
"Pointless? Hey now! This is my hobby that we're talking about. And it can't be anymore pointless than standing around here doing nothing! …What do you say?"
"I bet 30 gold on heads."
"All right then. …Nope! Sorry, its tails."
"Now why would you say something like that?"
"Both the sides of the coin are the same. I saw it while it was in the air."
"Sheesh, you have a sharp eye, don't you?"
If this chapter seems a little rushed, its because it is. I couldn't think of anything for them to do before they reached Grado but I couldn't make them just get to Lyon right after they decided to leave. The next chapter will be a lot better, if I don't discontinue this story. I have a couple others and the interest in this one doesn't seem too high. I don't know yet. Thanks to those who did read!