"I will not tell you again, Guardian! Give me the Heart of Candracar!" Phobos yelled as he walked in a circle around the tied up Will Vandom, much like a predator around its prey. Will glared at him.
"Never", she growled with pure hatred. Phobos lifted his hand up and a ball of energy shot out of it. Pain coursed through Will's body but, summoning all of her strength, she refrained from screaming.
"Then I will take it by force!" Phobos yelled. He put a hand up and used his magic to try and pull the Heart off of Will's neck. Will braced her mind to concentrate all of her energy and put up a fight, but it was not needed. The Heart automatically pressed itself against her and refused to capitulate to the magnetic pull of Phobos's spell. He let out a cry of anger and suddenly the palm of his cold hand met Will's cheek with great force. The sound of the slap rang out through the throne room. She staggered from the force of his hit but managed to keep her balance.
"You insolent little-" Phobos began, but Cedric, who had been standing in the corners the entire time, stepped into the scarce light.
"If I may, Prince Phobos," he hissed with his snakelike voice, "I believe the only thing you gain from this is stress. Give the Guardian time, and she will give up. Her friends cannot come to save her if she holds the Heart." Phobos took a deep breath and the furious expression relaxed a little, though he still looked as if he could kill Will right then and there.
"Very well, Cedric, I will take your advice. Guard!" he shouted, and a ferocious looking guard ran up and kneeled at Phobos's feet.
"Take this vermin to the dungeons and make sure she is secured. She is to receive very little food or water and treated as a criminal. Until she obeys me," Phobos said, an evil smile forming on his face as the guard shoved Will out of the doors to the throne room.
Irma, Taranee, Cornelia, Hay Lin, Yan Lin, Caleb, and Blunk all sat in the basement of The Silver Dragon. The Guardians looked like they were about to cry. Caleb paced back and forth to relieve his frustrations and to think about how to get Will back.
"I just…can't believe we let this happen to her," said Hay Lin, who was trembling as she covered her face in her hands.
"We have to get her back," Irma said.
"You all know that you can't go to Meridian without being in your Guardian forms," Yan Lin said.
"Why not? We've been there in human form before," said Cornelia, who was referring to the time they had gotten lost in the bookstore only to find themselves in a huge labyrinth of books in Meridian without Will to transform them.
"And you almost died when the Tracker was sent after you," Yan Lin replied.
"We'll think of a way. I'm sure of it," said Caleb as he stopped and turned to face the Guardians. Cornelia stood up and embraced him, not only for comfort, but because she loved how brave her beloved was.
"Blunk go. He go to find pretty redhead girl," said Blunk as he paused from stuffing his face with something from the dumpster out back. Irma held her nose.
"Yeah, he can go stink for Phobos and Will ought to be set free in no time", she said.
"Wouldn't he risk getting caught by Phobos? Then he would be trapped, too," Taranee said.
"Taranee's right. We can't risk someone else being captured. Even if it would smell better," Caleb said as he released Cornelia from the embrace but still kept a hand around her waist. Blunk muttered something that sounded like "Caleb never like Blunk's ideas".
"Hey don't worry little guy. We'll think of something," Caleb said.
Will let out a small cry as she was roughly shoved into a small cell. The guard merely laughed and shut the door. The ropes binding Will's hands must have been enchanted for as soon as the barred door slammed shut, they dissolved and she could freely move her hands. She would have used the Heart to transform but that wouldn't do her any good because she would need Taranee's power over fire to help her melt the bars of the cell so she could escape
Will was feeling desperate. She missed her friends. If only she could have fought back when lizard boy captured her, but he was too quick and, before she could transform into her Guardian form, he had her in his gigantic green fist.
She fell on her knees to the floor and cried, letting all of her pent up anger and sadness be released with the tears that ran down her pale cheek. She didn't know what to do. Giving the Heart to Phobos was definitely out of the question, even if it meant her possible freedom, but she didn't know if she could stand being in Meridian much longer.
As she sobbed, she heard a door open and slam shut somewhere down the corridor. Then, heavy footsteps started walking down and they came closer and closer until Vathek came into view in front of her and stopped at the barred door. Will pulled herself together and stood up, rushing to the bars. She knew that Vathek was truly on her side in the war with Phobos. He gave a sad smile but his expression quickly became more serious.
"Phobos plans to keep you here and nearly starve you," he said, "Luckily, I have been assigned to guard you. I can keep you updated on everything going on in the castle. Here, your meal, sorry it is so small, Phobos' orders." Will suddenly noticed the small tray in Vathek's large blue hands. It contained a half loaf of bread and a small bowl of cold soup. She stepped back as Vathek opened the bars to set the tray down on the floor. Then he exited the cell and re-locked the barred door.
"Thank you," Will said. Vathek nodded and was gone. Will picked up the tray and ate the bread. It was not horrible, but it wasn't very good either. Will still managed to eat some of it, knowing that this would probably be her only meal today. She made a silent vow to make the meal last throughout the day.