Memories Of A Time Not Yet Happened
Disclaimer I do not own Tin Man... On anything other then Blue ray.
Jen thanks for the corrections I had already went back to fix them about the time you were telling me though. Don't know how I let that one slip through.
Wyatt Cain woke slowly his thoughts felt muted, like from far away, he felt like he should wake up but he didn't want to open his eyes, he thought he should be remembering something but what he wasn't sure. Noises came to him, he could hear voices, and he could hear something that sounded like a blacksmith at work, and something seemed to be missing...
What was the last thing he remembered?
Blue eyes. Worried blue eyes. DG's worried blue eyes. No that wasn't the last thing, they had been caught, but DG got away... Ah, the Resistance made a play to capture Zero, it had almost worked but DG had found them and was helping them get out of the chains when Zero broke free and aimed his gun at DG, he had stepped forward trying to get his attention or save DG he wasn't sure which and then Zero shot him. He pried his eyelids open and peered at his chest, he didn't feel shot, and... he really didn't feel like he had been shot.
So he couldn't have been shot. He looked around the dark tent he seemed to be in, it was night he could tell from the forest sounds and the lack of light, it was also clear that there, where ever it was, was busy. Night time or not.
Someone pushed the tent flap open, he let his head roll to the side, it was Raw, Raw smiled before looking grave, face lit by the lantern he was carrying. "Cain was shot, and hit head on rock. Cain was okay, not really shot but rock was hard."
Cain nodded, not clear on what Raw meant about not really being shot, but he could believe he'd hit his head. And now that he thought about it, he had hit his head twice today, Zero conked him and then he hit it falling. Raw seemed to understand that because he held out his hand, Cain took whatever it was, and found Jeb's old toy, the little horse he had made, he ran his finger over it and found a rough spot, he looked closer and saw it was a bullet, it had stopped the bullet. He let his hand drop a little laugh on his lips, that was funny, Zero's trying to shoot him and he hits the two square inches that wouldn't kill him or even wound him.
Raw nodded, "Cain lucky."
Cain nodded, "I guess I am." He looked about the tent, he had pegged DG for a worrier, and so either something big was going on outside or something was wrong with her, "Where's DG?"
Raw looked sad, "Cain got shot and fell, DG upset and scared you were dead, hit Zero, he fell, and then son grabbed her stopping her from going to you. Then she saw Azkadellia's Mobats, she ordered everyone to run, even Father, she gave him a mission, he's already gone to do it. Then she ran leading Mobats away. Raw and Glitch with help from Son carried you here."
He surged up, "You let her go alone?"
Raw looked at him calmly, "DG sure she would be okay, she said to Glitch to meet her at the river's edge near Azkadellia's tower, Glitch leave tomorrow, he wanted to give you a chance to wake up."
Cain then caught something he shouldn't have missed, "What do you mean son?"
Raw shrugged, "Cain need to see to believe." Then Raw offered him a hand up, Cain let Raw help him to his feet, the shift making him aware of a headache, very minor considering. He stood, looking down he was still in his disguise for the most part, his wig long gone, and he found his hat and coat at the foot of the bed, Raw explained DG left her bag at his feet when she took off running.
Cain pulled both of them on fighting back his insane worry for DG, only it wasn't insane because Azkadellia had her. He gritted is teeth, the kid was annoying in front of him and out of sight she bothered him even worse, he had known her all of three days and she wouldn't leave him alone.
He followed Raw from the tent, he was in the middle of a huge encampment, at least a hundred men and women, Raw lead him to the well lit tent, he open the tent flap and found himself facing seven men Glitch, the Mystic Man and a woman. Then his eyes went back to the blond, that was his hair if he didn't cut it, and those were Adora's eyes, "Jeb."
Raw watched from the shadows as Cain talked to his son, he knew the concern the man felt for DG was a shadow of what she felt for the man, he had known, felt and even tasted the care she felt for the man, it was rare emotions were so strong a Viewer could feel them without contact, but her's were... Even Cain's were, but that was the man, the intensity, that was the most basic part of the man. If he did anything it was with his whole heart.
Cain's son was the same, it might have been eerie how alike they were but for what he'd seen of their lives, both survived and did so by turning their feelings inward, a mockery of the iron suits they had worn.
DG had her own way, a bright smile no matter what she was really feeling, except for the moment Cain was shot, he had almost fallen to his knees under the force of her anguish, but she used it, shaped it to her will, and then almost like the bolt of lighting she had shot, it was gone. Forming a plan, determination filling her faster then her sorrow.
He had been glad when he'd felt pain from the man on the ground, because he had felt that the Tin Man being gone would have broken DG in a way she couldn't fix.
Raw didn't understand how DG knew them so well, he didn't understand the simple faith she felt when she looked at them, he hadn't from the moment she freed him, but he did know he didn't want to disappoint.
DG jerked feeling the electric current from the prod run through Lylo's body, she bit down on her lip drawing blood, knowing no pleading was going to do her any good here. Lylo had showed the scene from the Northern palace, and since then like before the Witch had been after that whisper, but all he had gotten was the Emerald floating, and Cain. A lot of Cain, shot in the woods, hugging her before the tower raid last time, a brief flash of Cain shot and killed last time, that one had been brief enough she knew no one but her had understood it, and his face, after he had cleaned up and was agreeing to take them to the city, after she explained to everyone she had done this before, and on.
The witch pulled back stopping her yelling, Azkadellia stomped around Lylo and then leaned down in her face, "What was that little whisper Deeg?"
Hearing the witch say her name like Az used to hurt, she leaned away not looking up, "I don't remember."
"Now DG don't lie what would mother think?"
DG leaned further away, she had images of Az stealing the Mystic man's life, "I'm not lying I don't know what mother said!"
Lylo spoke up, "DG not lying, but..."
DG felt her eyes widen and started chanting Cain in her head, flashes of Cain ran across the screen, Az pulled away a laugh on her lips. "You're masking. You little brat."
"But," the Witch's voice turned deadly soft, "If you're using him you must care for him, what would you do if we caught him and bring him in? You lie he... I don't know, what do you think Zero?"
Zero's eyes almost seemed to glow with the thought, "I don't know Sorceress you seem to favor lighter methods, but Cain's the sort where you wouldn't get anything out of him without a some blood."
Az looked at her eyes showing the evil of the witch, but face sad she ran her hand over her shoulder, "DG you could just tell me. I don't like making a mess..."
DG sneered, "Zero shot him I'm pretty sure he's dead."
Lylo let go of her hand and hummed, and then the picture on the screen-tank thing changed to a bunch of tents, and then it zoomed in on one and they were inside, Cain was standing up while putting his hat on his head. Lylo let it stop there and DG tried to keep the relief she felt off her face, Cain was alive and look fine. She looked to Az, Az was looking at her, eyes shrewd, Zero swore.
Without looking away, Az took on the baby voice she had used to to tease him, "aww is someone just a little upset?"
Zero looked at Az and gritted his teeth, "I shot him. He should have died, it was a heart shot."
Az smirked, "Yes well as of late there are a lot of people who should be dead running around."
DG grinned, "Now who's just a little annoyed?"
Az slapped her, DG felt her eyes slid closed, hiding her tears, that stung. She felt Lylo's hand on hers and she focused on the pain trying to mask with that instead of Cain. It worked Lylo whimpered, and her heart softened for a split second, that was all Lylo needed. "I can feel magic... It's there.."
Anything but that, DG felt her mind race, Az couldn't know, wasn't allowed to know, no knowing. Magic. Mother. Raw. Something. Anything!
Lylo whined, and DG thought faster, anything but that. Then something thudded into her chest, she yelped feeling the shocks, shaking she met Az's eyes. Az waved and the guy jolted her with the electric prod again, distantly she could hear Lylo screaming but she was more concerned with breathing, it seemed very hard to do some how. Then the whisper of "Gray Gale."
She slumped, torn between crying from pain and frustration, she hadn't kept it from Lylo.
"Gray Gale? What does it mean Lylo?"
Lylo was silent so the creepy helper guy jolted him, the shock travel through to her and she stifled a cry, but a tear escaped down her cheek. Lylo panted, "I can't find more. She doesn't know."
"Look harder Lylo."
Lylo whined, "Can't find more."
"Focus Lylo!" Az's voice climbed to a shout.
Lylo got jolted again, and DG let another tear escape, "Can't! Somethings protecting her memories!"
DG spoke up, "I told you mother cloaked my memories! That was what I found out from the Mystic Man!"
Silence filled the room, then Lylo whimpered, Az considered her, Zero stood off to the side watching Az, the creep stood eyes begging to hurt her more. "Lylo try again."
Lylo whimpered, and then sagged, flopping over the side of the chair. DG looked away, till Az grabbed her chin, DG saw a flash of light and Az pulled away shaking her hand. Az then walked around till she could stare her in the face, "Deeg, I will find your friends and you will tell me about the Gray Gale."
DG decided to try a little acting, "Azkadellia I can't tell you what I don't know!"
Az looked at her the witch coming forward, staring into her with all the years she had, "I think not little girl. I think you can."
Az waved her hand and Zero came forward, "Drop her in a cell we have some hunting to do."
Zero snapped his fingers and in came two grunts, they unlocked her and grabbed her, DG was alarmed to find she couldn't get her feet under her enough to walk under her own power, so rather then forcefully escorting her, they were more like carrying her. Finally after way too many stairs they tossed her in her cell, she sat on the floor too tired to worry about what had been there before, she looked at the cells nearest her and was glad to see they were all empty, no secret questionings here.
She took stock, well on the good side Cain was fine, and with Jeb, Glitch and Raw were with them too, her dad was getting the compass thing, the Mystic Man was likely with Raw and the Resistance as well. Down side, Az had tortured her, and she had given away the Gray Gale. Oh and Zero was still alive. That was very bad. And she had probably killed Lylo again. Oh and it sounded like Az was not only after the Emerald she now was after her friends to use them to make her tell her about the Emerald, and the worst part was she knew if Az got them here it would work, she didn't have the strength for this, not like her mother or Glitch or even Cain. Maybe she had been safe on the other side but she hadn't been prepared for this, she didn't sacrifice others, she used herself.
She sighed, and then she heard a squeak, she looked outside her cell, it was the rat from last time...
You know on the other side they would have locked her up for wondering if maybe that rat wasn't a normal rat, but after Toto she had to wonder, she wasn't even on the same cell block as last time and here was that rat. Besides she knew Jeb had, had spies in here, hell she didn't have half a clue about the sort of people Jeb had at his disposal. He'd been commander of the army not her, she was just the little hero and princess, she never knew anything.
So was wondering if the rat was a shapeshifter that far out? She didn't think so.
She took a finger full of mush and threw it, like last time the rat went straight for it, she threw another, and again the rat rushed forward. DG took a moment to say a silent thank you to her robo-parents, thanking them for letting her play baseball where she had become a well known and feared pitcher. Not that she couldn't hit a home run, she just rather'd be throwing. She got the rat possibly rat-person to hop on the wheel, it spun and the door to the cell next to her went up, she sighed looking at the hall of cells, this could take some time. She looked at the possible combinations and sighed, she hadn't slept in more then a day, she had run at least two miles and walked another eight or so, then been forcefully questioned, she was pooped. "Sorry rat-man but I need to sleep before I escape, now that I think this through."
The rat stood up like it was asking for more food, and she felt a little silly for talking to it, but she stood by that it didn't seem like a normal animal. She climbed on the ledge and curled up for warmth, careful of the bruises on her arms she fell asleep.
Alcon Ratho wondered how the girl had known what he was, he was pretty sure he could name the number of people who knew, and they numbered at about ten, Jeb Cain, Aleny, his parents and his teacher, and a couple of other spies, Frank, his contact being one of them.
But this little girl knew what he was, he was wondering if maybe just maybe he should break her out, if she had been told about him, she had to be important, Jeb had told him he wasn't to break anyone out because that risked Az taking a closer look at her forces, but this little snip of a girl had clearly already been questioned, and the fact she was still alive or even on this level said she was important.
And he was back to the 'she's important' but can I risk it? Is that what Jeb would want him to do? Is that what was best for the resistance?
He sat on his haunches grooming himself while he thought it over, it wasn't like the girl was in a hurry she said herself she needed rest.
Something woke her and she jerked hitting her head on the metal wall, "Ouch." she sat up carefully this time, she looked out of her cell, only it wasn't really a cell without a door. She grinned, and then remembered Rat-man, she frowned down at the golden brown dog standing outside. "You didn't have to chase my friend off you know." She left her cell feeling the stiffness in her legs from all the walking she had done and then sleeping the way she had. She stretched, shaking herself she realized Kalm was in here, wondered if she would try to rescue him she decided not to, as much as he shouldn't be a held a prisoner, she didn't have some place safe for him to go, at least in the cells he would be out of the fighting.
Toto took off seeing she was now watching, she followed him a smile on her face, running as quietly as she could with sore legs, she stuck to the shadows even though she knew Toto had his way out.
Cain sighed looking down at the army Azkadellia had at the base of her tower, Glitch was rattling on about dancing, totally random but he took as a sign the Glitch didn't have any more idea's then he did. He bit back a sigh, what the hell was the princess thinking by letting herself get caught? To be fair Jeb had filled him in on the fact she had lead the Mobats away, after lighting bolting Zero but still. Sister or not Azkadellia's tower was not a good place to be.
Then he noticed the Long-coat's nearest the door scrambling, he tapped Glitch, "What do you make of that?"
Glitch sighed and then he looked and his face brightened, "Deeg did say we'd escaped before right?"
He frowned looking back out, "Yeah..."
Raw pointed passed him, "There she is."
He looked, scanning the hills behind the complex, then he saw her hair disappear behind a hill heading towards the forest. He stood, she was out no rescue needed, he ignored the fact something like a knot had disappeared from his chest. "Lets go."
DG ran the last break between the tower and the woods as fast as she could, Toto had an unfair advantage, four legs. Once in a very familiar clearing, she smiled bending over to catch her breath, "Thanks... Toto.."
He transformed back, "How did you know it was me?"
She smiled straightening and then remembered at the moment he was a spy for Azkadellia, and she had her own doubts about his loyalty, "I... I just know."
He nodded, "Do you know where your going next?"
She walked up and gave him a hug, "I'm glad you're okay." Hearing Glitch trip aways away she stopped Toto from turning around, and patted his jacket pocket, it jiggled faintly, she smiled, "I'd be careful if I were you Cain might shoot you before I can make your case."
Eyes wide he stared, half afraid and half surprised.
She stepped back, "It's okay Toto, I know enough."
She turned seeing Cain, Glitch and Raw come out from some trees away up the hill.
Something in her chest relaxed seeing Cain step out eyes firmly on Toto suspicion written on his face, she raced up the hill aches forgotten for a moment, she hugged him, he staggered back, arms catching her. She closed her eyes to hide the tears, she inhaled almost tasting the gunpowder, metallic smoky smell that was Cain. She pulled away and smiled up at him knowing her eyes were over bright, "I so glad you're okay."
She then turned to Glitch, and hugged him then Raw, Glitch was smiling face bright with relief and Raw's was similar, but all the mens face's seemed to darken and she wondered what was wrong. Till Raw reached to her cheek, she remembered the stinging slap Az had given her, she let her own hand reach up to her cheek, "Did it bruise?"
Raw nodded and moved her hand, healing it, even as Raw healed it and her other aches he said what she'd rather he didn't. "Azkadellia."
She nodded and then looked to Cain, "Oh I don't know if Jeb told you I killed Zero, but I didn't, Az brought him back, mostly to taunt me I think but I don't know."
Cain clenched his jaw and gave a short nod, she nodded back, "But any way if it's any consolation he was swearing about how unfair it is you have nine lives too."
Glitch laughed and Raw smiled, then their looks died away to something more serious, "Who is he?"
She turned and waved Toto to join them faster, "He's my old tudor, I call him Toto, but for some odd reason I don't know what his real name is..."
Toto frowned at her, and sighed his whole body slumping, "My real name is Moroni Lacock."
She tried to keep a straight face, really she did, but first Glitch snorted, and Raw made a little purring sound and Cain choked, so she let go and laughed. Toto just glared, "See why I wanted to be called Tudor?"
She nodded, still giggling, she calmed herself, "Can I just call you Toto? It's easier."
He nodded resignedly.
Having broke the ice the others pretty much ignored him, Glitch spoke up, "So Doll you sent your Father off to get something, where are we meeting him?"
She smiled, "oops."
All of the men sighed, she grinned, "But I know where he was going so it's all good."
She set off to the south, Cain and Glitch quickly out paced her and she dropped back to Toto, hissing from the side of her mouth she said, "Drop one, we need her to think we're going south."
Toto nodded from next to her, and she heard a little clink, she smiled and skipped up to Cain, "How's Jeb?"
He looked at her seeming a touch startled, "Jeb is fine."
She waited for more and he stayed silent, she held back a sigh, he never was really good with just talking. Then he surprised her, "I own you an apology, you tried to tell me about him and I was... rude."
She smiled, surprised by her rush of happiness, though why she was surprised by her reaction to this man she didn't know, "I knew you'd come around, last time it was Raw. But remembering him I couldn't stay silent."
Cain looked at her and nodded, "I admit I'm impressed he has got so far. Out shone me by far."
She grinned, that could be argued, Commander of the Army and Commander of Castle Guard. "I don't know..."
He stopped abruptly and grabbed her arm turning her towards him, a little smirk tugging at his lips, "You had better not be telling you got me named head of the army or something."
She laughed, "No. No I wouldn't dare."
His smirk stayed but he started walking again letting her arm go, "No I have a feeling you have something worse in mind."
She mock pouted, "Are you implying something?"
He out and out grinned, "No Princess I think I was saying something."
Her pout became real, then she laughed unable to deny it, she grinned, happy he was feeling so playful, he hadn't ever teased her to the point of flirting before. She walked south for half an hour before turning to west, she walked quietly, glancing up looking for her Dad's balloon, but not seeing it she headed for the lake he had named as the one closest to his home.
Finally she realized something, "Hey what happened to the Munchkin's?"
Cain snorted and Glitch laughed, Raw sighed, "Back to normal size now."
Seeing the amusement on the other two's faces she had to ask, "You weren't holding them by any chance were you?"
Raw flushed and looked at his feet, "No they were on Raw's shoulder."
She giggled and then reached out, touching Raw's arm, "Thanks for taking care of them for me."
Raw looked up at her and then smiled bashfully, then Toto spoke up, "Do I dare ask DG?"
She laughed and groaned, "I first met some Munchkin's and two.. well one of them annoyed me enough I shrunk him, and his friend."
Toto opened his mouth and she cut him off before he started, "I swear Toto if you say concentrate or let the light flow I'll hit you... Or better yet lock you in dog form where you can't talk."
Everyone else stopped walking and stared at her or Toto, it took her a moment but she realized they hadn't seen Toto do that this time line. "oops."
Cain raised an eyebrow, and she flushed feeling stupid, "I forgot you hadn't seen him. He's a shapeshifter."
Glitch gave Toto a funny look, "I should know you shouldn't I?"
Toto gave him a look, "Actually, Ambrose, you never liked me or Magic, much at least. Your sense of humor has gotten much better."
Glitch frowned and then smiled, "I'll have to take your word for it."
Toto nodded, clearly still surprised by the difference, she smiled amused, when she spotted the balloon.
She took off running, waving up at him trying to catch his attention, of course just like any time you wave at someone they don't see you. She finally stopped legs feeling like mush, she panted for breath and glared up at the stupid balloon, Cain and Glitch reached her, Cain of course scolded her. "DG you can't just take off running, there is wild animals and Longcoats just running head long in is going to get you killed!"
She looked over at him, amazed he had the breath to get that out, Raw and Toto then raced up to them, she pouted down at Toto, sighing she straightened. Thinking hard she tried to figure out how to catch her dad, she knew Az had been able to teleport with in line of sight and she could see the balloon, she had just never gotten it to work.
Half her mind on the balloon she didn't see Cain's reaction to her sentence, "Don't freak out if this works..."
Closing her eyes she snapped her fingers, the ground felt a lot more unstable underneath her, her eyes flew open and she was greeted by her Father's shocked face, she grinned, "Hi Dad."
She nodded sagely, "Magic of course."
He shook his head, "Of course."
She looked down and back, able to see Cain, Glitch, Raw and even Toto racing after the Balloon, "Can you set this down? I need to send them back to camp... And tell them the next part of the plan."
She was so busy looking down she only caught her Father's frown from the corner of her eye, but he set them down and quickly Cain and the others caught up, Toto reaching them first, he turned back to shake her, "Deeg you can't just do that! There are a lot of things that can go wrong with teleporting!"
She grinned sheepishly, "Well it worked."
Toto sighed, and stepped aside in time for the others to see her, Cain's worried face relaxed a touch and she smiled at him, Glitch fell to his knees panting, "Doll stop doing that. You'll turn me in to a runner and not a thinker."
She laughed, Raw smiled and hugged her, she frowned wondering why he was doing that, and then she realized why; She was scared, going with her father to get the Emerald last time hadn't gone well, sure Cain and the others had been on their way, but it had been scary. She felt her smile weaken, and the faintest hint of tremble worked it's way through her body, but she fought it back, hugging Raw a little tighter she said, "Thanks I needed that."
Raw just nodded as he stepped away. Smiling brightly at the others, she said, "Cain, Glitch, Raw. I need you to go back and find Jeb and the Resistance, we will need to attack the tower in two days time. I will need to get to the top and you guys need to get to the lab where Glitch's brain is, it's being used in the Sunseeder. I don't know how you turned it off, but that's your job that day."
Cain frowned, "But that leaves you alone."
She nodded, "Yep but anyone else who goes up with me to the top would very quickly find themselves taking the express way down."
Everyone but her father gave her a puzzled look, her father was looking rather pale at the thought, she elaborated, "She'd throw them off."
Everyone nodded, looking extremely pale.
Then Glitch spoke, "What does it do? It sounds familiar."
She shrugged, "Don't know what it does, I know it needs a lot of power and you invented it, but I'm sure the Witch twisted it, you meant it for good and she's using it for evil."
Glitch nodded slowly looking relieved, she smiled sadly remembering what he'd given up trying to hide it from Az. Cain touched her shoulder, "Where are you going?"
She smiled trying to hid the little roll her stomach gave at the thought, "I'm going to get the Emerald, because as much as I would rather leave it in hiding I don't think I can save Az without it, or if I do without it the witch would still kill the two of us."
Blue eyes drilled into her, she tried to hold steady, but he knew what she was doing, just like he had before they went into the tower, he touched her cheek, "What made you come back Princess? Because if things went so well you wouldn't be here."
She flinched seeing his dead eye and his missing one in a flash over his face, then the thought of seeing him lying there had her flinching again and she looked away, swallowing. "It won't happen again, enough has changed."
Cain pulled his hand away accepting it, "You go get that jewel of yours then, I'll help Jeb get everything all set up."
She nodded smiling at him, then she remembered Toto's pocket's contents, "Toto come here for a second." He came over and she lead him away, far enough if they spoke quietly no one would hear, "Toto I need you to give me the disks, if you were found with those in camp without me to defend you, I'm afraid you would be victim of 'shoot first ask later'."
He nodded and reached into his pockets passing her the half a dozen chips, she frowned, "How do you use them?"
Toto shrugged, "Give a tiny jolt of magic, the amount you give is how long it records, then have it record and do what you want with it."
She nodded a half formed plan drifting in her mind, "Thanks Toto, see you later."
He nodded and they rejoined the group, she hopped in the basket with her dad who was oddly silent and the others headed back into the woods. The balloon took off and she watched the trees as long as she could, when she turned to her Father he was watching her, cautiously at that. DG sighed, "I can explain without sounding too crazy when you remember we are standing... floating in OZ."
He nodded slowly and she started, after sitting on the floor of the basket, "Four days ago now, I woke from a dream like I was suppose to, only the dream wasn't mother calling to me or warning me, this was here. I dreamed of the Longcoats, Az, the Witch in Az, Mother, and You, Cain, Glitch, Raw, Toto, the Mystic Man, Airofday."
She smiled at her Father, "She lead us to that bar, but it was a trap, you kidnapped me while Cain and the others got grabbed by Zero, that was why we were dressed up, I hoped to avoid that. But the point is, I saw everything, everyone. And all in all it went well till clean up, a month from now we were mostly all dead, I think you and mother might have made it, but I died, Az died, Glitch died, Cain did too. Then I woke in bed. I thought it a dream till the day went a lot like it had in my dream but for the changes I made, like I woke sooner and didn't speed, so I didn't get a ticket, and so on."
Her dad nodded slowly seeming to understand even if he was shocked, he spoke up, "Does this mean you don't need the compass?"
She shook her head, "I'll need it, I just am not eager to get the stupid jewel, last time Az followed us and took it from me after wards."
He nodded slowly seeming afraid to ask, but he reached into his pocket and handed it to her any way, she took it, scowled down at it, she wanted to put it off but knew she needed it and the longer she dawdled the better the chances of Az following them. She sighed and closed her eyes wrapping both hands around the bottom, focusing on the emerald.
She felt it spin wildly before settle on further west, north west. Her father added more heat, and they set off after the Emerald.
Cain walked away from DG feeling worried, he knew it was silly, in theory she would be okay, off to get the Emerald from it's secret hiding place. But he'd seen the faint tremble as she pulled away from Raw, the shadow in her eyes, he heard the quiver at the mention of the express way off the tower. And worse saw her clenched hands and the tight smile at the mention of the emerald, last time whatever it had been vision, alternate universe, dream, she was scared. Plus everything added up to something very bad last time had happened at both places, or with both things, the Emerald and the tower.
Not to add in the very fact she had come back said it hadn't gone well.
He ignored the little voice saying if he went with her it would be okay, he knew it wasn't so, he'd let his guard down and her Father grabbed her, she'd seen Zero and he hadn't been paying attention so left her alone, never mind the whole group had done that, he should have seen Zero. Then she some how gets a head of them corners his son in to saying yes to what she says, and then rescues all of their asses, only for him to once again let his guard down and get shot leaving her alone, again. Only this time she didn't get away, Azkadellia caught her, and he'd seen the bruise on her cheek and he knew if she were showing more skin there would have been at the very least more of the same, if not worse.
He ignored the clench of his jaw, she had proven her worth, again and again.
Jeb Cain couldn't deny the last two days had been crazy, but that was a whole new level of weird, not only had a girl not five annuals older than him skipped up to him and called him by name when he had never seen nor heard of her. And then she told him what he already knew, promising he wouldn't regret it, and oddly enough he had believed her, he just hadn't been able to believe how much he didn't regret it, he had his father back, maybe not the most expected of things but something out of his most secret dreams, and then the little girl had lighting bolted Zero. And then without asking for anything else she had saved him and his people along with his father and her other friends from Azkadellia's mobats, he'd seen them carry entire teams off before but they all went after the girl, leaving him to wonder what made her so important. Then the Mystic Man talking the most sense he had in a decade, said she was the dead princess.
Which was weird enough, the Mystic man sounds like he used to the few time he met him when his dad worked for him, but then he says that, but he'd seen her use magic in a way he'd never seen before so he had to allow the chance. Then her friends and the man who claimed to to be the old consort all say the same thing. The old consort disappears, something about on a mission for the princess, and he's left with Glitch, his unconscious father, and the Mystic man, oh and a viewer who wouldn't stop smiling. He'd never seen one who smiled like that before, they were too scared, too hurt, too angry.
His dad woke up and said yes she's the princess and Azkadellia shouldn't be allowed to keep her hands on her too long and disappears, then they come back with a man who he knew to be in Azkadellia's prison for more then twelve years, oh and the princess still wasn't with them to let him get some answers.
"You're telling me, Princess DG just waltzed in, didn't give anything much away to Azkadellia's viewers, got out and rescued Lacock here, and then skipped out?"
The shapeshifter he was talking about sighed, "No what I'm saying is I got out when I found out about DG, I escaped and saved her."
Jeb felt his eyes narrow, if, and it was if the shapeshifter had been able to get out why hadn't he sooner? And besides he knew he had to be lying, Ratho had told him some times it was a tight squeeze for him, and a dog was bigger then a rat by a lot. He scowled, "Pull the other one I know for a fact nothing bigger then a rat can get out of those cells, someone had to let you out."
The man sighed, "Okay honestly Azkadellia wanted me to spy on DG and get her the emerald."
Jeb noted his Dad suddenly looked a lot more tense and his hand was hovering over the gun he'd managed to replace some where. His eyes hard, Jeb knew he was as ready as his dad to strike, but he'd also caught the phasing. "Azkadellia isn't so stupid to just let you out and not have some way of watching to make sure."
The man smiled, "That I am just as sure of, but with her viewers and mobats, there's not much we can do about any of them, I however with help from DG set a false trail, the mobats were following us ready to take F.V.s I dropped back. I dropped one under orders from DG before we turned to the west, Azkadellia thinks we go south and then we went west, throwing her off enough to buy us enough time she'd have to search the whole area, before finding our trail."
Jeb eyed the man, he saw some fear, but with someone who'd spent a decade in her prison you were often lucky if they made sense when they talked. He saw some nervousness but they were all clearly ready to jump on him, so he was sure the man, well a touch of a coward was honest. Even if they'd had to push him for the truth, he understood why he hadn't started out that way. "Fine Lacock, find some way to help, I know one of the women has a son who shows signs of being a shifter."
DG found herself chewing her lip while they came into land just before dark, it hadn't taken as long as before, they'd been closer. It was getting dark, and she found her nerves had her jittering, she wasn't scared about the Emerald she was scared Az had some how caught up to them and was going to lock her back in the coffin, sure she knew how to get out but she still remembered the fear of being underground, it wasn't the tight spaces that had had her freaking out, it was the under ground, limited amount of air that had gotten her screaming to began with. But when she realized she had been screaming long enough she should have passed out from lack of air she remembered the green marble comment, and thought maybe she was just in the sarcophagus. The relief she had felt when she was right had made her feel high, but she'd still scrambled for the door.
Breath DG you know you can get out, and it's doubtful Az would change her mind about where to put you. Breath.
"What's a matter Deeg?"
She looked over at her Dad, she knew he loved her, and her mother, and even mostly sorta loved Az, it's just she knew he probably was more unstable then Cain. Cain against all odds had focused on one or two things, and survived his confinement with flying colors. But her father had been forced to adopt another personality, another life style, Cain had been forced to see what happened, her Father had been forced to imagine. She was pretty sure it had half driven him mad.
It didn't say good things about slippers, her mother took twelve years of time with no one but wicked Az visiting her well, Cain survived, Glitch came out almost better for it, and her dad, a slipper, half crazy. She probably was being a bit harsh but she remembered the mood swings he was prone to outside her mother's company. "I just I don't want to walk past the green sarcophagus inside."
She gave him a look like he was stupid even though she knew there was no way for him to know, "Last time once the witch got the Emerald, she locked me in it."
She didn't look at him afraid to see his face, "I was fine, scared to death, but fine. I would have had to be in there for days before I would have been trouble but I was scared. And now I find I have something of an phobia."
Silence only broken by the sounds of the wind and balloon sinking rung in her ears, and then he spoke, "Where was I? Surely I didn't just stand by..."
She laughed not sounding amused at all, "She shrunk you and sent you back to the tower, she wanted to brag in front of you and mother. As much as the witch twisted her, Az is still very much there, it makes it that much harder later."
"Az is sorry later but she at the same time remembers why what she did made sense, though she knows it's wrong." That said she took a deep breath and hopped out of the balloon, and started walking towards the tomb. She quickly reached the hidden door, lifting her hand she opened the door and slipped in, her father following her. He took the time to repeat his comment about it's beauty, but she couldn't bring herself to really pay attention, she walked to the far door her hand half ready to open it, but fear of what she'd find this time froze her. What had she changed had she changed too much or would Dorthy be mad at her...
She took a deep breath, no matter what she wasn't sorry. Her hand moved and the door swung open recognizing her, she stepped though.
She found herself on the farm, the old Dorthy watching her, playing with the Emerald, judging from the look she was getting Dorthy knew what she'd done and maybe what had happened. She took a deep breath, "I'm not sorry."
Dorthy smiled, "I know, my precious OZ is broken and needs help, you're the one to do it. But you have to take the crown, no letting your mother sit there, take it Deeg."
Dorthy's smile became warmer, "I know just a farm girl from Kanas. Try, listen, do your best it'll all work out. But remember somethings haven't changed that much."
DG felt her eyes widen that sounded like a warning about Az being ready for them...
Dorthy nodded and handed her the Emerald.
She clasp it tightly in her hand and turned running from the room, outside she barely paused to grab her father's arm, "Come on Dad we've got to go."
Then as they exited the door she remembered that Az had only sent him to Mother... "Dad change of plans go back to the balloon buy me some time, Az won't hurt you... I think just send you to mom."
He paused and looked at her, taking her in the best he could in the dark, then she saw his head move, "Go Deeg, get to your friends. I'll buy you some time."
She nodded and then leaned forward to give him a quick hug, "Love you dad." Then she turned and fled running the other way from the balloon.
Cain found himself watching the sky while eating, he wasn't sure how far away the Emerald's hiding place was, but he hoped DG would be back soon, he was worried. So much had happened and... he sighed closing his eyes, crazy as it sounded he found he cared deeply about the girl, princess or not, someone from the future or not... Hell that added to it, she'd come back, why he still didn't know but that she knew what could happen and that she still came to OZ was amazing. That said...
Okay not enough said he wanted to know more about what happened, he wanted to know what was driving her, what made her chose to swing by and pick him up, pick Glitch up, save Raw when she clearly knew what would happen. Sure he could look at it as her manipulating them but they still could have walked away, he could have let her skip off her merry way.
He took another bite and chewed thoughtfully, he found himself wondering if maybe she was right and she had come back, because he never took to people like this, so maybe he sorta knew things from before, or at least remembered how his future self felt about her? Ah well, it didn't matter much, she was with her father and mostly literally out of Azkadellia's reach.
DG rested against the tree, she wasn't entirely sure she was going the right way, as a matter of fact she was pretty sure she was going the wrong way. But at the same time she couldn't stop and so far she hadn't found anyone to ask for directions, she let her head drop. She was so tired, running through the night had not been a good idea. And she hadn't had anything to eat.
She shoved off and started again.
Half an hour later she stumbled on to a road, blearily looking both ways she didn't see anyone, so she picked her best guess of the right way and started walking. Soon she crested a hill and found herself over looking a small town, she stopped, she needed directions but with the posters out she couldn't trust someone to not report her. Cain had after all told her truth, this was not a good place to trust blindly, she had lucked out the first time.
Then her tired eyes lit upon the blueish smoke rising on the far side of the town, she looked over the town again, the main road had guard houses on either end she could see the lazy Long-coats talking while watching the road, but aside from fences there was nothing to stop her from going around the outside and sneaking in... Aside from the almost no cover.
She closed her eyes and exhaled, the Longcoats were sure to have her poster but the rest of the town probably didn't know to look for her. She could slip around the edge of town and then walk in like she belonged. She looked down at her clothes, she at least blended in a hell of lot better then last time.
She started off by waking back into the woods, from there she circled around till she had a mostly straight shot to the house with blue smoke coming from the chimney. She was going to have to walk through some fields, but it was clear no people that she could see, not even kids. She knelt down and crawled along in the shadow of a fence bordering a field. Reaching the end of the fence she moved to a crouch, standing just enough to look around seeing no one, not even someone peering from the windows. Slipping forward she almost moved at a run the fear of being caught giving her the energy to run.
She reached the porch, she knocked on the back door quietly, though loud enough someone inside would hear but hopefully no one else. No sound came from inside, she knocked again longer this time.
Then footsteps came and she heard a women's voice start talking as the door opened, "Honestly Elfera can..."
Wide brown eyes took her torn and dirt covered clothes in, DG took a deep breath hoping she hadn't just turned herself in, "Um... I mean you no harm, I'm a traveler of the realms..."
She heard more footsteps from inside the house, she tried to remember the rest of the code, but it slipped from her mind, her exhaustion catching up to her. A man with blond hair equally brown eyes open the door a gun aimed at her, she chewed her lip... "I seek some place to rest... um... thats not right..."
DG her body start to sway, and felt frustrated, it had only been thirty-six-ish hours since she rested and only twenty or so since she'd eaten. "I mean I seek a warm meal and..."
The man slowly lowered his gun, and the woman stepped forward caution written on her face, DG felt her body wobble a little more, fighting the need to sit down she tried to go on, "And a cold... cup of grog. Her body gave out and the woman caught her, the man reached out and steadied both of them. DG lay against the woman fighting the blackness that edged her vision, "Thank you, I can't be seen..."
And she passed out.
She woke slowly her senses dulled, but the first thing she felt for was the Emerald, but it pressed against her breast from where she'd hidden it in her bra. From there she relaxed but tried to force herself awake, she needed to get to Cain and the others. Opening her eyes she realized she was hidden under a floor, judging by the cracks letting slivers of light through above her head. Slowly sitting up she listened for breathing or voices. After hearing nothing she looked up. Judging the floor above her head to be five feet high she stood, straightening till she was partly crouched, the low bed she'd been on behind her, she looked for a way up, finding the latter she leaned against it and listened some more. Soft voices finally reached her:
"The girl said she couldn't be seen now we know why."
"The real question is why is the Sorceress herself chasing her?"
DG felt her heart sink, she was right Az had caught up to her the moment she stopped moving, at least she wasn't caught yet. Going back to the bed she sat down, only to have her stomach growl, sighing she looked for a table or something down there, feeling around she found a table with a cup of water and a loaf of bread, holding the water in one hand she nibbled on the loaf of bread, eating slow to keep from scarfing it, she more then likely would only make herself sick.
Once it was gone she went back to the stairs, the couple hadn't made any other noise, or at least not enough to draw her attention away from the bread. Sliding up the stairs she pushed on the trapdoor already able to see nothing over it, cracking it she peered around the room she was under, it looked like a mix of a living room and a bedroom, there were chairs and fire place, but there was a mix of a couch and a bed, the woman from before was sitting on it knitting. Her black hair fell down her back, she would have been pretty but for the fact her face was a little too narrow, her chin a touch too pointed, but even for the worry lines about her mouth DG could see she was a kind person. Unlike the hard woman in the mountains, who might have been kind once till the Longcoats ruined her.
She hissed, "Hey."
The woman jumped and her eyes shot to hers, surprise wrote it's across her face before she set the knitting down and stepped over to her, kneeling she lifted the cleverly disguised door higher so she could come down too. DG stepped down the stairs and the woman followed her down shutting the door behind her.
They went to the bed and sat down, but the woman surprised her, rather then asking what she was doing that Az was chasing her she said. "It's almost nightfall we can get you out then, the Sorceress has already left town, I don't know where she was going but she seemed to have a plan..."
DG felt her heart leap to her throat, had Az found the Resistance's camp? She'd seen a glimpse in it when questioning her... It didn't matter, if she could get to the tower she could meet up with everyone.
"Which direction is the tower in?"
The woman's startled look amused her, she explained. "The day of the eclipse we attack, it's now or never."
She could almost taste the curiosity, "I heard it from Jeb himself."
"Very well... The tower is to the west, my husband will get you started, he'll likely have the other men get ready to take our Long-coats out."
DG nodded, that probably had been one of their mistakes, not being ready to rouse the out laying Resistance to capture Long-coats. "That will help a lot, and after capture any Long-coats stupid enough to come through."
"Sounds like a good plan."
DG remembered the toys laying on the floor upstairs, "Where are your children?"
After a moment of silence, "Working outside..."
DG felt her skin crawl, something was wrong... She closed her eyes, Az wanted to snatch victory from at the last moment did she? Very well she'd wait for the last possible moment too, she could run too. If her guess was right and the witch had threatened the children, or was holding them hostage. She knew it wasn't the woman's fault her children were being held hostage, the biggest question was what to do. Her magic couldn't be depended on, and she really really didn't want the witch to have the Emerald. But at the same time she wasn't going to risk the children... She could try to use the Emerald... Maybe teleport to the camp?
But the question was when had Az gotten here? Before she passed out or not... it would make sense if they were at school she got here, passed out, then Az rode on in and took over the school announcing who had me hidden would need to turn me over or the children would suffer, but said to bring me at night...
She suppressed a groan, Az this time might kill her, just flat out kill her. How am I going to make it out of this one?
A couple of hours later the woman had fed her some stew and some more water and DG had done her best to think her way out of this, but no real plan had come to mind she didn't know enough, so she was going to wing it, just like she had at the top of the tower. The husband came down to get her, a candle in hand, DG went with him quietly, no sense in asking questions what happened would happen.
He lead her out of the house out past their garden around the back of the houses, then he stopped. "Walk that way, follow the road it'll take you to the tower."
DG nodded and found herself wondering if she was being paranoid, he walked away and when she couldn't see his light any more and it was just her and moonlight she started walking. She had just reached the end of the village when she felt like she walked through a spider web and she was surrounded by light. And Longcoats.
She smiled seeing Zero, and Az, she wasn't paranoid after all, now what to do?
"Hand over the Emerald Deeg."
She smiled, "What makes you think I have it?"
The Longcoats moved in closer, the torches making it so she was well lit.
"Don't play me for a fool little sister, Daddy helped you get there, and tried to help by distracting me. Now share your shinny new toy with your big sister."
Az held out her hand and tried to call it, but she was ready, clapping a hand over her chest it never even left her shirt. Az's face resembled the Witch's more in every moment pure greed lit her eyes and in the torch light her cheeks were oddly deep and her eyes seemed to burn.
"Az I can't let you have the Emerald. I won't let you destroy OZ any more..." The Emerald warmed her hand, almost seeming to beat in time with her racing heart, she was so afraid. She didn't want Az to have to live with having killed her again but... she couldn't let her have the Emerald. For a moment she wished with all her heart the Emerald wasn't there, and then in a flash of light, it wasn't.
DG felt a bubble of panic, where had she sent it? Then the only possible answer came to mind, she sent it to Cain. Calm again she met her sister's furious face, "I told you can not have it."
Az made a face, and then scowled, with a backhanding motion DG felt magic hit her body and she was knocked passed the Longcoats in to a tree, she didn't feel more then the impact before she was knocked unconscious.
Cain was watching his son issues orders for the attack tomorrow when a flash of light appeared in front of him, the light dimmed and he saw the small green stone hanging in front of him. His heart felt like it stopped, the Emerald...
He reached out to grabbed it, and the moment he touched it the last of the light disappeared, the silence in the tent was over whelming. Cain closed his eyes, for DG to have given him the Emerald... Azkadellia must have caught her.
"This is really really bad..." Glitch said.
Cain opened his eyes, "That is an understatement."
Mystic Man spoke up, "This changes the plans."
Jeb looked around, "Maybe I'm missing something but if we have the Emerald Azkadellia can't do anything."
Cain met Mystic man's gaze, Jeb was right, which meant Azkadellia wouldn't have killed DG... "Glitch get Raw we need to find out where they are."
Glitch nodded and left, and he decided Jeb was right he probably didn't know everything. "You're right you didn't know DG as Princess can use the emerald, and we need her to kill the Sorceress. She needs the Emerald for that to happen."
His son's lips formed an oh, and then he nodded, "Okay... we should move camp tonight, get ready for tomorrow."
He nodded, feeling older then he had any right too, he had listened to the over confidant princess, never mind the fact she had come back said she probably didn't what she was doing. Raw come in face grave, and he knew tonight was going to be a long night.
DG woke slowly, not only did her mouth taste like something had died in it, but her whole body felt like it had been tenderized by a couple of baseball bats. Then she remembered the tree. It made sense that she felt like she'd been hit by baseball bats, baseball bats were made of trees normally after all.
Then she remembered why she had met the tree, she had sent the Emerald to Cain.
She groaned, why had she thought that was a good idea? Now Az was gonna hunt the Resistance down, leaving them no time to think about getting her the Emerald so she could save Az. "So Stupid..."
She forced herself to sit up, and that was when she realized her eyes were open it just was so dark she couldn't see where she was, blinking slowly she was soon able to make out the lights on the other side of the door, the door was just solid. So that meant she wasn't in the normal prison, where was she?
She realized while hard the bed under her did have a blanket on it, and the room wasn't as hot as the normal dungeon... So was she in the small sickbay? She moved her legs and heard a rattle, the sound of a chain. She had to be in the sickbay.
With live guards judging by the footsteps in the hallway.
She sunk back down, she was too miserable to try to escape at the moment, she'd sleep a few more hours...
Four hours later the door slammed open and woke her, she was blinking in the sudden light when Zero's hateful voice spoke up, "I told you Sorceress she had woken."
Her sister spoke with a sneer, "Yes I suppose, though it is a surprise I only let the Viewer heal the broken bones."
DG mentally noted that, and decided right away that explained why she had felt like a baseball, but moved on. Sitting up she greeted them. "Az, Zero."
Azkadellia stood tall, the witch a shadow behind her eyes, "I came to give you one last chance to give me the Emerald, and spare your friends lives."
DG smirked, "Az let's not play games, if you had them in your hands they would be in here, and you know I gave them the Emerald."
Az's eyes narrowed, but the quirk of her lips implied she had guessed, "When Saw only could get pictures of Wyatt Cain I guessed. Of course it then leads me to believe you love the man."
DG saw no point in lying, "I do, I also know he doesn't feel the same."
That surprised her sister, almost letting Az take control, but the witch hovered waiting to see if she would need to step in. "Then why do you love him? Really loving someone who doesn't feel the same is just going to hurt you later."
DG shrugged, "He's known me all of four days and about a day of that we weren't together, besides he's mourning his wife, and I can only wait and hope he feels the same later."
Zero stared at her total taken aback by the way the conversation had gone and Az seemed confused and torn between being her big sister and the negative influence of the witch. Seeing her sister looking at her so clearly she couldn't help but go for broke, "Az.. We're sisters, no little nursery rhyme should matter. Az you don't want the OZ covered in darkness, how will everyone survive?"
Now the witch was staring at her out of Az's eyes, "Foolish little girl. We will have your friends any minute now and then what will you do? Hun?"
DG lifted her chin, "You can lie all you want Az; But if you don't the Emerald in a couple of hours the resistance has half won the fight, all they need is for me to bring you back to yourself."
Az slapped her again, and even though she was pretty sure it wasn't as hard as last time if felt like it hurt more. She slowly turned back to look at Zero and Az, and touched the hot spot on her cheek. She decided she had nothing more to say for the moment. Az stared at her hard for a moment before whirling and storming from the room, Zero followed with a one last evil smirk her way. The door shut and DG found herself glad at least this time the lights were on.
Cain looked over the embankment down towards the tower, Jeb beside him Glitch on the other side, Raw next to Glitch. He still held the Emerald, the Mystic man didn't think he should hold it, something about power speaking to the most humble of men, but he knew the Mystic man, he wasn't humble merely grounded, but he didn't want it and DG had sent it to him. Jeb had said something about getting word to his spies inside the tower to look for DG but he was still worried the witch might have dragged his name out and killed her. He just was trying not to think about it.
Jeb was directing his men, sending them out to encircle the tower, so far the plan was try to have the spies brake DG out while he, Glitch, Raw and possible two others broke in. Jeb would be leading his army, small though it was... though it seemed to be growing. As a distraction, and maybe be ready to become the royal army long enough for DG to take over and give them some order.
If she was alive.
He clenched his jaw, he kept coming back to that, she had to be, because other wise they were all going to die. Hell their chances at the moment weren't good, and that was with them holding the Emerald.
He touched the small stone resting in the pocket he kept Jeb's horse in..
Nope he wasn't going to think about what that might mean. Nope not all.
Jeb passed him the spy glass, "Security is as high as ever, I don't think even with a distraction I could get you in the front door."
He nodded, "I know a way in from DG when she last escaped, see those generators? She came out them if you stop the turbines we can get in."
Jeb nodded, "I'll get people on it right away."
He nodded back and his son crept off to give more orders. He turned back to his.. hell. Friends. "You guys ready to do this?"
Glitch smiled, looking more put together then he'd looked ever before, "Ready Tin Man!"
Raw looked less enthusiastic but nodded, and touched Glitch when he repeated himself, shutting him up.
He sighed, this was either going to be the yellow walk the princess said it would be or they were dead.
At the moment he found himself leaning towards dead.
Then not fifteen minutes later he watched shocked as the winds changed in their favor, half the army was leaving, braking up into small search groups, hunting for the army perched on their front porch. Exchanging looks with his son, he found his faith in the princess' predictions returning, this was gonna be a yellow walk.
DG sat staring at the door, the next person through the door was either going to be the person rescuing her or the one to bring her before Az who would have her friends... or door number three was they'd kill her. She couldn't discount that.
Of course she wouldn't need rescuing if she had taken her knife back from her dad, or even been able to reach the door, but since neither of those things was so... she sat waiting like a damn princess in a tower... Okay she was in the tower, and she did need rescuing from the tower and evil witch.
She snorted, "My life so has to be made for TV. Of course..." she mused out loud, "I'm not looking for a prince just a crabby Tin Man."
She shook her head, "Note to self next time, if I happen to get locked up again have paper on me when I'm locked up, or risk going insane."
The door then opened and she found door number four, the guard was bringing her what looked like lunch. Suggesting she had missed or not been fed breakfast. Ah well, food was food, as prison food it sucked.
Picking at it, nibbling well aware she had not being eating regularly, she heard a faint scuffle. Stopping chewing she heard a small thud. She smiled hoping against hope that was the backup. The door creaked open and a head poked in. It was a covered in a soft brown hair, and the man, since she could now see him, was pasty white she had feeling he hadn't spent much time in the sun in a long time. The man smiled nervously, "Princess come with me."
She smiled and kicked her leg making the chain rattle, "Would love too, but I can't reach the door."
He scurried in, honest to god scurried.
Blinking she tried to compute what her eyes were telling her, why? Who was this guy?
As he looked at the chain around her ankle she stared at him, he was an inch or two taller then her, he was thin but looked heathy... Was this some trap from Azkadellia? Of course if that was the case wouldn't he have a key? Or at least have known about the chain?
He was frowning now.
"So can you get it off?"
He looked up at her a frown still there, "I believe so highness I just fear you'll have to live with the main part still on your ankle."
She shrugged, "Anything to get out of here."
He nodded and then pulled a small but thick knife, wedging it in the link connecting to the ankle part he twisted, it took two or three tries but the link slowly opened and she as able to get off the chain. Standing she took stock, her limbs were heavy and just standing had her head aching, and her knees, hips... okay her whole body hurt.
The man seemed to notice because he grabbed her arm, blinking over at him she asked, "So what is your name?"
He blinked back at her nervousness clear, "I'm Alcon Ratho highness."
She frowned, something was almost clicking, she knew him, from some where. "Why do you seem familiar?"
He looked at her, "You called me rat-man three days ago."
She looked at him with new eyes, that explained everything. "So I was right!"
He looked at her, "You didn't know for sure?"
She shrugged, "Don't worry about, it was a guess, you didn't stand out too much or anything."
He nodded uncertain, "Highness not to be rude but we need to go."
She nodded, "Right." she took two steps and felt herself wobble, Ratho's hands had only gotten a firmer grip on her, looking back him she sighed, "I fear you may need to help me a bit more."
He nodded and stepped up along side her and lifted her arm to his shoulder, lifting her he lead the fast paced walk... scurry out into the halls. To her annoyance she found herself leaning heavily on him, even though it hurt her shoulders and pulled on her back muscles creating new aches. A few hallways down they stepped into a shadowed room that's door was open, leaning against the wall she tried to catch her breath, and be quiet about it.
They had been there a minute when the sound of booted footsteps echoed down the hall to them, she now understood Ratho had the shifts memorized and had known the next would be coming. She quieted her breathing, and watched the leather clad men walk down the hall, the moment they were gone Ratho was hefting her and then almost ran and they had gotten three more hallways away when she heard the shouts start echoing.
Even as Ratho helped her down stairs she smirked, Az would be most upset.
They reached the bottom of the stairs when an explosion shook the tower, Ratho fell into the wall and she fell on him, but she was too happy that Cain, and the others were coming to be embarrassed. He helped her up, muttering he growled, "Two minutes early."
They scrambled a bit further down the stairs then they were forced to step off the stairs to hid from more Long-coats, he looked at her, frowning he seemed to be thinking.
"You need to be healed."
She frowned, "I know but we don't have time."
He didn't say anything but began to pull her down the hall they had stepped off into. They quickly reached the cells, DG began to see former resistance, she had a flash back to the men that became to the first royal guards, the men in good condition from the Azkadellia's cells, most scheduled to be executed. "Stop." she hissed.
Ratho stopped and looked down at her, "What are you doing?"
"We'll need help to take the tower, lets let these guys out."
Ratho gave her a look, "You don't know them, they could be criminals."
She looked at him, "Lets be honest, what are you? A Criminal by Azkadellia's law. Forgiveness can be given for most cases if they are actually criminals, other wise they probably were on your side before being captured."
She then pushed off him and stood as straight as possible and met the gazes of the closest listening men. "You all heard the explosion, that is the Resistance enacting the plan to defeat the Sorceress once and for all, if you swear on your lives you will fight for me, and the Resistance I will let you out."
The nearest men swore without another word and the three further down swore, but the last man number nine in this area, looked at her and sneered. "Who are you to ask us to swear to you?"
She walked closer doing her best to stand straight without flinching, getting closer she realized this was Ian, Cain's second in command, the man who had been helping Jeb get her parents out of the square. She smiled, "I am Princess DG."
The man snorted, "Bullshit she's dead."
She laughed, "I did die, the witch killed me, but my mother brought me back and then sent me to live on the other side, I got back only a few days ago."
The men raised a collective eyebrow. She could feel the the stares of the men behind her that Ratho had let out. She decided to have a bit of fun, "Would you believe I was the princess if I say knew your name?"
He hummed, "I've never seen you in my life, and I can't think of a way you would know my name without magic, so go ahead surprise me."
She smiled, "Will you swear to me now Ian Ackart?"
That got a reaction, he stopped smirking and stood, leaning into the bars he stared deep into her eyes, she waited and after a moment he gave, "I swear I will obey and follow Princess DG."
She was surprised when there was a soft glow about with his statement, and there were gasps behind her, they she realized his oath was a formal one, with her title, meaning if she remembered her lessons right OZ herself would hold him to it. Ian was her first formal vassal.
"That was a bit more then I asked Ian."
He shrugged as the bars went up, "I figured that was the best way to prove who you were for sure."
She shrugged her aches striking up again, or at least she was noticing them again, "I can't argue that, but we need to get going." She took a step and hissed as her leg tried to give out, and Ian and a hand she was guessing was Ratho's stopped her from falling.
Ian spoke over her head, "What's wrong with her?"
Ratho answered, "I don't know she can't walk far without help, I was taking her to the Viewers hoping one would help her. I would guess judging by the fact she was in the medical cells she was beaten in questioning."
DG protested, "Az didn't have me beaten, I resisted capture, and she already had a Viewer heal all the broken bones."
She got hummed again and Ian took charge, You four up front." Four men shuffled passed her, "You four cover us from the back. You..."
"Ratho help me carry the princess."
The two of them each took one of her arms and slung it over their shoulders, with their help she was straight and the group was moving much faster despite the nine new additions. A few halls and stairs later they were in the Viewer section, the Viewers were hiding, cowering at the back of the cells then they passed Kalm's cell.
The men carrying her stopped, she leaned over Ratho to look at Kalm, she had gotten to know him the few weeks he and Raw had been staying with her and her family, Kalm was shy but sweet a lot like Raw just younger. "Kalm."
The boy flinched and then frowned, he leaned into the light, curious.
She spoke softly, "Kalm I need some help, I'm hurt will you help me? I'd understand if you don't want to."
He stared at her, much like Raw had before he healed her leg, like he knew she knew him.
He opened his mouth to speak but a harsh voice behind her spoke up, "How dare you ask him, like you'll give him a choice!"
She turned, with Ratho's help, it was a viewer, a male, the biggest she had ever seen, a beat up thing, one eye was scarred in a way that said there was no eye underneath, he was missing three fingers, and had several more scars on his chest and arms. The very way he looked at her said he was looking for a fight, his hands were fists, and he had an awful snarl.
He barked out a laugh, and a voice from further down spoke up, one of her men, "Don't insult the princess."
She stopped him, and any other men, "No I don't blame him for thinking that." She stepped closer forcing Ratho to help her, a few inches from the bars she looked up so she could look him in the eye. "I'll give you a choice," and then she held out her hand, slipping it between bars. The Viewer looked at her, fear, digust and every other negative emotion mixed up, he stared at her hand then looked back up at her. Then he feinted like he would scratch her hand, she didn't flinch, but Ratho half pulled her away.
Then he softly touched her hand, she wasn't trying to focus on any one thing, just that she was sincere, she would not force any of them to heal her, she would rather be rushing to meet Raw, Cain and Glitch.
He pulled away expression a little softer, "Flower! Heal her, she won't hurt you."
She smiled at him, and he nodded back to her, then a hand a few cells down reached out, Ian and Ratho carried her there, and she touched the hand of the small female Viewer, this healing was unlike any other she had felt, it still felt hot, like a burn like all others, it just was over so much faster despite she was hurt pretty badly. The viewer let go, but DG tried to project her gratefulness.
It seem to work the little viewer seem to give the tiniest nod and smile.
Ratho and Ian let her go, surprising them three Long-coats walked passed, getting lucky they didn't see them, they were then pounced on by her men, it ended quickly and even as much as she want to protest the killing they didn't have time or man power to take prisoners.
They quickly left the Viewers and Ratho took point trying to get them to where he was suppose to meet the invasion. They met four more Long-coats and claimed weapons, she even got a knife. They left the prison area entering the main machine and castle part, she ran with the rest the group understanding this was the place they were most likely to be caught.
Mostly without incident they reached the floor where they were to meet the attacking group, though they were better armed and Az was down another eight Long-coats.
Then she saw Cain, Glitch on one side and Raw the other, five men with them, she didn't know them right off, but that didn't matter. She ran the last twenty, twenty-five feet and flung herself at him, all that running, the fear, the pain. All worth it. Cain was here, and unharmed. He turned hearing her footsteps, and for a moment he was surprised and then he caught her and she couldn't see his face. He hugged her back, and after a long minute she let go, and then quickly gave Glitch a hug. She looked at Raw wondering if he really wanted an up close look at what she was feeling and what had gone on or not but he reached for her first. That was enough to take the big grin she was wearing and double it.
Then she pulled away, business was calling and all, it was scary to think this was her last day, last hour of being DG, from today on she'd be Queen. Looking up at Cain she went straight to the point, "Do you have the Emerald?"
His relieved expression died away, and he was all business again, he reached into his coat and pulled out the green rock, handing it to her he answered. "Kept it safe and everything. Jeb's outside rounding up the Long-coats, what do we do?"
She smiled, he would be furious if he knew what she was going to do to him. "You, Glitch, Raw and all these other guys first need to take control of the brain room. That's you Ambrose. And then start letting prisoners out if they'll fight, other wise let them sit, then start taking over the tower capture the Alchemists, and the Long-coats, and be careful."
He caught her bit, "And what will you be doing?"
She shrugged, "Freeing my sister."
He frowned at her, and a surprising voice spoke up behind her, "And what I am going to do?"
She turned, "I said you'd go with Cain did I not?"
Ian grunted. "I swore the oath to you, not to any one else."
She raised an eyebrow, "And that means you will do what I say."
He narrowed his eyes at her, "I won't let you go off alone, not when you'll be facing the Sorceress."
She opened her mouth to tell him she had to do it alone when she realized Az might not be alone this time, Az didn't have a hold of the Emerald so she wouldn't be at the top of the tower, and the tower was under attack, so she probably wouldn't be alone. "Change of plans, Ian you're right Az probably won't be alone, I need you and three others to come with me."
Cain shifted behind her and she turned slightly to look at him, "Cain I need you to make sure taking the tower goes smoothly 'kay?"
He kept his face stony but she could see he was slightly surprised she'd noticed.
Ian was looking at the men behind him distrustingly, she want to get moving the fight outside wasn't waiting, she pointed to the black haired man behind Ian, "You what's your name?"
He blinked, "Becket."
She nodded, "Nice to met you Becket, you." She pointed to the blond next to Becket.
She nodded again, "Glad you're here, you." She pointed to the slightly dark blond, the blond shifted and she realized what she'd taken for a late teen was a women, in disguise. Understandable. Her voice rough she answered with a false name, "Tim."
"Nice to meet you too. Now you three with me and Ian, Ratho you lead whoever goes to try to sort out the prisoners."
She looked at Cain, "Good Luck."
He nodded, "You too Princess."
She nodded and then lead the way to Az's main rooms, hopefully she'd be there. Sneaking passed a few guards, and knocking out five more and killing the sixth they reached Az's rooms. She took a deep breath, and forced her nerves down, she was a princess and in charge, speeches were just part of it. She turned to face the four behind her, "Okay we all go in and if there is anyone in there, even if it's just my parents, you take them out here and I'll fight Az, I just don't want anyone else in there because the Witch will us you against me. Clear?"
The four looked slightly confused and she realized asking the clear didn't make sense, "I meant understood."
They nodded, and she took a deep breath before turning and shoving the door open.
Az was speaking with her main helper, butler- guy, and there were two Long-coats in the room, 'Tim' fired from next to her and killed one of the Long-coats, and the other went down with a shot to the shoulder, Ian or Rian fired the shot. Her people pointed the guns at the butler and Az.
Az was smirking, "My baby sister, not only has come to me with the Emerald, but lead some friends here."
DG stood as tall as possible, "Az it's between me and you, ignore them."
Az smiled diabolically, the witch shinning through, "Why would I fight you when I can make you hand it over?"
Az's hand moved seeming to call 'Tim' over like she had the Emerald the first time but DG acted, she wasn't sure exactly what she did but it seemed to be a mix of asking the Emerald for what she wanted, and pushing with her light.
A wall shimmered before her and her four guards, protecting them from Az's magic.
Az looked surprised, DG frowned, and then stepped forward realizing this would never work, pushing the door closed behind her, leaving it her, Az, the butler, and the wounded long-coat. "Az I am sorry I left that day at the cave, I should have listened to you like always."
Az looked slight uncertain, the Witch was furious, but Az was pushing forward.
DG remembered the recorders she'd had in her pockets, sticking a hand in she tried to pushing them full of magic, then she pulled them out and scattered them across the floor, Az stared at them confused but then the witch spoke. "What do you think you're doing with those girl? Proving you'll only run away again? Wishing to show how weak you are to the whole world?"
DG lifted her chin, "I was a child, and while I shouldn't have run the first time, I want to prove I won't do it again. I'll never leave on you're own again Az. I promise. You and me versus the witch. You don't want this, you never have."
The Witch spoke again, "You little fool, you're sister died the day you ran."
DG blinked back the edge of tears, that was true, she had killed her sister's childhood, but she... she had come back. Az would laugh and giggle with her once again. "I know and I'm sorry. Az I took our childhood away from us, I left you alone, and nothing I say will ever make that better. But you don't want the OZ covered in darkness, then we could never go back to Finaqua and eat apples together again, we would never face anything together again."
Az's lip trembled but the Witch snarled; "I hate that place and those people, never welcoming for someone like me, or your sister! Never good enough for her parents, they left her to me, and she welcomed me!"
DG shook her head, "My parents love us. Our parents love us. But you forget, mother was untried when you killed me, and bringing me back weakened her, so she and Father planned this hoping selfishly that they would have both of us, together again."
That was too much for the Witch she flung a bolt of green lighting at her, DG squeezed the Emerald and it helped, sorta. The bolt never touched her skin, but it flung her back into the door. Sliding up the door, back to her feet, she stood facing Az. She took a deep breath, having been winded in getting flung against the door. "Az I'm not running, I love you, and I miss us. Remember nothing could hurt us when we were together, not the bear and not anything."
She stepped forward, reaching out with the hand not holding the Emerald. "Take my hand and it will be us again. No fighting, the Emerald won't matter, we can be friends again." She took another step, and another.
Az stood still, the Witch fighting to attack and her sister frozen with indecision.
DG took another step forward, she noticed her hand was trembling, she needed her sister back, who would tell her all the little things she still didn't know, who would hold her hand when she cried because the long coats were going to prison if not killed. "Az I need you, I need us, I am strongest with you."
Az spoke her lips barely moving, "And I with you."
"Yes." DG stepped forward faster now, she was close to her sister, her hand out stretched, she watched as like last time her sister fought the witch back enough to touch her hand, she barely noticed the flashing bodies she just watched the raising hand. Then they touched, she grabbed a hold and yanked her sister free, Az stumbled free into her arms.
She pulled her away, and then were surprised when the witch just stumbled not the twitching from before, stumbled... and then was growing shorter. She was melting.
She didn't have the power of the machine's power to feed off of, and she was weak.
She gripped Az's hand tightly and wasn't too surprised by the wave of light washing across the room, the the mostly puddled witch turning to ash was. She stared surprised, and was broke out of it by Az's shaky voice, "She'd dead right?"
"Yep, don't think she can come back from ash."
Then she turned to her sister and hugged her tight, "I'm so glad you're back."
Az hugged her back but didn't seem to know what to say, then the sound of a throat clearing caught her attention, she turned and saw her sister's butler guy standing there. He knelt, "Princess Dorthi Gale thank you for freeing your sister."
She frowned, he didn't seem to care she had killed the witch... "So who are you?"
He looked up, "I apologize I am Ruthford Slony, I served your sister because she saved my life. The witch allowed me to stay because she knew I was loyal and wouldn't poison her, but it's your sister I was loyal to."
She nodded, the guy was clearly half in love with her sister, "Okay, can you find her something brighter colored and cut her hair shorter and then braid it, something simple. I don't want the resistance to see anything of the witch in my sister."
That said she walked back over to the recorder things and picked them up, she looked up and found Az staring at her, Ruthford not much better. "What? The tower may be taken but there will be stray long coats and the resistance has seen her face as the enemy's for so long she should at least start out different to give them a chance to see the difference. Should head off any assassination attempts for some time."
Az nodded once before turning to leave, DG had the recorders picked up and went and unlocked the door. They quickly flew open and she was faced with an angry Ian, the rest were surprised nothing was destroyed in the room.
Ian shook a fist at her, "You can't just ask for our help and lock us out!"
She snorted, "You did your part the guards with her were out of the way, the witch is dead, go get the main group from the brain room bring them out here, the battle outside should be ending soon. Bring the commanders from out there up. We have a lot of fixing to do."
Ian blinked at her befuddled, she had thrown him with all those orders. "You killed your sister?"
She realized why he was confused, "No, I separated the witch from my sister and then killed her."
He frowned confused.
She shook her head, "My sister was possessed, she's not evil, that's all you need to know for now, you'll see later. Bring me Glitch, I have a project for him."
Ian left Beckett following, the other two started guarding the door, she left them to it and started pacing. She needed to cut and mass produce some of the recorder things get them to every tower and every city, so the main population would see enough to not think some new witch had taken over, she needed to take every bottle of spelled bliss she could get her hands on and set up rehabs, she and Az would be the only ones able to make it and she could control it that way. Long-coats would be tried like last time and justice would be done that way...
Glitch and two others walked in, Ratho was one and she didn't know the other one on sight.
"Glitch I need you to cut this down to the fight between me and the witch, well and how I saved Az, but here you go." she gave him the handful she had.
He nodded and stumbled out, Ratho looked rather confused by what she said but didn't ask, "The tower seems to be ours, few more Long-coats but most the fightings outside, the general whole of the army outside doesn't know the tower is ours, and a good half the army left before the attack."
DG nodded, "I do something with my sister to stop the battle outside, probably a hold spell... it'll freeze everyone, but... we can find something to make it so... um. I'll get back to you on that. Anyway round up the forces sent here and stand ready at the doors, I'll tell you what do soon."
He nodded and then seemed to be staring over her shoulder at something, she turned and found her sister wearing a soft blue gown, her hair had lost probably close to eight inches and was in a simple straight braid. Az looked uncertain at the sight of people.
She rushed over and grabbed her hands and forced herself to sound simple, "You look like mother Az."
Az looked at her, the nervousness was there in her eyes, the same look Az had when she went down to mother and father for the first without the witch in years. "Will they be mad?"
DG smiled but felt her own heart pinch, this was her fault, not Az's. "No Az, they know what happened if anyone's in trouble it's me."
Az nodded and then asked, "Should we go let them out?"
DG nodded, "Yep lets go get them now."
An hour later DG was worried, her mother and father had taken Az in their arms from the moment they saw her, they could see the difference. The hugs had healed them all some, but DG could see the growing crease between her mother's eye brows as everyone took orders from her, not her mother. Nothing had been said but she knew her mother probably wouldn't understand why she couldn't just take right back over where she left off, that was what had lead to the mob.
Her mother had been a young queen and one that that had never seen violence, she couldn't understand the anger everyone felt. She had been protected in the bubble Az put her in, more then she knew.
DG closed her eyes, and then was surprised when 'Tim' asked what was wrong. Opening them she looked at the women escorting her down to the main hall where the generals of the long-coats waited. DG hadn't told her mother what she was going off to do only that it wouldn't take long.
Az, her mother and father deserved a rest all had been working towards this, now it was her turn to work. "I worry about my mother, locked up as she was she's a bit out of touch, if she tries to take the throne she won't know what to do, but at the same time I don't know that she's ready for me to take over. I don't want to steal it from her, I just don't think she can do what needs to be done."
Tim nodded slowly, "I don't know how update to date I am on what's outside but... I don't know how many at the moment really want a queen."
DG nodded, "Exactly, I don't want to be queen but at the same time, I need to do good, I can help, and at the moment my offering to lead and being willing to be held responsible will help. Someone can point the finger. If someone doesn't take charge now, war will happen because everyone wants to do their own thing, there won't be a law, a person to be accountable too, it will be fractions."
Tim nodded harder now, "That I see, but why you?"
DG grimaced to herself, "I made a mistake, I ran when my sister need me, I was only a little child and she later killed me for it, but then I ran again, my mother chose to hide me. I was saved for this. Other wise I need to be on trial myself."
Tim stopped walking and stared at her, after a moment the woman started walking again, silent this time. DG let her process, and starting finishing up what she planed to say to the Generals.
The door swung open and she walked in ignoring Jeb introducing her as her highness DG, that was surprising that he bothered but she supposed she lent this an air of officialness. He even had a chair ready for her, she ignored it and stood in front of it. Head held straight and her chin tilted up slightly she ignored the fact her hands were sweating.
Looking down she saw close to twenty men, some afraid some defiant, a couple confused, probably about how she was alive. "You have done many harmful things in service to the Sorceress, you can surrender and we will give you a fair trial, we will find out if you only did those things out of fear or if you enjoyed them. If you try to run or fight we will simple kill you because an innocent man doesn't run. If you are innocent you will be allowed to go among the people and get jobs, or if the commander of the royal army allows it, join the army again. It is up to you, now go among your men outside and tell them what I told you, you will be given food and water and shelter while things are organized."
She turned to the gobsmacked Jeb, "Commander Jeb please see my orders are followed out, and there will be no mistreatment of the prisoners."
He blinked owlishly at her, then pulled himself together and gave a short bow, "I'll see it done Princess."
She nodded much like she had seen her mother do, she wasn't going to issue threats. Not yet anyway, if he failed to follow his orders and couldn't explain why... well. She'd see.
She saw the men herd the Long-coats out of the hall, sighing in relief she turned and found 'Tim' staring at her. "What?"
"You... really know what your doing."
DG raised an eye brow, "Well yes... I didn't just decide to be queen because it'd be easy. I want to right the wrongs of my childhood. I caused this and I'm going to fix it. It'll be slow and I can't return lives lost, but I can save more now."
Tim gapped at her and DG found herself giving up, "Okay what's your real name?"
Tim spluttered, "Real name? What do you mean..?"
DG smirked, "You are a girl, correct?"
Tim let her head fall to the said and stared harder, after a moment of silence she asked, "How'd you know?"
DG smiled, "On the other side the some people dress up as the opposite sex to confuse people or because they like dressing that way, you on the other hand dressed like this to protect yourself from being a girl in an army, and then from the unwanted attentions of Long-coat soldiers. I get it, it was clever. But I could tell, most probably couldn't but most men don't have clean fingernails in prison, and such delicate wrists and ankles."
DG looked pointedly down at her feet.
Tim flushed, "Timmina."
Her smile widened, "It's nice to meet you Timmina, now I suspect I'll need a female assistant, bodyguard, maid for when I wear nasty dresses that have to be laced up, and someone to help me remember what I need to do next. Do you want the job?"
Timmina's mouth dropped open, "Just like that?"
DG nodded, "I don't have time to interview a bunch of people and I would rather just tell Jeb your one less person he needs to find for me. Besides you ask the right questions and seem nice."
Timmina closed her mouth and seemed to think about it, "Okay as long as you don't mind I still want to wear pants, having worn them so long I don't know how I could back to skirts."
DG snorted, "You and me both, though I suspect I could wear a pair under a skirt and feel much better."
That settled DG set a brisk pace out into the halls looking for Cain, she wanted to hold him a little longer, but she would settle for seeing him alive and unharmed. It took a while but she found him giving orders to mixed group of former prisoners and Jeb's men, she smiled not a scratch on him.
She was all set to relax when she saw a dark shadow down the hall behind Cain's back, a slim sliver of light lit up one eye and she knew immediately who it was, Zero.
Panic surged, he had a gun on Cain's unprotected back.
And Zero had gotten him the second time he shot him in the last time line.
She grabbed the gun off of Timmina, and snapped her fingers, she appeared at Cain's back and she could see Zero's outline lifting the gun to shoot. She flicked the safety off and ignoring the swearing she could hear from Timmina and the surprised sounds from the men talking to Cain she lifted and squeezed. The gun bucked in her hand, and her arms promptly start to ache, but then it was overwhelmed by the burning stab to her right shoulder, the force flung her back in Cain's side since he had been turning. Both of them went down and she focused on not saying anything, not a shout or a scream, her mouth would stay shut and she wouldn't swear.
She closed her eyes and noticed she was crying, she let Cain roll her on her back and she opened her eyes. His worried blues stared down at her and she could see his mouth moving, the rest of the group was a blur of legs, and loud noises she couldn't bring herself to understand. Cain was safe, and she was shot.
She flinched as someone pressed down on the wound, that hurt, a lot.
"DG open your eyes!"
She opened them at Cain's command, she saw how frantic he was, she smiled up at him, "It's okay, not too bad, Raw could patch me up in a few minutes."
Cain shook his head, "Bullet's still in."
DG closed her eyes again, surgery, no chance of hiding it from her parent's either. She didn't want to be there for that, both of them were sure to freak out, especially with the little detail of she was protecting Cain, she stepped into the bullet, she didn't just warn him or use magic, she put herself there. They wouldn't be happy.
She opened her eyes again, "What."
He relaxed a little, "I was afraid you'd passed out."
"I should be so lucky."
He snorted at that and that was when she noticed Timmina leaning over her too, "Tim. You need to do something for me since I can't, make sure Commander Jeb is doing as ordered, make sure we bring as many in here as possible and talk to Rothford about making sure there is enough food for everyone. We have a lot of hungry people to look after."
Tim nodded before thinking, and then asking, "Ruthford?"
"The guy following Az around, he's like half in love with her."
Timmina stopped a girlish giggle and nodded, "I'll take care of it."
DG nodded, more like let her head flop on the cold marble but still... "Cain can I move? This marble's cold."
He choked, "That's what your worried about?"
She glared, "You can't do anything about my arm at the moment at least let me get someplace warmer then the god damn floor."
She swore, crap, she didn't mean too, just a bit of a bad habit from collage. Cain blinked surprised but looked up and away from her, "We'll have you up off the floor in a minute Princess."
She was being helped up on to a stretcher when something slipped and she bumped her shoulder, the white hot flash of pain washed over her and she blacked out.
She woke to find herself in a soft bed, comfortable, soft, lots of pillows. Her shoulder felt better, but had a bit of a lingering ache, not surprising. Opening her eyes she noted it was dark and not just the room, the window showed it was night time. She was thinking about going back to sleep when she realized she was hungry, very hungry. She sighed, curses, she had to get up as there didn't seem to be anyone in the room with her. She through the blanket off with her good arm and slow climbed out being careful not to use her bad arm to push. Standing she flinched and then hissed, the floor was freezing.
That was when she realized in the bad lighting she was wearing some gauzy, white or light pink night gown. Something she had fought kicking and screaming last time, she had compromised by wearing ankle length skirts with nice blouses, or even very full cut pants, but she didn't do girly.
Feeling around she found an over coat, pulling it around she headed for a door with a light under it, a dim light but light is light. She grabbed the door handle first try and opened it, only to find Timmina scrambling up from a chair.
"Princess. They said you wouldn't wake till morning."
DG smiled, "I probably wouldn't have but I found myself starving, so lead me to some where I can get food."
Timmina nodded and then frowned, "Can you promise to stay here for a brief moment?"
DG shrugged, "Sure."
Timmina looked at her strangely before nodded and then taking off down the corridor. Watching her run DG found herself realizing despite being awake and in a lot less pain she was still very tired, and her work was just beginning. She was just glad more then half of the half the army that had set out, had come back having heard the fight, and they arrived about the time she managed to project herself with Az in the background over the field calling for surrender. Most of them did so, Leaning against the door with her good arm she allowed herself to think about what needed to be done long term, food would be a problem one she was thinking called for a quick trip to the other side, peace would be a problem she already knew what she wanted to do with the addicts, but the Long-coats. She supposed they wouldn't be as effective without Zero. That was good. He was dead. Gone. Not going to sneak up on her when she was least expecting it.
He wasn't going to take Cain from her.
She closed her eyes, she had killed him with her own two hands. Dead. Gone. And all she could feel was relief. She wished she thought it was a one time thing, but she already knew she could kill, her last moments last time told her that. Maybe the last two times had been in a rage, but... she still could kill very easily.
At least she had the Cain men to keep her in line.
That said she heard footsteps coming her way, opening her eyes she saw Cain with Timmina trailing behind him. Cain ran all the way up to her, she ignore the intense look on his face, she just drank in the fact he could run, and he was around to yell at her. He stopped just in front of her, his voice startled her, it was low and growly, he either was pissed or about to cry, and she was leaning towards the first. Sensing she and he would be loud she looked to the gasping Timmina and said, "Give us a few minutes. And try not to over hear anything."
Timmina nodded, and she noticed vaguely the girl was wearing clean clothes, but she stepped back inside of her room and Cain followed her in, DG shut the door and waited, Cain lit a lamp and then turned to her.
"How dare you do that."
It was worse then she thought, he was sounding calm. "I dared do that because I can just about promise you I hated that man more then you."
He turned his back to her, and his voice rose, "Like hell you do. He took my family."
That made her laugh and she knew she sounded more like the witch then anyone would like. "That's all you got? Well guess what, he took mine too. Lead the riot, first he shot you, then his mob killed Glitch, then Az. My dad was shot, Mom was terrified, and then I was shot. I promise you I hated Zero. I don't even feel bad for killing him, it was like stepping on a cockroach."
That got him he whirled, then grabbing her good shoulder he shook her just a little. "That's not what I meant Princess, how dare you make me care then go and stupidly put yourself between him and me!"
He let her go like he was burned and he turned his back on her.
She felt her own defensive frustration disappear, softly she reached up and touched his shoulder, "Wyatt, I'm sorry, I thought I could get a shot off before he did. I just wasn't willing to watch you fall to his hands again."
She saw his hands clench, she got it, he didn't care she had killed, he didn't even care why she had done what she had done, he was upset because he blamed himself for not seeing Zero, for not being fast enough, for not seeing it coming. She slid her arms around his middle and pressed herself close. "I promise not to it again unless it's Az or you."
He was tense and his voice terse when he spoke, "That's not good enough."
She smiled, "I love you Wyatt Cain. I'm sorry it upset you but I'd do it again, because I love you. It's not fair you'd ask me to stand back and let you die when I know you'd do the same."
He pulled away to turn and looked down at her, blue eyes stormy, "You are a Princess, you can't just throw your life away."
She smiled and touched his cheek, "That's the thing and it something you've know for a long time, it's not a waste now is it Tin Man? Protecting something precious is never a waste."
She could see the conflict, smiling wider she rested her head down on his chest, over his heart, it was beating fast and there was a fine tremble like he didn't know what to do. "Wyatt I'll let you have all the time you need to morn Aldora, she had Jeb and you loved her, she was a remarkable woman just for that. She deserves to be mourned, but she'd want you to be happy. I can make you happy. Let yourself be happy."
She pulled away, "Till you agree to be my consort, consider yourself head of the Castle Guard. Protect my parents, my sister, protect yourself and I promise I'll be protected. Safe." Backing away she watched his face, she could see the conflict in his eyes, smiling hiding her disappointment she chirped, "Now you need to feed me so I can get back to work come morning. My parents and Az are sure to be a lot to handle."
She turned to walk away and was surprised when his hand shot out and grabbed her hand. Looking back she waited for him to speak.
Licking his lips, he spoke his voice low, and nervous. "Princess... DG... it doesn't make much sense to me, but... I love you to. I swear I have since you stopped me from leaving the wagon. Give me time to talk to Jeb, get together a good set of Castle Guards and I'll become your consort."
DG felt the happiness bubble up, unable to contain it she flung herself at him and hugged him tight mashing her lips to his. After a startled moment he responded. Seconds passed, but she was just so happy this time she got to kiss him, find out what he tasted like she almost didn't care about air. But he did, pulling her away, he pressed kisses to her neck, and that was when she realized her bad arm was protesting, loudly.
He smirked against her skin, "I was wondering when you'd notice."
Scowling she pulled away to cradle her bad arm close to her chest. "Now that thats settled I really do need food."
He laughed, "I'll feed you Princess, follow me." He opened the door and after a brief scan of the hallway he bowed her out. She linked hands with him ignoring or pretending not to notice Timmina watching her with him. He pulled her down the hall and Timmina carefully watched their backs. DG could have skipped she was so happy, she had Cain, she had her family, she could've sung from the top of the tower. Things would go right this time.
Sorry folks, that's the end of the plot bunny, if you want me to write more, write a review and maybe I'll be able to write more, but the point is aside from some normal bumps in the road, they lived happily ever after. Fairy Tale Style.