Chapter Eight

Zandra was frozen in place, she didn't dare move. The guy in front of them, Einon, was directing his cruel smile towards Bowen. The party of riders and horses stationed behind him, some with blank expressions and some smug. She saw Raven beside her with a curious look. How could that girl be curious? Couldn't she see the psycho guy in front of them? And Kara, she had a scared look about her. There was still some of that fury before in her eyes, but mostly fear was swirling inside her as she gazed up at the king.

Zandra felt a light tap on her shoulder and turned her head sideways to look at Raven. Raven looked at her and then moved her eyes in the other direction, signaling Zan to look that way. Zandra followed and saw Bowen's fierce look, tense and sword drawn.

"Get off your horse, I'll give you one." He said with a vicious smile.

Einon got off his horse and jumped into the water near where Bowen was standing. He, too, drew out his sword, ready for the upcoming fight.

Raven saw Einon glance over at Kara, eyes twinkling in recognition. He swiveled them toward her and Zan and the twinkling soon faded into confusion. Raven smiled, that might work to their advantage. The look didn't last long though. Soon Einon and Bowen were in a ferocious battle. Yelling at each other and slashing their sword at their opponent's body; the clashing noise of sword against sword filling the silence around them.

Soon, to the three girls' horror, Bowen fell with a splash in the water, with Einon advancing on him. They watched as Einon said something, but no one listened. The girls sighed with relief as Bowen had gotten back up, the fighting resuming once again.

"Liar, I taught you!" Bowen shouted over the roaring of the waterfall. Hurt and anger clouding his face.

Einon spoke back, just as loud. "You taught me to fight, that's all! I took what I needed!"

Raven and Zandra watched as the king roughly stabbed the man that had helped them in the shoulder. Pain was etched on Bowen's face as he fell back on a small boulder, now having to look up at Einon's smug face.

"You taught me well." Einon spoke, calmly walking back to the bag attached to his saddle on his horse.

He pulled out a small knife and then turned towards Kara.

"Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to take my wife-to-be and then kill you."

Zandra knew the king was coming, but she couldn't just let him take Kara. Not without trying to do something. She was just about to step in until she realized that someone had already stood up to the job.

"You're not getting your supposed wife-to-be. God, are all the men here like you? Cause if they are, I'm feeling pretty bad for the girls here. If you want Kara, then you'll have to go through me." Raven said in a sorry sing-song voice, smirking at the frowning king before her.

The king's frown quickly faded into a laugh from Einon, "Well, that should be pretty easy. You are not much of a threat to me."

It was then Zandra's turn to smirk as she stepped in front of Raven, "And if you want to take down Raven, you have to go through me first."

Zan could practically feel the frown Raven was wearing as Zan had stepped forward, putting herself in danger for her.

Einon just laughed harder, walking up to the three and brandishing the knife. Zandra's eyes turned fearful as she saw the sun gleaming off of the knife's reflection. She tightly closed her eyes and waited for the blow. Raven's eyes widened as she saw what the king was about to do to her friend. She was just about to take action, when she heard the whoosh of wind and the scared screams of the men on horse back.

Raven smiled as she saw Draco appear out of the cave standing in front of Bowen. But, it appeared, Draco had protected the wrong person. It wasn't Bowen who needed the protection, though he still had that nasty gash on his shoulder, it was Zandra.

Raven could faintly hear Bowen say, "Who asked you to interfere? I had everything under control."

She had to restrain her smile at this, but soon didn't need to. As soon as the humor began, it had quickly gone away from what happened next. Einon turned his eyes to the winged beast that had sacrificed half his heart to save him and glared at it and his old mentor. He was not leaving without doing something terrible to them. If he couldn't get to Kara, he'd just have to take the next female person.

"Well if I can't have my wife, I'll just have to take another one!"

And with that last shout, Einon had grabbed hold of Zandra and jumped to his horse. Before any of them could react, Einon was already galloping away with a screaming Zandra in tow.

Kara rushed over to Bowen and frantically started looking him over. Draco was just as frantic as the red-head beside him. Raven was watching the fading figure in the distance, still hearing Zandra's faint screams. Raven's eyes filled with tears as she started running as fast as she could towards the direction she saw Einon travel to.

Draco, seeing the blonde blur run past him quickly flew in front of her, stopping her mad dash after her captured friend. Raven tried to run around him, but either way she went the dragon was still there in her way. She went right, he went right; she went left, he went left.

"Move out of the way! Why are you guys just standing here? We have to go get Zandra! Who knows what they're doing to her!"

Raven tried and tried again to maneuver around the big beast, and every time he would move her back to the spot she was at before. Tears still streaming down her sad face, she finally gave up her chase and fell down on the ground, hands wrapped protectively around her knees. Kara had stopped most of the blood seeping out of Bowen's shoulder and had helped him stand. They saw Draco standing over a crying Raven and already knew the cause to the young girl's sorrow.

Bowen slowly walked over to Raven, cradling his injured arm. He stopped when he stood beside the sobbing girl. Kara lent down and laid a gentle hand on Raven's back. Even though she had just met the girls, she already knew they were good people and she felt so guilty since Einon had wanted her and had took Zandra in her stead.

Bowen had no idea what to do. He wasn't good with this kind of stuff, but he didn't like seeing Raven like this. She should have been cracking jokes at Bowen or arguing with Zandra and laughing so hard she would fall over. Not crying buckets of tears over the loss of her friend. Draco wasn't feeling much better. He had sworn to Zandra that he'd help her all he could. If only he had been faster in stopping Einon, Zandra would've still been there.

They sat in a sad silence, all feeling guilty over their loss. If it hadn't of been so silent, none of them would've heard the small, trembling voice that belonged to the girl they were surrounding.

"We need to go find Zandra."

Bowen shook his head, "We can't. Einon has many men loyal to him. And with this injury, I wouldn't be of much help."

Raven shot up and her hopeful eyes landed on Draco, "You. You could save her."

Draco looked at her sadly, "No. I can't do that."

Raven's mood quickly turned to anger, "Why not! We have to do some thing!"

Draco didn't answer, just turned his head so he wasn't looking at the angered teen anymore.

Kara went and engulfed the poor girl into a warm embrace. Her own tear-filled eyes met Raven's. She tried to word how sorry she was, but could only look at her.

"Come on. We have to go. They might decide to come back with more men." Bowen said to his party, now down one person.

Raven continued to look down, not answering. Kara had let her out of the hug and they followed Bowen to their horses. Raven could barely contain her sob as she saw Banjo, the horse her and Zan had been riding the past few days. All those memories of riding the gentle beast had just reminded her that that's all they were now: memories. Her and Zan couldn't have them again, at least not until they had got Zan back. And Raven was going to make sure they did.

Kara hopped on behind Bowen on his horse and Raven silently climbed up onto Banjo. Draco beat his wings and flew in the air above them. Bowen kicked his horse into a speedy gallop with Raven tagging a little ways behind him. She kept silent through the whole ride, no emotion shown on her face as she trailed behind the two talking people ahead of her. She could barely hear the conversation, but enough to understand some of it.

"We… find a place to stay…. I don't know… How?" She heard Bowen's whispered voice.

"But we have to….. Poor girl…. We'll find a way… I think I know how…. I'll tell you later…. For now….. try and help Raven." She heard Kara's voice whispering to Bowen.

They rode in silence after that. They didn't like the weather much either. The sun still high up with barely any clouds. You could occasionally hear a singing bird or the scurrying sounds of little woodland creatures or, most of the time, the great flapping noises and gusts of wind coming from Draco's wings.

The group didn't like the nice, warm day. It gave off a happy vibe. There was nothing happy about this day. It should be cloudy, rainy, not a sound but the clapping of thunder and lightning.

Raven sat on her saddle, back slumped and head down. No one noticed the silent tears glistening down her splotched cheeks in that position. Kara and Bowen at least stayed head held high. Someone at least needed to act like everything would turn out right. Draco, well, no one knew how Draco was fending. He had stayed face blank through the whole ride. He'd occasionally shoot a worried glance at the mourning girl behind him, but that was all.

The sun was going down now. The beautiful colors swirling together as light became dark. Raven looked up and smiled sadly at the horizon. They'd get Zan back. She knew it.

Draco stared emotionlessly at the crackling fire before him. He just stared. He didn't talk, he didn't move, he didn't even really think either. He just stared.

It seemed that's what everyone was doing: nothing at all. Just like the ride beforehand, they were all silent. There was nothing to say to each other. Nothing could be said anyways.

Bowen frowned. Ever since the girls, the dragon, and now Kara had joined his life he wasn't used to this much silence. And even when the occasional silence did happen upon them back then, Raven quickly destroyed it by busting out laughing or some other nonsense only Raven and Zandra understood. Point was, Bowen didn't like it. And he'd be damned if he wasn't going to do anything about it. Funny, it was usually the girls who thought this way. Appears they've been rubbing off on him. Damn.

Bowen suddenly snapped the twig he was using to keep the fire going. He threw it down and stood up, his tall, broad frame standing over the two females but not the still laying down dragon. The sudden noise around the camp startled the three and they looked up to see a very stern faced Bowen. Raven could almost laugh at the image if the mood hadn't have been so sad.

"Now, listen. If we're going to get Zandra back we're going to need a plan first. So… enough with… with this sad shit and….. Well quit being so silent!" Bowen finished off rather lamely with a pointed look at Raven.

They all looked at each other but otherwise kept silent. Bowen sighed in defeat. He never was good with pep talks. Commands he could do… but not this.

He was just about to sit down until he heard a half amused voice say, "Bowen, you know you shouldn't yell. You turn a very ugly shade of red when you do."

They all looked over at Raven, a half of a smile on her face; the first sign of happiness since the incident. They all looked at her, their own smiles slowly itching up their faces.

"Yah Bowen, red isn't really your color." They then turned to a grinning Draco.

Kara then started giggling and Bowen, even though he was somewhat insulted, couldn't keep the grin off his face.

Sure, Raven wasn't the go-lucky, cheery, annoying little brat she was before when Zandra was here. But at least Bowen had seen some progress. The next few days would definitely be a pain in the ass, but they'd get through it. He'd make them if he had too. That's just how Bowen did things. And, sometimes, that method worked.

So, how'd you like it? Not very long, is it? But that's just how my chapters always seem to turn out. I plan out a very long one just to end up with a short one -_- Anyways…. It might be a while till the next one gets up. We've been having family affairs going on. Upside is I'm gonna be an older sibling! But you guys don't care about this crap :D lol I'll see you guys later ;)