A/N: Hello everyone. Let's get right into it, shall we?
Pen: Silver, Blaze, and all related characters belong to Sega. Sword and myself belong to the author and we are continuing this travesty for I'm Not Mad- I'm Alice.
Sword: Who we thank cause this has been fun, fun, fun! And we also thank WingedArcher1, Tempest of Reach, ERA OF ERICK, Mew Aqua Spirit, Ember the Flame Guardian, Nab450, Awesome anon, and bronze andromeda shun. Now let's get back to the action! Go, go, go!
Chapter 7- Mount Rohesdow
The way to the mountain was across a short, wide, grassy field. The kind of field one could spend an afternoon in, lazing about to pick out shapes in the clouds or bringing a lover to enjoy nature's simple beauty. No thoughts were given to that by the three, as they tore up dirt and root, streaking toward their goal.
The trio galloped toward Mount Rohesdow, staying close to one another. Every now and again, someone would pull out ahead by a sliver. Then the other two would catch up. Back and forth, they strained for dominance in the race.
At the base of the mountain was a small, ringed forest. Stewart was the first to reach the trees. He hopped off his horse and tied it to a trunk. He ordered it to stay put as Blaze and Silver started to tie up their steeds.
Stewart made a beeline for the mountain. He ran up a smooth path that curved around the side. Silver followed, checking that Blaze was keeping up. She stumbled as the path steeped. Silver reached out his hand, helping her along much to her surprise.
"Thank you," Blaze said, seemingly bewildered at his gesture. He nodded and continued on.
After over an hour of starts, stops, and tiring running, the path ended in a sharp drop. Stewart looked around, trying to find some way to continue. Blaze immediately ran to the wall of the mountain. She latched onto the small footholds there, unseen until she started using them. Silver and Stewart joined her, heaving their weighted bodies up higher and higher. Digging into the thin gaps was difficult, as the armor did not allow Silver much room to gain a firm grip. He watched Blaze, wary of her slipping. Thankfully, she reached the end, flopping onto a higher path with no incident.
No incident that was until all three arrived on the upper path. As they took a moment to catch their breaths, a great rumbling resounded overhead. Silver whipped his head up. Mighty boulders and their rocky children were tumbling down. Tumbling down to greet the knights with open arms. "Rock slide!" Silver shouted.
Silver shoved Blaze forward, out of the rocks' way. Stewart rushed ahead, narrowly escaping. Yet Silver was beaned on the head by a small rock. He staggered long enough for a boulder to flatten his back. "Gah!" he cried. He struggled to lift the rock off, but he was trapped. The rock slide subsided as quickly as it had began.
The other two knights rushed to his side. They pushed the boulder off, then Blaze propped Silver's head up in her lap. He hissed, his entire vision flashing red. His back felt like thousands of daggers were stabbing him. "You think he's broken something?" she asked Stewart.
"Possibly," Stewart said. "That was a large boulder. Either way, I don't think he is any condition to finish the race."
"No, no," Silver said, clutching at Blaze's shoulder. "I'm fine, Blaze. I'm fine." He leaned heavily against her, attempting and failing to raise himself. The sky above blacked out when he moved a muscle. Finally, he collapsed limply in Blaze's arms, flopping his head to the side. He noticed that the other two had become eerily quiet. He looked up, fixing his eyes dead ahead. They were staring at him. "What?"
"What did you say?" Blaze asked. Silver hazily retraced what had happened. His breath hitched in his throat. He had let the cat out of the bag! Blaze reached for his head. Silver held his helmet down. However, the slightest movement propelled paralyzing throbs through his spine. He dropped his hands, running them along his back to soothe it. His helmet was lifted off. Blaze gasped and dropped the helmet. "Silver?"
The secret was out. He blinked and focused on her. She was at a loss for words. Silver would have laughed at her ever-expanding eyes behind her slitted visor, mouth agape in shock expression if it did not feel like someone was twisting his back with a wrench. "Did you say 'Blaze'?" Stewart asked, coming closer. "As in Princess Blaze?"
The lizard slinking up behind her back. Silver rolled over, ignoring the losing bouts against his back. "Stay away from her!" he said, wobbly using Blaze as a support. "I know what you plan to do! Get behind me, Blaze!" He faltered and fell to his knees.
Blaze kneeled beside him, throwing one of his arms around her neck. She lifted up her visor. "Silver," she said, still dumbfounded by his presence. "What are you even doing here? I told you not to get involved!"
"I'm not," he said, grinning. "Think of my participation as helping you practice even more." He laid his head on her shoulder. "I couldn't let you enter alone. I had to help you get out of this situation." He sighed and closed his eyes. "Sorry about the sword fighting round." Silver inhaled sharply as another stinging shot of pain ran through his back. "I didn't mean it. I got too caught up in all this and thought about winning for a while. But I'm fighting for you to win again. I want you to have what you want. I'll give my all to help free you of this arrangement"
"You idiot," she said. Then she pecked his cheek. "You brave idiot. I love you."
Silver's eyes popped open. He looked up at her, his fear holding the reins of his hopes tightly, lest they be crushed. "Really?" When she nodded, he returned her kiss. "I love you too." That felt wonderful to say. Silver could have repeated that one phrase to her forever.
"I know," she said. "It was kind of obvious." He blushed heavily as she chuckled. She nestled her face into his quills, sighing happily.
"So you entered all for her?" Stewart asked, reminding them he was there. He lifted his visor. "You did all this because you love her?"
"Yes," Silver said, returning to the matter at hand. He grabbed his helmet and slid it back onto his head. "And I'll do anything to protect her. Anything." He stood again with Blaze's help.
"And I will do anything to protect him," Blaze said, conjuring a fireball in her hand.
Stewart thoughtfully studied the pair. After several tense moments of his eyes flicking back and forth between them, he nodded. "I respect that." He stepped aside. "Go. Get the flag and do what you were planning to do."
Silver was taken aback. He lifted his visor, surprised by the offer. "Just like that? Why?"
"I know what it's like to strive for the ones you love. Lord Alans has ruined too many lives already. I will not be party to ruining any others." He bowed to Silver. "I apologize for my involvement with your imprisonment. But I had my own reasons."
"Your family," Silver said, recalling the conversation he overhead.
Stewart bristled. "Yes. I am in great debt to Lord Alans. I cannot even afford the exorbitant interest, let alone the original amount. I have nothing to repay him with, so he plans to sell off my family and land if I don't do what he says. He can keep my land for all I care, but I will not lose my wife and children."
"So what will you do now?" Blaze asked.
He shrugged. "Go into hiding. I'll take my family and live in the forest or something." He stepped closer to them. Blaze's fireball grew larger, but he held up his hands. "Before then, I plan to reclaim a shred of my honor. I will testify that Silver did not commit any harm to Lord Alans' men."
"Really?" Silver asked. An immense weight was lifted off his shoulders. "Thank you."
"It's the least I can do. You have fought as well as any knight I have ever faced and for one of the best reasons I could ever think of." Stewart gingerly patted Silver on his shoulder. "Come. We have a long way to go to help the princess reach the top."
"Oh, isn't this just touching?" The trio turned toward a cliff where a pile of rocks and boulders rested. Wincott, sans his helmet, leaned over the side, sneering down at them. "True love and reconciliation. It almost brings a tear to my eye." He pretended to wipe one of his eyes.
"What do you want?" Silver growled, curling his fist.
"Well, if it isn't the little vermin from before. Still far below me, I see." He spat at Silver, nailing the ailing hedgehog between the eyes. "It's not what I want, but what Lord Alans wants," Wincott said. "You see, he had a feeling that Sir Stewart would be too weak-willed to do what was necessary. So he sent me along. Paid quite handsomely too." He laughed as he propped his foot against a heavy boulder. "But I must admit I'm at a loss here. After all, Alans promised me the princess for my own personal use once he finished with her. It would be a shame to end such beauty. Tell you what, Your Highness. Come up here and I'll make sure you stay safe."
Blaze hurled her building fireball toward Wincott. He ducked and snarled at her. "Fine. I tried to be nice. Have it your way!" He pushed the boulder off, aiming it straight at Silver and Blaze.
"Run!" Stewart ordered. He pushed the pair along. Silver's labored hobbling slowed Blaze down considerably. So Stewart threw Silver's other arm over his neck. They ran forth, dodging the rockslide. Round and round the path they went until finally, they reached Wincott's height. But the dog was nowhere to be seen. He had stopped pushing the rocks a while ago.
"Up there!" Silver said, pointing near the peak. An armored figure was racing to the top. Silver struggled to give chase. Blaze held him back.
"No, you can't," she said. "You're hurt. We need to take you to the infirmary."
"You can't! You'll lose!" he said.
"I do not want anything to happen to you," she said, pleading with him.
He grabbed her shoulders. "I'll be fine. I'm not giving up now and I won't let you either. Not when we're this close." He stood firm, refusing to back down. "You're going to win, alright?"
She relented, sighing and letting go of him. He ran ahead while Blaze and Stewart followed. They lost sight of Wincott for an hour, but picked him up when they neared the top.
When they were close to the peak, the ground leveled out into a smoother surface. In the circular area was the tip of the mountain. And on the fine point of the craggy tip, there was no sign of the flag. Stewart looked over the edge as Silver walked toward the base.
"He couldn't have passed us," Stewart said. "We would have seen him." Blaze joined him, examining the ledge for any sign of Wincott. They each headed in opposite directions, scouring the mountainside.
Silver walked around the base of the mountaintop. As he searched the sides, he saw a hint of red attached the speared peak. Silver continued to circle the base. Could that be the flag?
The thought had barely crossed his mind when a dropping foot smashed into his nose. Wincott had leapt from his hidden perch on the peak and now raced for Stewart's turned back. Silver barely registered the event as his vision flounced around. "Behind you!" Silver cried, holding his nose. But he was too late in his warning.
Wincott kicked Stewart over the edge. He jumped down after the lizard fell. Blaze helped Silver up and they ran after the two knights.
Silver peered over the ledge. Down below, Stewart was lying motionless on the path. Wincott was leaning over the body, tearing off the armor. The way down was not too far. Silver signaled to Blaze to follow him. She nodded and they quietly climbed down to the path. Silver was clumsy in his descent and dropped hard onto his back for the last several feet. Blaze quickly landed beside him and clamped his mouth shut with her hand as he moaned.
They could overhear Wincott nearby, talking to Stewart. "Just need to borrow your armor for a bit," he said, giving Stewart a swift kick to the head. "Would look pretty silly going down there without it seeing as I'm not really supposed to be here." He yanked off a greave and attached it to his arm. "Bit of a tight fit."
Blaze and Silver crouched low. They waddled over to Wincott. Silver counted to three on his fingers. On three, they tackled Wincott. Blaze held down his shoulders, punching him for good measure. Silver searched his waist and found the flag tucked away. Silver yanked it out. He put it away in his own armor, then helped Blaze. Together, they socked Wincott, effectively knocking him out.
"Whew!" Silver said, leaning back. He smiled at Blaze, giving her a thumbs up. As his adrenaline subsided, his back began to act up once more. He handed her the red flag. "Take it. Go on ahead."
"Not without you," she said.
They left Wincott behind, alive, but not in any condition to fight. Their larger concern was Stewart. No amount of slapping or yelling brought him back from his unconsciousness. So Silver and Blaze carried him down the path. Their progress was slow going and many dangers lurked when they had to shimmy back down the mountainside. During that leg of the journey, they had had to hang Stewart's body between them since he was too heavy for either to handle alone.
After a few hours, the end was in sight. Silver was grateful for the welcome view of the forest so close. His back was worsening. Not that he allowed Blaze to know. Whenever she checked on him or even looked his way, he beamed, stretching his lips too wide and saying he was "A-Okay!"
There were a few occasions he caught her staring at him. Not questioningly or concerned about his health. Just staring, as if he were some foreign creature she was trying to make sense of. She would turn her head when he returned the stare, leaving him to wonder what was causing her curious looks. He asked her once what was the matter, and she had shaken her head. "Nothing," she had told him.
As they were nearing the end of their descent, Silver spotted pebbles rolling down the mountain. He stopped Blaze, pointed to the pebbles, then upward. "Rockslide," he said. They could not see any oncoming boulders trying to crush them yet. The pair slowed down to a snail's pace, carefully watching for any loose rocks.
Stewart finally awoke when they went down another level. They tore their eyes away from the mountain, deciding there was no more danger of a rockslide, and set him down. Blaze crouched down beside him. "How do you feel?"
"Awful," he said.
"Can you stand?" she asked. He nodded. Silver and Blaze helped him to his feet.
"Rragh!" Something heavy collided into Silver's head, roaring a garbled battle cry. He tussled with the object until he was underneath it. He looked up a saw a very bruised, very furious Wincott. "Let's see how you like it!" he shouted, punching Silver. He reached around and produced an exceptionally long knife. He twirled it briefly, the anger giving way to a horrifying, violent madness. Then jammed at Silver's chest.
Wham! Blaze bum rushed Wincott, throwing him off Silver and the mountain. Wincott screamed as he disappeared amongst the trees below. He had dropped his knife after Blaze attacked him. Stewart took the knife with him, admiring its length and sharp edges.
It was only by some miracle the trio managed to rush down the mountain as fast as they could. Stewart was not a burden anymore, but they had to travel slowly for him and Silver. When they finally reached their horses, Silver draped himself over the saddle. His spine felt like it was about to shatter into a million pieces if he put any more pressure on it. Stewart helped him sit straight up. They all lowered their visors and raced toward the finish line together. The sun was dipping into the sky in the distance, casting long shadows behind them.
The audience was certainly shocked by all three returning. Even more so when Silver and Stewart halted to allow Blaze to cross the finish line first. She slid off her horse, holding up the flag to thunderous applause. Silver and Stewart crossed afterwards. Silver collapsed next to his horse when he slipped off. Brimble and Slate were beside him in an instant.
"Good on ya!" Slate said, helping him up and slapping him on the back.
"Yeowch!" he cried, falling down once more.
Brimble lifted Silver up. "Hurt your back?" Silver nodded. "We'll get you to the infirmary."
"Please," Silver said.
They walked toward the edge of the field while Thomas congratulated Blaze. "Well done, Sir Percival! Well done! Now, I suppose you'll want to announce what you desire, eh?" The crowd was settling down, waiting with bated breath for Blaze to make her decision.
"Yes," she said. She turned to Silver. "I-"
"Hold it!" Silver turned and could not believe his eyes. Wincott, looking worse for the wear, but upright, was riding toward the center of the field. He approached Blaze, pointing his finger right in her face. "This knight," he said, heaving, "is an imposter. It is the princess in disguise!"
Murmurs spread throughout the crowd. Blaze removed her helmet, spurring the low mutterings to rise into shocked outcries. Wincott continued, throwing his hand in Silver's direction. "And that is Silver, the fugitive you have been seeking! Arrest him!"
Silver removed his helmet as well. Immediately, the soldiers were upon him, holding his arms and legs. He caught Wincott smiling, satisfied atop the black horse.
"Hold it!" Blaze said, pushing past the ring of guards. "He is innocent. Sir Stewart has testified that Silver did no wrong."
Stewart dismounted his horse and lifted his visor. "It's true. I'm ashamed to say I played a part in framing Silver. He did not harm a hair on Lord Alans' men. He never had a chance to as Lord Alans and his men attacked Silver first."
Blaze, Brimble, and Slate had to pull the guards off of Silver. As they stood defiantly before the soldiers, Blaze faced the advisors and judges. "Since I am the victor of this tournament, I believe the reward was that I receive anything I desire, correct?"
"That is correct," one of the advisors said slowly. He was trembling as if he could sense what Blaze was about to ask. The others were busy finding their dropped jaws after the stunning revelation.
Blaze took a deep breath. She twisted her hands around and looked at her feet. Silver touched her hand, intertwining his fingers with hers. "Go on," he urged her. "Ask for what you wanted."
She grinned and raised her head high. "You say you want me to have an arranged marriage. I will not allow that. I will not marry someone I did not choose of my own volition. Therefore, what I desire," she paused, squeezing Silver's hand, "is to marry Silver."
If the uproar was loud before, it was overbearing now. The spectators were on their feet, the knights and lords were protesting Blaze's entry in the first place, and the judges lost their tongues again. Silver gawked at Blaze, shocked speechless. He would not have believed she requested what he heard if it was not for the public going crazy. The one thing he had wanted. The one thing and she had asked for it. He was ecstatic. She wanted to marry him. Him. Just as he wanted to marry her. He felt light-headed. She glanced at him, her face for once frightened, albeit only a little. He realized his silence was not helping matters, so he squeezed her hand reassuringly.
When the soldiers had finally calmed everyone down, the same advisor addressed Blaze. He appeared more relaxed, but Silver sensed something ominous arriving. "You have indeed been victorious. Even though the circumstances are not what we expected, we will honor your claim to the prize. And while we are happy that you have chosen a husband, I'm afraid it is not allowed. You of all people should know that royalty cannot marry commoners."
And like that, the dream was ripped away once more. Silver could not believe it. They had been so close. So close to achieving what they both wanted. "I'm afraid you will still have to marry as well," the advisor continued. "The throne must have a king. So-"
"One moment!" Stewart said. He stepped forward and bowed before the advisors' stand. "You say that the law forbids royalty to marry a commoner, yes?"
"Yes," the advisor said. "It had been that way for many generations."
"Would you allow the princess to marry a knight?" he asked.
"Of course! A knight is noble after all."
Stewart turned around. Blaze smirked, but Silver had failed to catch on. Stewart walked over to Silver and planted a hand on his shoulder. "I can think of no fine fellow more worthy of knighthood than this man here."
"You beat me to it," Blaze muttered. "I was just thinking that." She turned to the advisors. "Then I request Silver be knighted."
The advisors convened shortly, whispering and gesticulating to Silver. Their conversation dragged on forever, with furious stabbing fingers and heated mumbles. Silver constantly caught Blaze's eye. He chewed and gnawed his lip raw. At long last, the advisor turned to Silver and said, "Very well."
He brightened. He faced Blaze, who lowered him to one knee. "Silver?"
"Yes?" he said, croaking. He cleared his throat. "Yes?"
"Do you vow to protect the royal family, the throne, and the kingdom?" she asked.
"I will protect them."
"Will you uphold the sanctity and prestige of your position by your actions?"
"I will uphold them."
"Will you honor the pact you have entered into, even if it requires your life to uphold?" Stewart handed her his sword.
"I will honor it."
Blaze tapped one shoulder, then the other with the blade's tip. "Then I declare thee, Sir Silver. Arise."
However, Silver did not obey her. He took the sword out of her hand, jammed it into the ground, then lifted Blaze's hands in his own. "Princess Blaze?" he asked. His heart was hammering his ribs, seeking a way to break out of his chest. His tongue was swelling, sticking to the roof of his mouth. He would have to be fast or he would lose his nerve. "Nothing would please me more than to marry you, Your Highness." Blaze was covering her own mouth. Silver saw her moist eyes that refused to cry before the crowd. "Will you take me as your own? Will you marry me?"
"Yes," she said, her voice muffled by her fingers. She spread the fingers apart and announced her reply in a louder tone. "Yes, I will! I will marry you!"
Silver stood and embraced her. Blaze buried her face in his shoulder. He felt the tears staining his fur. It was chilling, but a good kind of chill. The kind of cool sense one has diving into a pond on a hot summer's day. Silver held her tightly, shielding her face from all the onlookers that cheered and applauded the new couple.
Brimble, Slate, Stewart, and Gardon were all backslapping one another and shouting encouraging words over the audience. The advisors were left dumbfounded, unable to process the speed at which all the events had happened.
But over the happy praise and goodwill, one sound pierced to the heavens. A shriek. A frightened, pained yelp that tore Blaze from Silver. She wiped away any trace of tears from her eyes. They searched for the source of the yell and heard it again. "No! Please!"
Everyone on the field parted to reveal Lord Alans. He was surrounded by his guards, all on horseback. Wincott stood to his side, bolstering the troop count with his own men. All in all, there were at least fifty armed soldiers, ready to attack. Atop Alans' horse was a young woman, a knife held to her throat.
"Drouet!" Blaze said. She conjured a fireball in her hand. "Let her go!"
Alans tutted and pressed the knife closer to Drouet's neck. "I wouldn't do anything rash if I were you, Princess," he said.
"What do you want?" Blaze asked, her fireball dissipating into thin air.
"That's more like it," he said. "I want you to come with me."
"Why?" Silver asked.
"I was not talking to you, peasant!" Alans snapped at Silver. He regained his composure and turned to Blaze. "Come, Princess. You must get ready for your wedding." Blaze gave him a strange look. "I did not come all this way just to lose. I shall marry you one way or the other, dead servant or no." His knife hand started to inch slowly across Drouet's neck.
"Stop! I will come!" Blaze said.
"Good." He nodded to Wincott, who trotted forth with the widest smirk one could muster.
Wincott helped Blaze onto his saddle, then turned to Stewart. "I believe you have something of mine." He held out his hand expectantly. Stewart gave him the long knife back and nodded. "Thank you for keeping it safe. Allow me to repay you." He raised his leg and slammed the heel of his foot into Stewart's face.
Silver caught the knight and propped him up. He glared at Wincott, who guffawed and went back over to Alans. Along the way, he butted Blaze firmly with the handle of his knife. She growled, spinning to retaliate, but one more hit and she was out like a light. "Good work," Alans said.
"You just have to know where to hit," Wincott said, flipping his knife playfully.
"Try to follow us and they both die!" Alans' warning froze Silver as the lord and all the soldiers raced off.
"Come on," Stewart said, mounting his steed. "We have to go after them!"
"But the princess," Thomas said, coming to his side. "He-"
"-will kill her either way," Silver told him. "Stewart's right. We have to save her." Now the only question remaining would be where they were heading. Alans had mentioned a wedding, but the town chapel was hardly what one could call impregnable. All that was left was- "The castle chapel," Silver said.
Gardon agreed. "My thoughts exactly. You guys run on ahead. I'll round up every soldier in town."
Silver climbed on his horse and found Brimble and Slate ready to follow on their own horses. "We're coming too," Slate said, wielding a pair of knives. Behind them, the soldiers were waiting for the command to rescue Blaze.
"We'll help too," one of the knights called from the crowd.
"So will I," someone in the audience shouted.
"I'll help the princess!"
Everywhere, peasants were grabbing whatever blunt object they could find to use as a weapon. Most of the knights and lords present sided with the soldiers and watched Silver. He swallowed hard and grabbed his reins. "Very well!" he said. "Thank you all! Now, let's save Princess Blaze! To me!" He spurred his horse onward toward the castle.
"Fall out!" Stewart ordered. He fell in line behind Silver. A massive thundering noise followed. Silver glanced over his shoulder and was heartened at the swarm of people running after him. He set his eyes on the castle in the distance. Hold on, Blaze. I'm coming.
A/N: It's all coming to a close now.
Sword: What will happen?! I'm too excited! I need to headbutt something! Pen!
Sword: *headbutts him* I knocked him out! Now is the part where I throw my head back and laugh. Ready everyone? *laughs*
While I get some ice and smelling salts, let us know what you think. We'd really like to hear from you guys and girls. Also, since I am kind of curious if anyone has been able to spot all the Robin Hood references, let's make a game of this. Anyone who can name the most references so far within a week gets a request. You have to name at least five, but the more the better. Send us a pm so people can't copy your answers. And remember, that those on DA will be competing too! Have fun!