YES I am still alive. And deeply sorry for not updating earlier. But every writer on FF knows how hard it is sometimes to combine writing and life. This chapter isn't long. It's just enough to make the story progress. You should probably re-read the previous chapter to see where we left off.

The mistakes are all mine.

I hope some of you are still reading, and that I'll receive some reviews (positive or negative, both are acceptable) to keep me going!

She dashed for the blonde Confessor and picked up a sword on the floor. Sneaking behind one Mord'Sith, Cara used one of her Agiels behind her ear, where she knew it would do the most damage. She threw the sword to Dennee who managed to catch it without hurting herself, and the fight continued. From the corner of her eyes, Cara could see that Kahlan was defending herself against her opponents. It wasn't a surprise. When Darken Rahl had sent squads to retrieve her before she crossed the boundary between the Midlands and Westland, she had always managed to get rid of them. Cara knew she could handle four Mord'Siths. However, Dennee was not nearly as strong as her sister. If something happened to Dennee, Cara knew that Kahlan would never forgive herself for not being able to protect her little sister.

With Cara's precious help, Dennee fought even harder. Minutes later, the Mord'Siths around her fell to the floor, dead. Quickly, they joined Kahlan in her fight against two women now. The brunette had already killed the others. Once they made sure that they were the only ones breathing, Kahlan hugged Dennee really tight and thanked the spirits for keeping them both safe. Cara looked away.

"Something was definitely wrong tonight. The Mord'Siths were way stronger than what they use to be. And then the soldiers were even stronger. Something happened."

"Magic, I suppose. Maybe it was Zedd," Kahlan suggested.

"Wizard Zorander's been staying in the Keep for weeks. He probably found a way to strengthen the soldiers against the Agiels or something," Dennee added.

Cara looked at them pensively, and then nodded.

"It's a possibility. But where's everyone now ?"

They were alone in front of the Palace. The villagers were gone, and there were only dead bodies in sight. They couldn't see far ahead because there was a lot of smoke and it was still dark outside. The air was hardly breathable and the whole scene had an atmosphere of surrealism.

"I don't know… This all feel so weird," Kahlan said.

"We should get inside, I have a bad feeling," the blonde Mord'Sith urged.

They were being watched; she could tell. But from where, and by whom ? Kahlan took Dennee's hand and together they started walking toward the nearest door of the palace. Cara stopped them.

"No, not here. Let's hide elsewhere. It could be a trap."

"What do you mean, a trap ? There was no Mord'Siths in the palace twenty minutes ago and they all seem to be gone," Kahlan objected with a frown.

"They were certainly looking for you, Kahlan; we can't risk your life so we'll find shelter elsewhere."

"She's right, Kahlan. Come on, I know a place where we could be safe."

The Mother Confessor reluctantly followed her sister through the dead bodies lying on the ground. She tried not to look at their faces. Some of those people she had known. Cara was walking closely behind her and her presence was comforting. Kahlan really wanted to talk to her; she had things to say, amends to make. But it would be difficult if Dennee was within earshot. That would've to wait.

"There. I know the innkeeper and he has a secret hideout inside. I'll show you," Dennee said.

Kahlan and Cara followed her inside the inn and the Mord'Sith glanced around before closing the door behind her. Dennee was already grabbing something that looked like a pint of ale on the wall behind the counter, and a wall on Cara's left pivoted and revealed a dark room. Cara raised an eyebrow and took a step toward the room but Dennee stopped her.

"Wait. We'll need some candles in there. And I'm not sure it can be opened from the other side."

"Give me a candle and I'll push the door closed behind me, then I'll see if I can open it again."

They did exactly what she suggested, and Cara quickly found that there was a similar pint of ale on a table in the secret room. She grabbed it and the wall pivoted again. Kahlan entered and smiled at her, then she sat down close to her. She was about to speak but Dennee spoke first.

"I'm going to see if there's anything to eat and drink. You stay hidden."

"Where are you going ?"

"Just in the other room, don't worry. I'll cook something for us, and then we'll need to talk about all this."

Kahlan nodded and her sister disappeared; the wall pivoting closed behind her as Cara once again active the secret mechanism. The Mother Confessor wasted no time.

"Cara, I'm sorry."

"For what ?"

"For everything. I… I should've trusted you. I know you wouldn't keep things from me that were important if it wasn't to protect me. Whatever reason you had to go to Shota, I believe it was not against me."

"Of course it wasn't, I'd never hurt you."

"It's just… With Richard being gone and Zedd spending most of his time in the Keep with Thaddicus… I'm a little on edge. I have to be the Mother Confessor again; I had forgotten how much of a burden it is."

There was a short pause and Cara took Kahlan's white hand in her leather-gloved one. Together they looked at their fingers entwined before she answered:

"I understand. You don't have to be sorry. I had a good reason to see the wench, I just… I can't tell you. One day, maybe."

Cara really felt like she couldn't tell Kahlan that Richard was dead because he had protected her. Because he had sacrificed his life to save Kahlan's.

"I'm glad to see you. Would you have come back if Aydindril hadn't been attacked tonight ?"

"I don't know," Cara answered truthfully. "Maybe, maybe not. I wasn't sure you'd want to see me."

Kahlan squeezed her friend's fingers tighter.

"Never leave me again. Promise me."

"That would be a foolish promise, Mother Confessor," Cara objected. "I don't make promises unless I know I'll be able to keep them. I'm a weapon, and as deadly as a weapon can be, it can also be destroyed, or stolen. I can promise you, though, that I'll do whatever I can to stay by your side."

Her logic made Kahlan smile and Cara couldn't help but smile back. The little voice inside her head made fun of her for smiling like an idiot teenager, but she ignored it. It felt incredibly right to be with Kahlan again. Of course she had missed her but until now, she hadn't realized how much. They sat in silence but they never let go of each other's hand until Dennee came back into the room with two plates full of food.

"I only found a bunch of things that seemed eatable. We'll have to share."

"Thanks, Dennee."

Cara nodded her approval and together they ate, being as quiet as possible in case someone walked in the inn. It was strange, Kahlan thought, to see Aydindril so devastated and silent. She had been into the battlefield countless times before but it was different this time because it was her home. Aydindril was her city and she had let it vulnerable to invaders. To Mord'Siths. She glanced at Cara and was surprised to see that the blonde was already looking at her. Kahlan didn't look down; she thought that her friend would avert her gaze but she did not so they kept staring at each other for a minute before Dennee cleared her throat.

"Anyway, we should probably sleep here tonight and come up with a plan."

"We need to find Zedd," Kahlan answered right away.

"Zedd will find us," Cara countered immediately.

She was not about to let Kahlan go out of this inn until she was sure the surroundings were safe.

"So that's settled. I'm going to take first watch since I'm not tired. It must be something like a little after midnight, so I'll wake one of you in three hours. Go get some sleep, there are beds upstairs."

Dennee's tone was firm and she didn't wait for an answer as she walked toward the window near the door and kept looking outside, completely ignoring the two other people in the room.

"Okay, let's go. Come on, Cara."

Kahlan took the blonde's hand and led her upstairs. All the rooms were empty, and some of them had apparently been unoccupied even before the events of the night.

"I'm taking this one. Where will you be ?"

Cara looked at Kahlan incredulously.

"Are you kidding me ? I am not letting you out of my sight. I am sleeping in the same room as you."

She walked past the Confessor and entered the bedroom.

"There's no one. You can come in."

Her friend's authoritative tone made Kahlan smile. It was really good to have Cara back.

"I can sleep on the floor, I won't mind. I probably won't even be able to sleep anyway."

"Don't be silly, Cara. We shared more than beds during our quest."

That was true. Since they were both women, they had been paired off with each other every time they had slept in an inn, and they often had caught glimpses of each other's body during their swims in lakes. Cara simply shrugged and took off her boots before sitting on the edge of the bed.

"I think I should take the side that's the closest to the door. My body will be a rampart and no one will lay a hand on you as long as I'm alive."

Kahlan pretended to think about it for a second, then she made a worried face.

"What if they use the window ?"

The look on Cara's face was priceless. Kahlan laughed and walked over to sit beside the Mord'Sith, then she hugged her tightly.

"I'm just messing with you, Cara ! Come on, let's sleep. Dennee will wake us soon enough."

The blonde grunted in response and they both slipped under the covers. The bed was soft and warm, and Kahlan was exhausted. Unconsciously, her mind already numb, she snuggled against Cara and drifted off to sleep. For a while, the Mord'Sith just lay there, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. Her mind was reeling. She was trying to make sense of the events of the night. She had to find out what had happened and what the Sisters of the Agiel were up to. But before she could come up with a plausible hypothesis, sleep claimed her and her arm automatically brought Kahlan closer to her as she sighed softly.

I have a vague idea of how the story will end, but there's no written chapter after this one so it'll take some time to come. Hopefully less than this one has.

Waiting for your reviews now :)