I've never felt so guilty in my life before... I know it is SO SO SO VERY late but I just wasn't in the mood to write it...I truly am sorry y'all!
PLEASE FORGIVE MEH!
I'm not really happy with this chapter, couldn't get it right... but I can't keep you guys waiting for ever. So here it is!
"The answer is no, Halt," said Crowley. "Just as it was the last time you asked."
Halt huffed, "I got really tired of that word.."
Gilan found this quite funny, seeing as Halt had said, shouted, had thundered that word in his apprentice years an awful lot.
Karma does work. Gilan thought, and he smirked.
He could see the anger in every line of Halt's body as his old friend stood before him. Crowley hated what he had to do. But orders were orders, and as the Ranger Commandant, it was his job to enforce them. And Halt, like all Rangers, was bound to obey them.
"You don't need me!" Halt burst out. "I'm wasting time hunting these imitation Foldars all over the kingdom when I should be going after Will!"
"The King has made Foldar our number-one priority," Crowley reminded him. "Sooner or later, we'll find the real one."
Halt made a dismissive gesture. "And you have forty-nine other Rangers to do the job!" he said. "For God's sake, that should be enough."
"King Duncan wants the other forty-nine. And he wants you. He trusts you and depends on you. You're the best we have."
"Just so you know, I do take offense to that." Gilan spoke, trying to lighten the mood.
Everybody laughed, expect for Halt who in turn answered him.
"Oh shush Gilan, all that whining will take you nowhere."
"I've done my share," Halt replied quietly, and Crowley knew how much it hurt the other man to say those words. He also knew that his best reply would be silence—silence that would force Halt further into the sort of rationalization that Crowley knew he hated.
"The kingdom owes that boy," Halt said, with a little more certainty in his tone.
Will blushed, "I was only doing my job... everybody would have done what I did if they had the chance."
"Stop being so humble Will, you know what you did was very brave." Alyss answered him.
He blushed again, but he smiled nonetheless.
Everybody silently agreed. There was not more that must be said about Will's feat. He had been coureagous, witty, strong and smart. It shouldn't be cleared out again.
"The boy is a Ranger," Crowley said coldly.
"An apprentice," Halt corrected him, and now Crowley stood, knocking his chair over with the violence of his movement.
"A Ranger apprentice assumes the same duties as a Ranger. We always have, Halt. For every Ranger, the rule is the same: kingdom first. That's our oath. You took it. I took it. And so did Will."
"I did, didn't I? Still, I'm really grateful you came Halt." Will joked a bit, while still being very serious about it. He had been grateful, he still was.
Halt shrugged, "I made a promise." And I missed you.
There was an angry silence between the two men, made all the uglier by the years they had lived as friends and comrades. Halt, Crowley realized, was possibly his closest friend in the world. Now here they were, trading bitter words and angry arguments. He reached behind him and straightened the fallen chair, then made a gesture of peace to Halt.
"It's weird to hear you two fighting. I've always known you two as the best of friends." Pauline told Halt.
It had bothered Halt too at that time, but Will had been a more concerning matter. "Friends fight, we got over it. Don't worry Pauline."
"Look," he said in a milder tone, "just help me clear up this Foldar business. Two months, maybe three, then you can go after Will, with my blessing."
Will paled a bit at that, imagining what if..
No, he couldn't let his life be controlled by what if's. Halt had come, just in time, there's nothing else to say.
Halt's grizzled head was already shaking before he'd finished.
"In two months he could be dead. Or sold on as a slave and lost forever. I need to go now while the trail is still warm. I promised him," he added after a pause, his voice thick with misery.
"We already had been sold as slaves... but don't worry about it, we escaped on our own." Evanlyn said in complete seriousness.
Will shook his head, "On our own? You did all the work!"
"Maybe I did, but as soon as you could help again, you did. And you protected me. Don't ever forget how grateful I am towards you."
Will nodded. "I'm just as grateful towards you Evanlyn."
Evanlyn.. Her real name was Cassandra but Will was really the only one who could call her otherwise. He said it so nicely...
"No," said Crowley, with a note of finality. Hearing it, Halt squared his shoulders.
"Again that word." Halt huffed.
How it had frustrated him, he couldn't get to Will because the people he had saved had been too egoistic and greedy. Okay, that was a bit over the top, but he had really hated them all at that moment. They were all fixating on Foldar when Will was the one in need. How it had frightened him that there was a possibility Will could have be dead.
He looked at Will again, his apprentice smiled and Halt's mind cleared again.
Will was safe, forget it.
"Then I'll see the King," he said.
Crowley looked down at his desk.
"The King won't see you," he said flatly. He looked up and saw the surprise and betrayal in Halt's eyes.
"He won't see me? He refuses me?" For over twenty years, Halt had been one of the King's closest confidants, with constant, unquestioned access to the royal chambers.
"I am really sorry about that Halt, I hope you understand." Duncan told him.
"We cleared this out my lord, as much as I hated it back then. I understand your reasons now, and the matter is not important anymore. Will is back where he belongs, just as your daughter." Halt patted Will a bit on the head before Pauline continued.
"He knows what you'll ask, Halt. He doesn't want to refuse you, so he refuses to see you."
Now the surprise and betrayal were gone from Halt's eyes. In their place was anger. Bitter anger.
"Then I'll just have to change his mind," he said quietly.
"Oh no, when Halt is mad he gets crazy." Gilan said, "believe me, I've seen it on numerous occasions!"
"Mind your tongue boy! I'll have you know my plan was good! Though I'll admit it was a bit.. dangerous." Everybody snorted at Halt's comment.
"You know, I've heard about it from you, and from Gilan. But I can't wait to read about it!" Will laughed, clearly amused.
That was it, let me know what you think! New chapter will be up soon, though I'm not gonna give you guys a date.. I'm not good with deadlines..