Hope y'all enjoy this chapter! Don't be afraid to criticize this! A big thank you to my wonderfully awesome betareader Savannah Silverstone. Enjoy and review!
Gilan put a consoling hand around Isabella. She had her face buried in her Father's prone body. Her shoulders heaved violently as she cried.
It was only a few minutes ago when Jacer had seen Maddox riding towards his daughter and how Caleb had defended her. When Maddox was about to bring his sword down into Caleb, Jacer jumped forward and blocked the stroke. Maddox had met his match.
The fight was long and drawn out, but Jacer had gained the upper hand and plunged his sword through his opponent, but the latter wasn't dead yet.
Jacer turned away from the fight too early. Isabella had screamed a warning to him, but Maddox didn't want to die without taking someone with him. He grasped his sword weakly and thrust it through the unknowing king.
Maddox died a few seconds after, and the wargals, with no one to control their minds, were not too hard for the remaining soldiers to push out of Morithia.
"Daddy…" Isabella sobbed. "Come on… Wake up…" She gently pushed him, hoping he'd start moving, talking, anything.
Despite the young girl's best efforts though, he still didn't wake up. Isabella screamed in agony.
"It's not fair!" she said in between sobs. "Why did he have to die? First my sister, now my dad!"
Gilan tried to calm the sobbing girl, but she wasn't listening.
"Even Caleb…" She sobbed. " Everyone who tries to help me ends up dead!"
"I'm not dead," Gilan said, mostly as a weak effort to cheer the young girl up.
Isabella raised her tear-stained face and looked at him. She tried to put on a weak smile, but tears were still streaming down her cheeks."
"You're right, you are still alive, but for how much longer?" She narrowed he red-rimmed eyes at the ranger.
"For as long as you need me," Gilan answered. He reached out a hand to help Isabella up. She ignored it though.
She took her Dad's sword and laid it on his chest, folded his arms over it, then gently put her fingers to his eyes and closed them, allowing the tears from her eyes to fall onto his face. She then took Gilan's hand and heaved herself up. She looked around at the dead bodies of Morithians lying all over the ground. Some were crying out in pain as they were taken to receive medical attention. Others were still, lifeless, just like her Father.
Isabella felt more tears prick the side of her eyes, ready to come out. She couldn't stand any more death. She choked for a second, then buried her head in her hands and cried again. This time, harder. Two litter bearers (*I think that is what they are called*) came and gently lifted Jacer unto a litter, and carried him away. Gilan had left to see how his comrades were.
Isabella watched the two people take her father away.
They would prepare him for burial. She thought and she slowly but surely started to acknowledge the fact that he wasn't waking up anymore. She watched as others bodies were being picked up. Tears were sliding down her cheeks again .Those were her father's people. Those were her people. Dead. Wounded.
Why? She thought. Why did all these people have to die? Heck, why do people even start wars when the price is so high?
"Isabella! Isabella!" Isabella turned at the sound of her name. Gilan was running towards her. "Come, quick!"
She followed the excited Ranger to where a black battle horse was standing, and a stunned Caleb sitting up.
Isabella stopped dead in her tracks, stunned.
I saw Maddox kill him! She thought.
"I thought you were dead!" She blurted. Caleb looked at Isabella, surprised to see her.
"I thought I was dead too." He gave a weak smile. "But I guess I just passed out." He slowly pushed himself up. He saw the still form of his dad on the ground.
Caleb gave a sad smile and felt the tears come. "He wasn't much of a father, but he was the only one I had." He quickly dashed them away, not wanting anyone to see him cry.
He saw Isabella with red rimmed eyes, and noticed that her father wasn't beside her. He put two and two together and he realized what just happened to her.
We both lost our Fathers. He thought.
He gave Isabella a sympathetic look. "I'm so sorry Izzy."
The young girl was slightly stunned. Caleb had called her by her nickname.
"He was a brave man." She said brushing off that moment of surprise; She looked to where her father had been taken."He was, but he was stubborn and impetuous," she continued.
"Just like you?" Gilan chimed in.
Isabella gave a sad smirk. "Well someone has to inherit the king's qualities."
Despite the gloomy mood and tears after Jacer had been buried and after cleaning up almost everything in the battlefield, there was a feast to celebrate the victory. Servants brought out platters of food. That was also when Isabella started to understand what the Ranger Halt had meant when he said Horace could eat everything in your home. No matter how much he ate, he seemed to find another empty leg to put it in. The musicians were playing a common song and several people were dancing. Isabella felt a tap on her shoulder.
"May I have this dance?" Caleb asked, holding his hand out. Isabella blushed slightly as she took his hand and he led her to the dance floor. Isabella saw Gilan giving her a thumbs up as he drank yet another cup of coffee. Whereas Horace could eat you out of house and home, the three Rangers could drink all the coffee in all the houses and homes of the world.
She snapped back to attention as she felt Caleb step on her toe.
"Sorry." He muttered, embarrassed.
Isabella gave him a smug smile and with all her might, slammed her foot down on his toe.
"Ouch!" He hissed. He started to smile though when he realized that it was all in good spirit.
"Some princess you are. Did your Dad teach you how to do that?" Caleb asked her with mock annoyance.
At the mention of her dad, Isabella bit her lip, keeping the tears at bay. "No, my sister did it to anybody who danced with her. I just decided to try it out on you." She managed to say.
"Well, any guy who really loves a girl will keep dancing with her, no matter how many times she steps on his toes."
"Does the same go for the girl to the guy?" He looked pointedly at her. " Let's say a clumsy boy just keeps stepping on a girl's toes. If she really loves him, would she still keep dancing with him?"
"Only if he doesn't break her toes." Isabella replied as she lightly stepped on her partner's shoes.
Caleb shook his head."I guess my toes are going to be pretty bruised tomorrow."
"So does that mean you love me?" Isabella asked.
Caleb gave her a look. You know the answer.
Isabella did, and with that she knew what was going to happen next.
She closed her eyes and felt Caleb's lips come in contact with hers. That was her first kiss.