I galloped through the night and throughout the day, there was no time to rest, I had to reach Damby City as soon as possible, Lucas’ life was at stake. Finally after 3 days of nonstop travelling I made it. I slowed my horse down to a walk as I entered the city. This was my home and it felt strange being back here. My father’s castle could be seen looming over the entire city. If I had more time, I would have gone home and visited my mother and father but I was determined to get the antidote as soon as I could and get back to Lucas.
Tying my white stallion up securely, I walked swiftly to a little shop, situated in one of the alleys.
As I entered the little shop, a strong smell hit my nostrils making me wrinkle my nose in disgust, it was a mixture between strong mint and garlic and I coughed slightly as I passed the cauldron that was emitting the horrible odor.
I walked up to the counter and rang a little bell on the desk, instantly I could hear loads of noise from a door behind the counter and within minutes a scruffy man with scraggly hair wearing a black apron appeared in the doorway mumbling and muttering things under his breath.
He did a double take when he saw me before saying “My lady, what a surprise it is to see you, what can I do for you?” “Hello, Bartholomew long time no see but I am afraid I am not here on a social call” I said a look of urgency in my eyes “I need your strongest bottle of Antidote, my friend has been poisoned and he only has a few days left to live!”
Bartholomew looked back at me, a look of pure sorrow in his eyes, “My lady, business has not been so great recently and ingredients have been delayed in arriving, I am sorry to tell you I do not have any in stock nor the ingredients at the present time to brew any.”
I could feel tears swelling in my eyes again and it was only when I felt Bartholomew’s arm wrap itself around me that I realized that I was crying.
“My lady, please do not cry, come through to the sitting room in the back and I will make you some tea to calm your nerves.” “No” I protested “I must find some antidote for Lucas!” Bartholomew was gentle but firm, “You can’t go anywhere in this state” he said leading me through the door behind the counter.
He sat me down in an arm chair in the sitting room and he pottered off to the kitchen to boil the kettle.
He returned, minutes later carrying two cups of tea and placed them gently down on the table; I wrapped my hands gently around the cup and allowed the warm tea to flow through my body warming me up.
I sniffed and wiped my eyes and yawned – it had been a long journey.”
“How long will the ingredients take to arrive Bartholomew, it’s very important that I get them.” I am afraid that they will not be in Damby for a good 3-4 weeks my lady.”
At this fresh tears flooded my face, a few splashing into my cup of tea; I was shaking violently that some of the tea slopped out of the cup and onto the saucer.
“I can’t return” I wailed, taking deep breaths to try and calm myself down.
“Why can’t you return my lady?” Bartholomew said coming to sit next to me and wrapping his arm around me. “I can’t face any more hurt or upset and if I can’t get any antidote then Lucas will die and Aislinn will be inconsolable and I just couldn’t face her tears.
Bartholomew looked at me, he seemed to be considering something then he said slowly “You … could stay in the spare room at my house?” I looked up at him and smiled weakly “Thank you”
“Your very welcome my lady, stay as long as you feel necessary, you can put your horse in the spare stable.” He handed me the keys to his house then hugged me “You know where it is don’t you?” I nodded. “One more thing, should I inform your father of your arrival in Damby?” I considered then replied “No, don’t tell him, I will visit him at some point during my stay.” I then hurried from the room.
After I had unsaddled Alcina and treated her to an apple for her hard work, I let myself into Bartholomew’s house and lugged my saddle bag up the stairs to the spare bedroom. I laid down on the bed for a while, staring up at the ceiling, what could I do, I couldn’t bare returning to find Lucas dead. However I knew that the longer I was away, I knew my friends would worry, I knew Nathaniel would worry. I looked down at the beautiful engagement ring on my finger; it glittered spectacularly in the light. “Oh Nathaniel, I love you so much” I said to myself kissing the ring. “Please don’t worry about me”
I slept very uneasy that night, tossing and turning, I woke up with a sudden intake of breath after a horrible nightmare – I couldn’t go back, I just couldn’t!