Sylver and Marcus moved through the taking it in turns to keep the tunnel lit.
Near the rockslide a figure dug down into the loose stones shoving the large ones aside. His form let out a slight glow making the wide sharp toothed grin sparkle as he lifted a length of wood out of the rubble. The scratched black metal cap made the figures smile widen as he saw the crest on it.
Tucking the wood into his belt he began to dig once more.
Gabriel shuddered pleasantly as he felt fingers stoking the feathers at his wing joint. He opened his eyes.
“Hey” his voice rasped his throat dry.
“Hi” Dawn said he heard the smile but underlying that was pain.
“Dawn” he didn’t want to move and when he tried Dawn's fingers tightened tugging at the soft feathers.
“Dawn we have to go.”
“Why?” Dawn grumbled he knew why but for now he was content.
Suddenly Gabriel sat bolt upright, losing a few feathers, as something brushed past him.
“What’s wrong?” Dawn asked
“Something’s down here” Gabriel hissed he fumbled in the dark for the candle and it flared to life. In the split second before the light temporarily blinded him he saw a face in the darkness. Black floppy hair and dark eyes were dulled by the wicked grin below them. When Gabriel's pupils reacted and he could see once more the face was gone and something squealed in the tunnel ahead.
Despite his injuries Dawn scrambled to his feet as Gabriel drew his sword. Nothing more came from the dark tunnel Gabriel moved forward slowly leaving his pack behind. Inch by inch they edged forward, Gabriel frowned as he spotted something laying on the tunnel floor ahead. It was small and as they moved closer Gabriel realized it was a hare, larger than a rabbit Gabriel knelt and touched it.
“What on earth?” he frowned looking up into the darkness again.
“Food?” Dawn grinned.
“No” Gabriel snapped “it could be poisoned”
“Its not” a bored voice drawled from ahead of them. Gabriel leapt up from his crouch his sword levelled at a tall, taller than Dawn's, figured throat.
“Who are you?” Gabriel growled the figure smiled that wide sharp toothed smile.
“That’s not of consequence” his voice was still calm.
“yes it is” Gabriel snarled the figure cocked his head and stepped forward Gabriel's blade passed though his throat and the stranger put his hands on his thin waist.
“It is of no consequence I cannot harm you”
“You harmed that" Gabriel pointed at the hare without taking his eyes off of this creature.
“At a cost” the figure smiled again “it takes a great deal of my energy to influence things and I'm afraid getting down here to follow you took most of the reserves I had”
“But you can walk through things” Dawn growled.
“No youngling, I cannot, I can pass through small objects but a part of me must always be in the open. For example.” He turned and walked into the wall he rebounded and landed in front of Gabriel once more. “You see?” he said “I am no spectre or spook, I am merely a friend a long way from here.”
“What?” Gabriel asked his sword still raised.
“You wont remember me either of you, but for now my name is Lou”
“Lou?” Gabriel repeated “you're right I don’t know you”
“You will my boy” Lou smiled.
“I am not your boy” Gabriel snapped.
“True” Lou said.
“What do you want?” Dawn asked.
“Want?” Lou frowned “I want nothing” he walked past them and Gabriel turned not taking his eyes from the stranger.
“Then why follow us?” he asked
“You’re in trouble” Lou said turning back to look at them both. “You have no food, no water, you have a serious head injury your highness and Dawn you're not in much better shape.”
“How do you expect to protect each other?”
“We’ll manage” Dawn snapped.
“Really?” Lou laughed then he nodded “very well you ‘manage’ six days with nothing and make sure you move quickly you're being followed.” Gabriel's eyes narrowed.
“By who?” he growled “aside from you”
“I do not pursue you any longer and I do not wish you harm” Lou said.
“Six days?” Dawn groaned.
“Yes” Lou said “give or take a few hours” Gabriel groaned too. “Dawn you have medicinal herbs in your pack do you not?”
“Yes” Dawn frowned “how did you know that?”
“Later” Lou said “for now, your highness.” Lou turned to Gabriel.
“What?” Gabriel snarled.
“Please put that down” Lou sighed looking at the blade in Gabriel's hand. “And if you would be so kind as to cook the hare. I do not eat in this form so I am no burden when it comes to meals. I can keep a small fire going for a little while for you”
“What if you’ve poisoned it?” Gabriel accused.
“Then why use almost all the strength I have to break its neck?” Lou reasoned.
“Very well” Lou sighed “will you trust me a little more if I instruct Dawn on how to make a painkiller.”
“Maybe” Gabriel said.
“Fine” Lou smiled “I shall but cook that all the same then if you want it its ready.”