Waking up was harder than Sarah had expected. It was Adam’s wolf call that finally jolted her into action. Untangling herself from blanket and japon, she set about packing. He was waiting at the tree base, Splinter at the ready, when she jumped down.
“Less than two days,” his voice sounded more confident that it had the night before.
“Good.” Sarah took her bearing and they headed off. “Are there any Wolf troop near?” she asked.
“I don’t know, but hopefully there is. If we can tell one of them they can spread the news.”
“Good thought,” Sarah nodded.
It had rained just enough last night to cool the air and wet the ground; ground that was covered in slippery leaves and mud. Both Sarah and Adam had lost footing at least twice while climbing the slope before them. If only there was a way around she thought as she grabbed a tree to keep from sliding backwards, but going around would take more time than they had.
Cresting the ridge, they heard voices. She and Adam immediately dropped and crept carefully forward through the brush to get a good view of the valley. Sarah smiled as she spied the two people below.
“You sure you don’t want to check the Splinter Your Highness?” the scout spoke as he ambled along behind the Prince.
“No,” the Prince used his sword to hack at a branch in his path.
“We need to warn them!” Adam started to stand.
Sarah placed a hand on his arm as the scout below looked up the ridge. “Wait,” she hissed as the pair came closer.
“The Splinter would tell us to go over that ridge.” The scout gestured towards where Adam and Sarah were hiding.
“Smith,” Adam looked at her puzzled, “Scout Brian's seen us and we have to tell them.”
“Of course he saw us, and we are going to tell him, but we're going to follow the rules. I’ll engage the Hopeful while you talk to the Scout."
Sarah noticed that the Prince, though he’d protested, had begun climbing the ridge. She watched as the two came closer. Scout Brian was clearly aiming for them while the Prince was still unaware there were others out here. Timing it just right Sarah jumped and slid down the ridge only to grab a sapling and stop directly in front of the Prince.
“You?” the Prince jumped, startled.
“Your Highness you need to come with me,” Sarah told him as Adam slid down to speak with the Scout.
“What?” The Prince looked at her confused. “The rules were to fight to first blood and then you, the looser, would head back your base camp. You can’t just…” He stopped speaking as Sarah stepped closer.
“Look Your Highness,” she stared into his eyes. “We don’t have time to play games. General Wholowski is in these woods and Phoenix has charged me to protect you.”
“I don’t need a woman’s protection!” the Prince cried as he stepped back, sword and knife at the ready.
“Fine!” Sarah glared at the boy and drew her own weapons. “We’ll do this the hard way.”