Sarah ran with all her might yet the assassin was quickly fading from sight. Suddenly the man flipped up into the trees. Sarah stumbled as a sharp pain tore into her leg. A pack of howling wolves ran past her and as she collapsed to her knees. The assassin had looked so familiar. But Jay had killed the one that had attacked her, hadn’t he?

Jay? Her mind reached out as she began to haltingly make her way back to camp. JAY? Damn it, she needed those poles or a Willow tree.

“Smith!” Sergeant Deer found her catching her breath as she leaned against a tree. “Adam, Nick, get Smith to the Willow for tending.”

“A Willow?” Sarah perked up. She’d be able to contact Jay ask him about the assassin, except, she swallowed, she had no idea how the barracks fight was faring and she scared of what she might find out.

Adam and Nick, quickly came to her aid, one on either side of her. They helped her hop across to the Willow tree, under which half the group seemed to have been gathered.

“Give her a place by the Trunk,” Prince Theodoso commanded.

“Your Highness,” Sergeant Fox interrupted politely, “there are more grievously wounded.”

“That’s a Nigiri dagger in her leg,” he insisted, “Or is the light too dim that you cannot see that?”

“But,” Sergeant Fox began to protest.

“She’s survived one assassination let us see if she survives this one,” the Prince growled. “Besides she has information I want to know.”

Sergeant Fox looked to Sergeant Deer who shrugged. “Alright make room for Smith against the trunk.”

As soon as Sarah was settled she closed her eyes. Jay? she thought out, but the only response was the faint beating of a heart with a tenuous grasp on life. Jay? she felt sadness overwhelming her.

“The assassin,” Prince Theodoso grabbed her shirt, “Phoenix claimed he killed him.”

“Are you sure there isn’t more than one?” Sarah asked, though the familiarity of the man’s face bugged her.

“There is only ever one Nigiri assassin at a time,” Prince Theo hissed back.

“Okay, so this one replaced the other,” she snapped as she began to feel queasy. 

Before the Prince could ask Sarah another question Hopeful Jeremy came over.

“Ah, ah, excuse me Your Highness, I, I need to remove the dagger from Smith’s leg,” he stammered apologetically.

“I have just one more question for her,” the Prince dismissed the Hopeful. He leaned even closer to Sarah’s face. “Is my father alive?”

“I don’t know,” she whispered back.

“You’re connected to Phoenix, ask him,” he asked fervently, gripping her shirt tighter. “Is my father alive?”

Jay? Sarah reached out yet again only to feel his tenuous grasp on life. “I don’t know,” she whispered, tears in her eyes. “Jay,” she swallowed, “Phoenix is severely wounded, I can only presume the fight is over and that your father is alive, because he would die to defend him. But I can only presume.”

Sarah looked into the Prince’s eyes hoping the young man would take her word. Hoping that the Prince would at last believe her; believe that she was on his side, despite the fact they didn’t get along.

“Phoenix charged me to defend you with my life, Your Highness,” she continued as the Prince loosened his grip on her shirt. “But Marcus did that instead didn’t he?”

“Yeah,” Prince Theodoso flopped down to sit beside her, “he did.”

Sarah leaned her head back against the Willow trying to come up with words to say. But before she could formulate anything she passed out.

The End

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