The prince jumped in front of Sarah his sword drawn when Jason appeared. Sarah grabbed his shoulder, while at the same time Jason spoke.
‘I do not wish to fight you, Your Highness.’ Jason bowed to the Prince. Sarah stepped around the boy smiling. It was so good to see Jay again, she wanted to hug him. But he kept his formality. ‘I see you have completed your assignment expertly,’ he looked at Sarah and grasped her arm as he had when they last parted.
‘I brought company though. He wishes to help rescue the Princess of Vervell.’
Jason’s gaze was on the Prince as he handed Sarah her sword. ‘You wish to help in the rescue of the Princess?’ There was a hint of disbelief in his voice.
‘Very much so, sir.’
Sarah did a double take of the boy. He really was looking respectfully at Jason.
‘Then you will cooperate with us?’
‘Yes, sir.’ He stated as Sarah finished buckling on her sword. It was quite a change from his trying to lord over her. They continued down stream, first Jason, then the Prince, then Sarah. Every now and then the Prince would glance back at her. After a while he fell back to walk beside her.
‘You are working under him?’ the Prince whispered to Sarah.
‘Currently, yes,’ Sarah replied hoping it wouldn’t always be the case. The prince looked at Jason’s back.
‘I hear they call him Phoenix now, because of his escape from His dungeon.’ Sarah could hear awe in the boy’s voice. They continued on in silence for a while. The fog started to clear. ‘You weren’t one of his scouts then were you?’ the Prince whispered to her. Sarah shook her head. ‘Does Vervell have many swords woman?’
Jason chuckled, and turned back to them. ‘No Your Highness, Sarah is,’ he paused as if trying to determine what word to use. ‘Unique. She is my Friend who has lost all and has been taken in by my scout troop. While a proven asset, her presence is a bit controversial.’ The Prince began to say something, but Jason held up his hand for silence. They stood still listening to the Wolves.
‘The howls are a signal!’ the Prince looked at Sarah, clearly meaning I told you so.
‘Yes, they are,’ she whispered back, ‘now let him listen.’
Then both she and the Prince jumped when Jason let out a howl of his own. There was a pause and then a reply. Sarah didn’t understand any of it. Jason howled back one last time, before giving off an odd bird call. Then he beckoned them to keep going.
As they continued down the river, one by one the rest of the Phoenix troop joined them. Each time one of them jumped down from a tree, or off a rock, Sarah jumped. She noticed the Prince did too. Soon, the whole troop was there and they formed a ring around her and the Prince. Protectors and guards, she thought.