Sarah was getting ready to fall asleep on her feet. She felt as if they had been walking for more than a night, but the mist made it hard for her to tell. Finally it began to fade and Sarah wondered if it was because they were moving from it, or if it was dissipating. Soon after that thought she heard the sound of a waterfall, or was it Phoenix Troop sighing? By the time they reached the top of the falls, the fog was gone. The Sun was low in the sky. At first Sarah thought it was rising, but as the sky became darker she knew it was setting. In the last light of the setting sun, they made their way down the slippery rocks.
Sarah climbed down beside Jess, who was making his best effort not to seem scared. They had surely seen a lot of water this trip, Sarah thought. Once or twice she gave him a quiet direction to correct a foot or handhold. At last, they were at the bottom and Jason led them to a cave behind the falls. Sarah wondered if there were a lot of caves like this, because it was definitely not the one they’d started from.
‘We’ll camp here for a few days,’ Jason told his men and Sarah, before turning to the Prince. ‘Your Highness,’ he said with a slight bow, ‘You understand you are now our captive.’ The Prince nodded. ‘Since you have joined us willingly I will not bind you, but should you try to leave our company I will be forced to do so.’ The Prince nodded again. ‘Mathew please take the first watch, I will take the last,’ and with that Jason set up his bed roll. Mathew handed Sarah hers, and Mike set one up for the Prince.
They stayed in the cave two days, during which time Jason instructed Sarah and the Prince not to leave. There was danger of search parties spotting them if they did. Sarah enjoyed the rest and only having to cook for a few men. Men who helped her without being asked, and didn’t look at her as if she was also on the menu. Sarah immediately wished she hadn’t though of that, because now she really wanted a bath.
On the third day Jason left the cave after breakfast. During his absence the Prince took to quietly questioning Sarah about what was going on. Sarah was making dinner when his last question set her off.
‘Look,’ she told him as she stirred the stew vigorously, ‘I may have known Jay for a long time, but I can’t read his mind. I’m not an official scout so I know about as much as you. If you showed me a map I’d have no clue where I was because I’m not even from this world.’ Sarah handed him the spoon and stalked off to the furthest corner she could. Great, she thought, I’ve just told off a Prince, what faux pas shall I make next?
‘Sarah?’ Jason’s voice made her jump. She turned around to face him. ‘What did you tell Prince Hermanus?’
‘Well, he kept asking me questions about what was going on, and I couldn’t answer them, and he just asked one too many so I…’ Sarah shrugged, tossing her hands up for added emphasis.
‘Did you tell him about your world?’
‘No,’ Sarah shook his head and tried to remember what she’d said, ‘I might have mentioned I wasn’t from this world.’ Jason nodded. ‘I screwed up didn’t I? Should I apologize?’
Jason looked thoughtful as he turned back to the fire. Sarah saw the Prince was lazily stirring the stew. ‘No,’ he shook his head, ‘not unless you feel the need too.’ They watched as Prince Hermanus took a taste off the spoon. By his reaction the soup was hot. ‘You best rejoin him. I think the soup is about ready.’
Sarah did just that. The Prince gratefully returned the spoon to her. She also dipped it in the soup to taste it, but she blew on it first to cool it slightly. It was ready and she called the rest of the men over.
‘We will be moving out tomorrow,’ Jason announced as they ate. Everyone looked at him and nodded. ‘I will take first watch tonight.’