Laeros lands before nightfall, his wings growing tired from flying and stopping all day. Sapphire is annoyed that Sarah has made them stop so many times saying she needed to use the restroom or that she felt sick. They were nowhere near the area she had wanted to stop for the night, but they were still closer to the City of the Dragons.
Sarah slides off Laeros’s back and nearly falls to the ground, her legs wobbly from the flying. She sits on a boulder she finds not too far from the dragon’s foot while Sapphire quickly unloads her bag and begins to hastily put together a camp for the night. Sarah stands and walks over, pulling out a bag to find a couple bedrolls inside. Sapphire stares at her as Sarah lays them out beside the spot Sapphire has chosen for the fire.
Sapphire glances at Laeros then back at Sarah, unsure how to react to the help she just received. She shakes her head and readies the sticks and moss for their fire and soon once again magical fire erupts on the pile. The flames dance up into the night sky, smoke lazily floating around them and upwards as if trying to touch the sky. Sarah sits on one of the bedrolls watching as Sapphire digs into the bag for a pan and some food to cook. She picks up a blade of grass and picks at it as she watches.
Sapphire pulls free the pan and sets it over the fire, adding some kind of meat into it to cook. “Do you like bear meat?”
Sarah nods, “Yes, quite delicious.”
“Good, because that is what we are having for dinner.”
They both grow quiet as the twigs crackle and the meat sizzles as it cooks. Sapphire pokes at the meat from time to time with a stick that she carves into a point and burned to clean it. Sarah wonders if she could escape the fairy holding her prison since the dragon has gone but something tells her that the fairy needs her.
Sarah looks again at the chocker, feeling the warmth of the fire on her face as she contemplates a way of removing it and seeing if she breaks any type of spell that may be on the fairy. She drops her gaze to her ruined wedding dress and then to Sapphire.
“You don’t have a change of clothes and shoes in that bag of yours by any chance, do you, Sapphire?” She holds up her hands, “My dress is ruined, and the shoes are killing my feet.” She pulls off her white boots that happened to be a gift from a friend and a size too small. She drops the shoes on the ground, the white smeared with mud and grass.
Sapphire nods her head as she fishes back inside the bag, pulling out simple traveling pants, a blousy red shirt, and a pair of black shoes. She takes them to Sarah then points to one of the three closest trees standing tall behind Sarah. “You may get dressed behind one of those three trees. But remember I will be watching.”
Sarah takes the clothes from her hands and nods, heading back behind one of the trees, setting the clothes down on the mossy boulder she found behind it. She quickly strips off her ruined, dirty wedding gown and let it sink to the floor around her ankles before she takes a step out of it and into the pants. She pulls on the shirt and the shoes, sitting on the boulder then just sits there for a moment. Thinking quickly, she slips onto the ground and begins to make some mud with her saliva. She dips her finger in it and begins to write on her dress about where she is being taken.
She hides the dress, hoping Sapphire doesn’t notice that she doesn’t bring it back with her but also starts to think about an excuse as to why she has left it behind. She peers around the side of the tree to see that Sapphire is still paying attention to the meat while Laeros stares hungrily at the meat. Sapphire says something to the dragon who scoffs at her then takes flight, leaving the fairy alone waiting for Sarah to return.
Sarah glances to the forest behind her, wondering if she could just slip away unnoticed for a bit and get a head start escaping her captors. But before she could take another step in the opposite direction, she hears Sapphire getting up from where she is sitting beside the fire, most likely coming to check on her. She steps out from behind the tree, startling Sapphire, and smooths down the shirt. “Thanks for the clothes. They fit pretty well, and the shoes are a bit big, but I can deal with that.”
Sapphire nods and takes her spot back beside the fire, checking on the meat again. Sarah sits across from her on the sleeping bag she will use and looks around, pretending that she had not seen the dragon leave, “Oh Laeros is gone?”
“I told him to go hunt since he was eyeing our dinner and nearly slobbering all over the place with his drooling,” Sapphire tells Sarah, making a face.
Sarah laughs, spying a bit of change in the fairy’s eyes as the fairy laughs as well. The blackness of her eyes isn’t as dark and the shine in the ruby has lost some of its sheen. Sarah ponders if she can get Sapphire to laugh and chat enough, that the fairy can break free from whatever control Trent has over her. Sarah and Sapphire continue to chat about this and that while Sapphire hands over a plate of the meat to Sarah. Sarah cuts off a piece of the meant, looking forward to trying it.
The juices slip down her throat as she eats the bear meat, her eyes closing as the mouthwatering taste hits her tastebuds and she lets out a small whimper of delight. She opens her eyes and nods, “No ill will towards my Eric but you definitely can cook bear meat way better than he can.”
Sapphire smiles a truly genuine smile, her eyes now almost a beautiful shade of blue, the ruby almost drained of its red color. She tosses a bit of a rag to Sarah, “You might want to use this on your umm.” She points to the sides of her mouth and then points to Sarah’s face.
Sara’s eyes widen and she wipes away the juices, laughing, “Oh how embarrassing. Thanks.”
They continue to laugh, Sarah being extra careful not to mention the journey or Trent’s name as she doesn’t want to lose Sapphire back to the darkness of Trent’s spell. She begins to yawn a lot, her eyelids growing a bit heavy, surprised that the journey has taken more out of her than she had thought since she is used to going for a few days without sleep when out on a journey or when in battle.
Soon, Laeros lands, licking his chops and a look on his face that says he had his fill of something he had found on his hunt. Above him, the smoke from the fire mixes with the light from fireflies, night having snuck up on them without a sound. The moon and twinkling stars brush the landscape with their nighttime glow, causing the girls to yawn and grow tired as the long day finally catches up to them. Sarah sighs heavily as she watches her grasp on Sapphire slip away and the blue drain out of her eyes, being replaced by the inky blackness of the spell. She sees the shine of the ruby return and knew that Trent had control once again.
“We better get some sleep,” Sapphire says as she crawls into her bedroll for the night.
Sarah stifles another yawn before she nods and crawls into her own bedroll, the fire’s warmth and the crickets singing around them, lulling her into safety and sleep. She had earlier planned to disappear in the night since she can use the trees as cover in the darkness, but sleep sounded like a much better plan. Maybe she will wake up before the sun gets up and disappear then, finding her way back to Eric and home. In only a matter of minutes, Sarah is in a deep sleep and Sapphire is standing above her, watching the Elf sigh in her sleep before she returns to her bedroll, a wicked smile playing on her face as she lays on her side and closes her eyes.
Sapphire opens them a moment later and is standing in a crumbling courtyard, dead plants all around and the sounds of a broken water fountain heard somewhere close by. She turns to face a tall dark figure that stands in the shadows, swaying a bit as if listening to music only they can hear.
“The potion you gave me worked. Sarah is fast asleep and will be out until morning so she can’t escape,” Sapphire tells the figure who slowly steps into the light, the murky light shining down on a man with spiked black hair and deadly crimson eyes that stare into Sapphire’s.
“Good! You have been doing my bidding well, Sapphire,” the man tells her in a cool low voice. “Bring me Sarah and you and your pet Laeros will be free as well as your family.”
Sapphire bows to him, “Thank you, Trent.”
“But you know if you had done this on your own accord without me having to use a spell on you, this would have been so much easier on all of us.”
Sapphire flinches as Trent walks around her, his hand gently brushing a breeze against her wings that made her jump and spin around to face the cruel man. “I better rest. We aren’t as close as I would like to be as Sarah kept getting sick throughout the journey today, so we had to make a lot of stops.”
“Keep her safe, Sapphire. I do not care if the journey takes longer because of her getting sick or whatever, just keep her safe,” Trent hisses at Sapphire before he turns and stalks off back into the shadows.
Sapphire bows to his retreating form before she closes her eyes and returns to her own mind and dreams that slowly turn into nightmares as they always did since Trent had put her under his control.