The moon rises slowly into the sky, the stars starting to stretch and shine for the night with only a few clouds left from the warmish spring day. Sarah shivers as the air begins to grow colder as they draw closer to the City of Dragons, the weather still having a cold bite at night. Trent feels her shiver and in one swift motion his cloak has been removed, to reveal a long-sleeved cream shirt and black pants, and the cloak flutters back until it rests on her shoulders and then wraps itself around her.
Sarah shudders as she feels his cloak around her but forcers herself to seem appreciative, “Thank you.”
“You are welcome, my love,” Trent replies, causing Sarah to flinch.
She keeps quiet for the rest of the journey, thankful when a tall castle comes into view just a few feet inside the City of Dragons. She sees other homes and castles in the distance and her fears begin to rise in her chest, not knowing how she can help Eric pick the right castle to invade in order to get her back.
As if reading her mind, Sapphire pulls free a bit of Sarah’s wedding dress she had found when she wasn’t fully under the power of Trent and as they swoop down, magically drops it in front of the castle like a calling card for Eric. The dragons flitter down into the massive courtyard and land with a giant thud before those riding can slide off.
“Light the castle! The master has returned,” a voice calls out from somewhere in the darkness.
Lights begin to spring up in the courtyard as well as becoming visible in the castle windows. Two large wooden doors spring open and three men bustle out to greet them.
Sarah can see that all their eyes are as black as night and whether on their belt, around their wrist, in their ear, or around their neck, the men have on a ruby red gem that shines brightly. Sarah swallows hard since she knew that tomorrow she will have to wed this wicked warlock if Eric is unable to find her in time.
Sarah looks at Trent and does her best to sound tired, “Trent, I am not that hungry and more tired than anything. Can we eat breakfast together tomorrow instead of having dinner tonight? I would like to go to bed now, please.”
“Sapphire, take Sarah to her room then. You three see to our dragons and then you may eat and rest. Tomorrow is my… er… our wedding day and there is a lot to be done before sunset.” He claps his hands, sending a thunderous sound that causes them all, even Laeros, to jump nearly out of their skin.
Sapphire leads Sarah through an enormous entryway to where a slight spiral stone staircase sits waiting for them. Sarah takes in her surroundings, watching servants with black eyes bustle here and there as they clean or head for their own sleeping quarters elsewhere on the castle grounds. Dark gloomy banners of dragons hang on every wall along with suits of armor littering every small corner that could be found. A few tables sit beside the walls with what looks like claws and beaks.
Sarah quivers at the sight of the disembodied animal parts and looks quickly up the stairs as she and Sapphire walk up to them. They enter a long hallway with rows on each side of portraits of other evil warlocks and witches. She stops at one right before Trent’s picture, studying the face and staring into a pair of icy blue eyes that chilled her to the core. Sarah nearly jumps out of her skin when she feels the cold hand of Sapphire touch her arm, turning to face the anxious fairy. She looks down at her hand, surprised to feel that it is not as chilled as when they had first met, wondering if maybe all of the fighting Sapphire is doing against Trent is helping her reclaim herself again.
“Sarah, I just wanted to thank you, for lying the way you did to Trent earlier.” She glances around nervously to make sure that no ears were near. “What you did really saved my neck and I appreciate it. I am doing my best to fight his hold over me and if I can then I will help you escape later tonight. But I did leave a piece of your dress outside for your love to find.”
Sarah looks startled at the last words, Sapphire smiling reassuringly, “I knew you were leaving a trail for Eric to follow. I did take a few pieces from the dress you left behind and began to drop them as we flew this way. I used my magic as best as I could to get them safely to the ground where he could find them.”
Sarah smiles back at the fairy, “Thank you, Sapphire. You are a good friend. And I think I know how to break the spell on you.” She looks around, half expecting Trent to appear in front of them, but the hallways stay quiet.
“Which one is my room? I want you to stay with me tonight and into the next day so you and I can escape together,” Sarah tells the frightened fairy.
Sapphire quickly looks around as well, motioning for Sarah to follow her and she continues down the hallway until they come to the tenth door. She pushes the door open to reveal a large bedroom with a giant bed covered in the finest of silks and covers in pinks and yellows. A rug sits at the end of the bed in the shape of a dragon in every shade of pink imaginable. There is a little seat with a heart-shaped mirror with a few gorgeous gems placed in delicate gold jewelry.
Sarah makes a face and walks over to the jewelry first, grabbing them and rushing to the window. She pushes it open and throws the jewelry out of the window, not caring that it is obviously expensive, only wanting them out of sight in case they were enchanted too. She faces Sapphire and looks around the room for something that she can swap out the real gem in order to save Sapphire from Trent’s magic. “Can you make a ruby-colored gem like the one in your necklace? And then pretend to be under his spell with the black eyes and everything?”
Sapphire nods but before she can answer, she whimpers and turns to leave. Sarah grabs her arm to pull her back, but the fairy shakes her off and leaves the room without saying another word.
Sarah is left standing in the middle of her room, alone and unable to help Sapphire escape Trent’s grasp just yet. She walks over to the bed just noticing a long pale rose-colored nightgown laid out for her. She also sees a small bathroom where candles are lit, casting a welcoming shadow that draws her into the bathroom. She sees a tub full of warm water and roses gliding across the surface. Sarah doesn’t know if she should accept these gifts but a warm bath would feel wonderful after such a rough unplanned journey so she decides to accept it.
A few hours later, Sarah walks back into the room and dresses in the rose-colored nightgown, trying her best not to enjoy how the fabric feels against her skin. She walks to the window and stares outside at the night sky, the twinkling stars doing their best to comfort her. She wipes away some tears that slide down her cheeks as she peers out into the darkness wondering where her love is at that moment. Was he safe? Was he getting closer to her? Or is he still far away and won’t be able to save her before sunset the next day?
She peers down to see the jewelry below, shining in the low light from the windows below. She shudders again thinking that if she had put any on, she may be under Trent’s control right now. The wind picks up a bit, brushing her untangled hair behind her elf ears and caresses her cheek, making her close her eyes and imagining that it is Eric standing in front of her while gently touching her cheek. She raises her hand to grab his hand but instead feels nothing. She opens her eyes, looking around the room as if for the first time, her nose wrinkling at how gaudy it all looks then her heart drops again. She closes the window and moves over to the bed, slipping under the covers. Once she lays her head on the pillow, she allows herself to cry, the pillow under her becoming soaked from her tears.