I had taken hold of Edmond and held him tight as we headed down to the path. That was a good thing because once we were on the trail, the others began to run and and I kept up with them. We took the curving road down to the bridge at a speed that was not natural. I had never moved this quickly before, where the wind blew in my face and the world seemed to melt featureless, as we passed. I suspected Edmond didn't like this any better than he liked flying. I thought I could hear him muttering things, but the rush of air past us carried the words away before I understood them.
The sense that we were running out of time came stronger as we moved. Bog Bob had wedged himself into the opening above us, blocking out the light -- but the walls glowed, leaving odd streaks of light in my sight the farther down we went. This did not even feel like the same place until we began to slow and I could see the familiar path -- and the bridge.
"That was not fun," Edmond complained when we'd finally reached a sedate pace. He looked around and then gave a sigh. "But at least it wasn't long."
"And you didn't have to run," I added. Now that we were stopped, I felt winded and lightheaded. The others started moving on ahead of us and I was glad enough not to be in the lead.
Right until I heard some words.
"What are you going to pay me to cross?"
With a snarl, I grabbed Edmond up and held him close, making certain he didn't lose the ability to speak, didn't go flying off the bridge, and did not become a snack for the fluffy white thing that sat in our way.
Lord Cayman looked shocked when I pushed my way forward and faced the creature once more.
"You again!" it shouted and took a nervous step backwards.
"Yes, me. And Edmond. Are we really going to have this conversation again?"
The thing backed up several more steps and then scrambled to the edge of the bridge where it apparently had some sort of bridge. In a moment it disappeared over the edge.
Lord Cayman turned to stare at me, one eyebrow raised. The others certainly seemed to take me more seriously.
"He didn't want to let us across before," I said with a shrug. "I disagreed. There are other problems up ahead. A group of cute little things, but they led to the mist creatures that threw me off the bridge and we had to deal with the dinosaurs. After that it was circle back to the glass city. I kind of hope we can avoid the jungle romp this time."
Lord Cayman gave a quick smile. How odd, but I felt as though we were connecting on some level, maybe even as family. Well, if you had a really strange family. Which, yeah, I did.
So we headed out over the bridge, Lord Cayman and I in the lead, until I put Edmond down and he headed out ahead of us, though not far. He knew how dangerous this place could be. And it wasn't long before I heard something thumping along the path ahead of us.
But he, unexpectedly, charged ahead into the shadows and mist. I rushed after him and saw something huge and white --
Edmond caught up with the huge cat and twined around his legs, purring loudly. I would have done the same. Lord Snow looked just as happy to see Edmond and the rest of us, too.
"Mark! Oh, and Lord Cayman -- praise the Gods. I assume you realize we need you to open a door?"
"Yes, Lord Snow. I'm glad to see you looking so well."
"And I feel the same," he said with a proper bow of his cat head. "The others are waiting at the end of the bridge where it meets a solid wall and nowhere else to go. I told them I would come back and try to find Mark, making them think this would be a way to get out. I had only hoped to find Mark so that we could then find you, Lord Cayman. Apparently, I wasn't needed."
"I would have liked your help," I said and put a hand on his head. I even won a slight purr. "I am happy to have Lord Cayman with us already, though. I would really like to get out of this place."
"And soon," Lord Cayman agreed. "Once Potilia has the Glass City down, I doubt she's going to pause to come after us. In fact, that might be our bst chance -- that she is so angry, she doesn't consider her own weakness."
"Why is she so strong that can take all of you on?" I asked. I realized there was a lot here that I didn't understand.
"She was probably the first fae to find this realm," Lord Cayman explained as we walked along the bridge again. Edmond and Lord Snow led the way. I knew they would be careful since they had both gone this way before and knew the dangers. "Being the first fae would have given her access to powers none the rest of us can gain. I also suspect she didn't like being the only fae here and has set out nets to gather others who happen to pass close by. We had to leave Elsewhere in a hurry or else I would have chosen a better path."
"But she can't stop you from leaving?" I asked.
"I have specific powers she cannot stop, as long as I get a chance to use them," he said. He stared ahead. "She is still going to try to stop us."
The bridge trembled. We didn't have much time.
To Be Continued. . . .