Friday, September 08, 2017
Flash Fiction # 267 -- Dusty & Friends/12
"I think we're ready to go," Dusty said as she came back out. She put Blue in the bag. "You need to be safe, my friend."
"They'll need to see him," Fox reminded her. "Unless we try to truly sneak away, which is not entirely a bad idea."
"That would leave the orcs destroying things here," Dusty protested. "We'll have to let them know, but we should get to the edge of town first. If I can get some obstacles in the way, that might help."
"We might manage to upset things a bit as well," one of the men said.
"Carefully," Fox replied. "Confusion will help. Shouting. Pointing that we have a baby dragon. Since they haven't said what they're looking for that should get their attention."
Dusty put the food Happy had gathered into the bag with Blue. He sniffed appreciatively. "We better go. The longer we wait, the more damage they'll do, and they might find us."
"True," Fox agreed. "The horses are at the stables half way through Goodwater on the main road."
"I really don't know this town at all," she admitted. She'd remember the name, though. These people had helped her. "I'll have to follow you."
Fox dared to put a hand on her shoulder. "If anything happens to me, you must ride to the end of town and take the first trail heading for the river. It is the best chance you have of getting away."
Dusty thought of how dangerous this would be and how she did not want to go on alone. She gave one nod to Fox and dared not say anything aloud for fear she might, finally, break down into tears.
Just going to ride a horse, she thought. Race the horse. She had out ridden her brothers on more than one occasion, much to their chagrin. Horses responded well to her.
Like birds, dogs ... baby dragons.
Did that make her special? No one else had heard Blue's cries as anything more than some creature upset somewhere in the mass of people and orcs. She didn't understand birds, dogs, cats, and rats -- but the more Dusty thought about it, the more she realized how they'd always obeyed her and even came to her aid when she needed help.
So maybe she was special. Being able to do something no one else could made Dusty feel strange. It also gave her responsibility, and she held tighter to the bag.
Happy gave Dusty the sort of hug her mother did whenever Princess Destiny headed to the capital for her stay with Grandmother. It was what she'd needed just then, and she whispered her thank you to the older woman.
Then Dusty, Fox, and another soldier went out the door and into the brisk morning air. Dusty tried not to shiver, and that feeling didn't come from the cold anyway. She could hear the orcs far too loudly out here and didn't want to think about what would happen to her or Blue if they were caught now.
Fox sent the other soldier on to get two horses ready. The man frowned slightly but then nodded.
"He wants to come with us," Fox said softly. He helped Dusty over a fence, letting them stay out of sight as they hurried past the backs of buildings and through gardens. "But I want the soldiers to do all they can to help slow the orcs and then to help the others."
"Should someone go to my grandmother?" she asked. She could hear the horses. They'd soon be riding as hard as she ever had in her life.
"There are only six of us," he said with a bit of worry. "Four of those are going to follow us and try to harass the orcs and slow them down enough for us to get across the river. Once we're there, it's hard to say what the orcs will do."
"Probably head for the nearest bridge," she said. "Even if they don't like bridges, I would think they'd head that way in this case."
"Yes, that's true," he said and offered her a smile. "I'll tell them that if it's possible, one of them should head back to the capital. Otherwise, you and I on the river might get there faster."
"Oh, that's true," Dusty said and felt pleased with the idea. "I am eager to get back home now."
"I imagine so," Fox replied.
"And Blue wants to go home, too. Poor little guy. I hope we can get this settled soon. The first step is getting back to the palace and finding someone who can send word to his mother."
Fox nodded, looking worried again. She didn't know if that was because they were nearly to the horses, which she could see saddled only a few yards away, or if he considered the damage that a full grown dragon might do if she didn't get her son back soon.
"Are you ready?" Fox asked.
Dusty took one deep breath. "Yes. Let's hurry before anything else happens here."
"I'll help you on your horse. You start riding immediately. Head down the street," Fox pointed in the direction opposite of from the orcs. "I'll follow. There will be a lot of yelling about you having the dragon. If it is safe, bring Blue out for a moment -- but don't stand still for very long."
"I won't. Thank you," Dusty said. She hoped that nothing happened to Fox. She didn't want to ride off into the desert by herself. This was not the sort of thing that should be entirely in her hands.
Dusty knew she had done well so far. Time to move on and start heading for home. That thought gave her hope again. So she hurried over to the horses and Fox helped her quickly up on one. She grabbed the reins and started away, even as she heard the first shouts from the orcs.
Time to ride!