Darshan heard the sighs of relief flood the clearing before he even shoved his way through the last patch
“They’re back!” Kalvin yelled. Darshan pushed into the pseudo-campsite the thieves had built, and was
almost surprised to find everyone there. They had formed a circle with the packbeasts, and had been
tersely waiting in the darkness. With Darshan and Derek’s arrival, the camp devolved back into the usual
chatter and yells that he was used to.
“We almost died, and they’re excited about it,” He muttered and shook his head. Youth.
Despite that, Derek was grinning with the rest of them. The knights had shown no signs of pursuit. If
they did try and give chase, they would be heavily bogged down in their armor, and unable to take their
cursed bird-horse-things with them.
“Welcome back, Captain,” Genth saluted. Darshan cringed at the use of the title, but the excitement was
just Genth. At times, the youth was too enthusiastic for his own good. Waiting for Darshan, he had been
standing watch with Kalvin. The two had sat chattering quietly away from the others.
“Hello, Genth,” Darshan dryly responded. Kalvin suddenly looked tense. Like he had been caught in the
middle of stealing cookies from the cookie jar.
“Boss, Kalvin told me a bunch of his cool stories while we were out on that hilltop!” The Lookout froze.
“I told you to stop doing that!” Darshan snapped at Kalvin. The man flinched, but nodded with a
murmured “Yes boss.”
“Wait, what do you mean?” Genth asked.
“None of those stories were true, buddy,” Derek said. “He’s tried stringing all of us along at one point or
Genth looked to Kalvin, betrayed. “Wait, you’re telling me not a single one of those stories was true?”
Darshan snorted moving deeper into the clearing. He still had to check with the rest of the thieves
before giving orders to move back to the hide-out.
“No, no, no! The one in the bar! Remember that one?” Kalvin asked.
Genth narrowed his eyes. “Which one?”
“The one with the… uh… The people! Who were all drunk and surrounded me!” The youth sighed as
Darshan moved out of earshot. Derek lingered behind, calling Kalvin out on his fibs. The Boss was sure
he would hear more about it later.
After checking in with the rest of the thieves, Darshan took a second to relax and sit back against a moss
covered outcrop. Something clunked through his bag, hitting the rock behind him.
That box! Darshan thought, reaching for it. He had completely forgotten about it till just now. Was this
what those knights came looking for? Examining it between his hands again, Darshan was suddenly
apprehensive. A simple shoe box-sized crate banded in iron.
If this was important enough to send a band of knights out to protect, maybe they weren’t safe yet.
Despite his aching limbs and tired body, Darshan rose to his feet, then bellowed for his crew to move
out. There would be time to look inside the box later.
Getting everyone out alive was his priority.
Damian was silent the entire way back to the capital. Part of why was because he was almost asleep in
his saddle. He had been out so long it was hard to think. The other half of him remained silent because
his suspicions regarding Frallon had deepened, he was no longer sure who he could trust.
Upon his return, Damian was to report to his father immediately. Assuming the old man was awake, at
any rate. The sun was already rising in the east. He hoped his father was ready to get an early start to his
Regardless, if the Great Knight was plotting something, they needed to prepare. The knight in question
had remained moody their whole ride back. Looking more anxious than he had before they even
departed. If Frallon had chosen to become their enemy, the consequences would be disastrous if they
weren’t dealt with swiftly.
Yawning, Damian turned and watched the sun rise as Mellow plodded on.
He had a sinking feeling that his work was only beginning.