The Last Lantern

Chapter 21 - You Came to Rescue Me?


@copyright Jean G Hontz 2009


Molly sat and listened to those around her, trying to put the changes in her life into some sort of meaningful perspective. She was struggling with it. She had a ton of questions, yet somehow asking a Prince those questions seemed... wrong. He was someone IMPORTANT. She was just a girl.

The cave was warm and cozy, the people a bit scruffy, but then they were all in a cave.

She looked up then to see Brother Vaal crossing the room and someone was at his side. Someone... "Phillip?" Molly asked, gulping as they came near.

Phillip looked unwell. He was pale and stretched looking. Nor did she fail to notice that Phillip was leaning heavily on Vaal arm. Molly was rather startled though to realize that Phillip wasn't that much shorter than Brother Vaal. And despite looking ill, he looked like a warrior. Something had changed. He'd been a boy only yesterday!

Vaal helped Phillip sit down next to Molly, then with a raised eyebrow at Molly he turned and walked away toward a group of people who'd been calling his name.

Molly glanced over shyly at Phillip. Yes, Brother Vaal had been right. She did think him quite handsome. She liked his dark hair and silvery eyes. But he was still Sir Reginald’s son, and she hated him.

"What... How did you get here?" Molly finally dared to ask.

Phillip grunted as he settled himself a bit more comfortably.

"And what is wrong with you?" Molly added, feeling rather unkind that her first question hadn't been about his ill-health. She didn't really mean to sound unfeeling, it was just that there were so many things going on in her life suddenly that she wanted, no needed, desperately to understand.

Phillip eyed her for a moment, then said, "I came with Vaal from Rosslyn. When we realized you'd been kidnapped, I mean. We were terribly worried about you," Phillip replied, and then frowned over at Vaal. "Although now I think it was only your grandfather and I who were truly worried. Brother Vaal seems to have known and understood the most of it."

Molly's deep blue eyes went wide. "You came to rescue me?"

Phillip frowned. "Don't sound so horrified about it. I'm sorry. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"Oh. I don't mean to sound horrified. I'm just..." Molly's voice faded away.

"Appalled, angry, irritated?" Phillip asked, sounding a bit irritated himself.

Molly frowned hard at him. "No. Don't be stupid. I just.. I didn't think you liked me."

"Well, don't think by this that I do," Phillip replied angrily. "I was just... bored. Just bored so wanted an adventure."

"Oh," Molly's voice sounded very tiny. "But you don't look like you are enjoying the adventure."

"That's because I got cut by a knife and poisoned," Phillip retorted. "Forgive me for not looking like a proper adventurer."

"Oh. You .. you fought? With a sword?" Molly asked.

"No. It was too closed in a spot, no room for a proper sword fight. Mostly it was fists and knives if I remember it all correctly. I'm a little vague on it all. It was a bit... unnerving."

"Did you..." Molly bit her lip, "kill anyone?"

Phillip looked down at the floor, and his face went even grayer. "I.. yes."

"But you had no choice?" Molly asked softly.

"There's always a choice," Phillip retorted angrily. "I made it. it seemed like the right one at the time."

Molly grabbed Phillip by the shoulders and shook him. "Of course it was the right choice, you ninnie. You're alive. But.. poisoned?"

Phillip had gone from gray to white at Molly's manhandling of him, especially as his shoulder was shooting fire. "His blade was poisoned," he explained.

"But you're all right now?" Molly demanded. She wasn't happy that Phillip was along but the thought that he'd gotten hurt trying to protect her was nearly too much to bear. She didn't need rescuing. She didn't even want it. Especially by Phillip of all people. And now.. if he was going to suffer for a long time. She'd feel guilty and wretched. That didn't bear thinking about.

"I..." Phillip colored. "Vaal tried to leave me behind to rest and recover but I followed him. He was rather angry at me."

Indignation made Molly stand up and put her hands on her hips. "Idiot! Of course he was. He should have turned you over his knee."

"Oh, like you listen to what your grandfather and others tell you. Like you don't go haring off whenever you feel like it!" Phillip retorted just as indignant as Molly.

A slight laugh made Molly and Phillip both whirl around to realize Sir Donal had been listening in.

Donal grinned. "I don't think you'll get even a hint of a thank you from Lady Elizabeth, Phillip. I'm Donal, Donal Egan. I'm afraid I'm the one who kidnapped her. I'm rather sorry I did now. She's a brat and an ungrateful little wench if ever I met one."

"I am NOT!" Molly retorted, stamping her foot. "I just.. Why won't people just tell me things, rather than making decisions for me. It's... It's maddening!"

Donal's smile faded. He gave Molly a measuring look, then glanced over at Phillip. "Well, you are only 11. You'll learn it all soon enough, anyway. And when you do, there'll be no going home. We want you to choose, not just be swept up into this. Therefore, we wait for your father to explain your options to you."

Phillip nodded. "Makes sense."

Molly whirled on him. "You knew he was alive? You did too? Why didn't you tell me!!"

Phillip sat back away from the spitting kitten glowering at him. "I didn't know until after you were taken. Then Lord Rosslyn admitted it. That he'd disinherited your father. It was the first I knew of it, Molly. Honestly."

Molly was not particularly happy nor appeased and Donal sitting there fighting back a grin was even more annoying. Especially as his amusement seemed to be at her expense.

"You're... you're.... " she said, glowering at Donal.

"Heartless?" a voice offered, sunnily. "That he is." Lady Emily's voice was full of laughter. "Don't waste your breathe on Donal, that's my advice. Here, Phillip. I brought you something to eat. And our healer wants to take a look at you. Just to be certain you're healing well.”

Molly huffed in disgust when she saw Phillip gazing at Lady Emily as if he'd just spotted an angel. "She," Molly informed Phillip grouchily, "can use a sword."


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