Lorry gave a dry swallow as the train hurtled through the countryside. Morrigan, Michael, and he were trapped on the train.
“Not good, not good, not good,” he whispered.
“Lorry, what’s wrong?” asked Morrigan, “You’ve gone all pale.”
“We need to find a place to hide,” replied Lorry, grabbing his backpack.
“Why?” answered Michael, jumping to his feet, “What’s wrong, Lorry?”
“I’ll explain later!” exclaimed Lorry, shoving Michael and Morrigan towards the door to the next car, “Just move!”
He jerked open the door and bundled them into the next car, shoving them towards the door to the one beyond. The door to the car behind them opened. Lorry threw a glance backwards, and felt the blood in his veins turn to ice. Behind them was the Yellow Woman.
“Run!” yelled Lorry, “Run!” Morrigan and Michael broke into a run. They tore through the train cars as fast as their legs would carry them.
“Who are these guys?!” asked Michael, “And why are they chasing us?! What are you, some kind of danger magnet?!”
The Yellow Woman was gaining on them.
“Less talking, more running,” yelled Lorry, as they raced through a baggage car.
They burst into the caboose.
“We’re out of train,” said Morrigan. She opened the caboose’s back door to reveal a small platform and railroad tracks speeding away.
The Yellow Woman was not far behind them.
“We’ve got to jump,” breathed Michael.
“Are you crazy?” exclaimed Morrigan, “If we survive the fall at this speed, we’ll have broken our legs, if nothing else!”
“We’ll be perfectly fine, trust me,” said Michael. He turned to Lorry, “I’ve got this, I promise.”
Lorry cast a glance behind them. The Yellow Woman was nearly on them.
“You sure?” asked Lorry. Michael nodded.
“Then jump we shall,” answered Lorry. He shoved Morrigan and Michael out onto the platform, “On three.”
“I still don’t like this,” growled Morrigan.
“We either jump, or get captured,” replied Lorry, “Pick one.”
Morrigan drew in a breath and tightened her ponytail, “Let’s jump, then.”
“One.” The door flung open behind them. “NOW!” Lorry jumped, jerking Morrigan off with him in case she had any second thoughts.
They didn’t, however, fall. They more or less floated towards the ground. They landed on the ground with a bump as the train raced into the distance.
“See?” said Michael, panting, “Perfectly fine. I’m a Levitation Mage, so I just levitated us down.”
Michael swayed on his feet.
“Mike, you okay?” asked Lorry.
“I’m fine,” answered Michael, wiping sweat off his forehead, “Just never levitated three people at once before.”
“We’d better keep moving,” said Morrigan, “Those people are probably going to come back for us. And you, Lorry Claiborne, owe us both an explanation.”
They decided to walk in the forest by the railroad tracks, close enough to follow the tracks, but far enough away to not be seen. At first, all was well. They walked along in single file, with Michael at the lead. As time wore on, however, the forest became thicker, and it was harder to see the tracks.
By nightfall, they discovered that they had lost the tracks.
“Well, this isn’t good,” said Michael.
“Of course this isn’t good,” answered Morrigan, crossing her arms, “We’re lost, and there are crazy people after us.”
“Look,” said Lorry, “How about we just stop for the night? It’ll be easier to find the tracks in daylight.”
They found themselves a clearing and settled down for the night.
“Now would be the perfect time for an explanation,” said Morrigan.
“Believe me,” said Lorry, tossing down an armful of firewood, “You don’t want to know.”
“Yes, yes, we do,” answered Morrigan, “Over the past week, I’ve had to sneak into a hospital and help you come up with this plan to traverse the most dangerous range in Castille. More recently, I’ve been chased through a train by some lunatics and had to jump off of said train only to get lost in the woods. I think that more than justifies an explanation.”
Lorry sighed. He wanted more than anything to keep his friends out of this mess, but they wanted to know. Something told him that Michael and Morrigan were not going to stop until he spilled the beans.
“Are you sure?” asked Lorry, concern filling his eyes, “Absolutely sure that you want to know?”
Michael and Morrigan nodded.
“Well, for starters,” said Lorry. He put out his hand and a flame, a bright silver flame with blue burning at its heart, lit up the shadows around them, “Let’s get a fire going.”
He let the flame lick the firewood, and the fire flared up silver a few seconds later.
Morrigan stared at him, eyes wide, “You’re a Silverfire Mage.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” said Michael, “You, Lorry “The Klutz” Claiborne, are a Silverfire Mage, one of the people tasked with protecting us from Glassheart, Lord of Monsters.”
“Correct,” replied Lorry, “Partially.”
Morrigan caught on quicker than Michael, “You are the person tasked with protecting us from Glassheart. You’re the Amulet Guardian.”
Lorry winced, “It’s…temporary. Just until my dad gets back.”
“But your dad’s-” started Michael.
“Dead, I know,” answered Lorry, “Short version of a long story: he’s not.”
“Those lunatics were after you, then,” said Morrigan, “You have it with you, don’t you?”
Lorry nodded again, “I wasn’t about to leave it with Carina. That’d make her more of a target then she already is.”
Morrigan got to her feet, “And you didn’t think to tell us before we left? I never would’ve suggested-”
“Exactly,” answered Lorry.
“We’ve got to go back to Applegate,” said Morrigan, “This is bigger than us now.”
“We’re more than halfway to Orchen already,” said Michael, “Besides, what about Mrs. Claiborne? She still needs the cure!”
“You obviously didn’t think this through, Lorry,” exclaimed Morrigan, rubbing her temples, “You’re literally caring the key to Castille’s safety around your neck.”
Lorry could feel all the stress and worry begin to build up.
“What was I supposed to do, Morrigan?” he yelled, “Sit and watch my mom wither away while there’s a cure out there? What would you do, if you were in my boots?”
Morrigan bit her lip and sat down again, “The same thing you’re doing now, I guess.”
Lorry took a deep breath to calm himself, “I shouldn’t have yelled; I’m sorry. Y’all should go back to Applegate, but I’m going on to Orchen.”
“Look, Lorry,” said Michael, “I said I was going to go, so I’m going. You’re my best friend. Best friends don’t let best friends set off on possibly deadly quests alone.”
Morrigan met Lorry’s eyes, “I’m not heading back, either. I started this, and I’d best finish it.”
Lorry smiled, “Together then.”
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