Twenty-five: Traitor

“Ye finks she’ll be all right, Francisco?” I heard Ferbish’s low voice above me.

Woozy, I took a deep breath, opening my eyes. Instead of the dark cavern, I was lying on a cold, stone floor.

“Athena? Are you awake?” Francisco asked, stroking my forehead.

Blinking, I pulled myself to my knees. “Where are we?”

Francisco gulped. “You’re not going to like it.”

“We’re in the Droor Elf dungeons, that’s where we are, Miss,” Ferbish explained.

“And it’s me own damned fault. I shouldna given ye that harspwing fairy. It put us under a spell, and before we knew it, an army of Droors surrounded us. I would have been on me guard but got distracted.”

“But where’s Brenden? And Pigeon?” I looked around and only saw my friends and the gargoyles.

Francisco glared. “He sold you out. When the elves were going to kill him, he explained that you were the Wishcaster and that the Under Realm queen would want to see you. He’s nothing but a coward.”

“I don’t believe it,” I whispered. “There has to be a reason he’d do such a thing. Maybe he’s planning an escape somehow. You said there was an army of elves. We couldn’t fight them off obviously.”

Holly and Ferbish gave each other knowing, sad looks.

“I’m sorry, Miss,” Ferbish said. “It’s as yer friend here says. Brenden got rewarded fer turning you in.”

“Yeah,” Gabby interjected. “And they also uncovered his glamour. He’s a full-fledged, malicious Droor Elf with all the power, too. He handed you over, cackling like a witch. No offense, Athena.”

I rolled my eyes, not believing what I was hearing. “But why didn’t they just take us when we were in the mountains? That doesn’t make sense.”

   Francisco shook his head. “Maybe they needed more elves to attack us. That bird was in on it with him. She watched from above, not helping us fight them off.”

“Yeah, I shoulda known somefing was funny when Pigeon didn’t put on her shroud in the cave,” Ferbish added with a sneer. “But that harpswing made me mind go funny. Bloody hell, I’m so stupid. It was the perfect trap.”

I sat on a cold hard stone, stunned. Everyone followed, not saying anything. How could I have been so dumb? So deceived? But it all didn’t make sense. If Brenden needed me to end his curse, he could have done it dozens of times throughout our ordeal. I just couldn’t believe he was a traitor. When he spoke to me at the ruins, he seemed so sincere. 

But then what if he was the one who spirited us into the Under Realm? And he would need help to get us to the Elivagar mountains near his brothers. Maybe he’d devised his plan while we were at Nurse Mellecant’s home.

My stomach lurched. The thought of Brenden being evil was making me sick.

“I heard the guards mutter that we was going to the Queen soon,” Grigor said, waving his arms. “She’ll make us slaves. Or worse. The queen hates gargoyles.”

“They won’t make me no slave,” Ferbish spat, jumping to his feet. “I’ll fight ’em off or die trying.”

Suddenly, two guards came in. One put up his hands as magical designs like a kaliedescope appeared. Shackles materialized on the gargoyles and my friends. A gag wrapped itself around my mouth, startling me. One guard smirked and said, “We can’t be too careful with you, now can we?” He jerked my arm and brought me out of the dungeon.

The guards ushered me through the castle to a large living area, and I saw what I assumed to be Brenden’s three brothers sitting in some chairs. The middle one wore a crown.

And then I spied Brenden. He wouldn’t look at me.

My head wanted to burst. Traitor! How could he allow them to gag me and treat me so horribly? He knew I couldn’t cast a spell with my mouth. It was so humiliating.

“Ah, little brother, you HAVE outdone yourself this time.” The elf chuckled. “Hello, dearest Athena of the Over Realm. I am Sir Duff McAilf, King of the Droor Elves. I’m so happy to make your acquaintance.”

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16 thoughts on “Twenty-five: Traitor”

  1. Oh shit 😬

    Okay, either Brenden has some kind of epic plan up his sleeve, OR he simply had a moment if weakness and caved to pressure and fear by turning her in. But I can’t believe he’d have intentionally betrayed Athena!

    Also… damn you and these cliffhangers, woman! This one was particularly cruel 😭 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no! I’m like Athena, I just have a hard time believing he did this on purpose. He has to have a plan to get them out of there. Or maybe he hopes if Athena is pushed she will magic them away. He did say she had three wishes and she hasn’t used them yet I don’t think….hmmm…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think Brenden is evil. If he did sell her out–and it could just be part of his plan to get them all their freedom–I know he’ll have second thoughts later. He cares about her too much.

    Curious what the brothers will want to do… I don’t have a good feeling about them. 😱 That smile looks especially evil, but I may be biased since we know their history.

    Anyway, hope Brenden gets everyone out of there sooner rather than later!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m waiting for Athena to wake up at home in her bed with her wheelchair nearby. She’ll realize it was just a really vivid dream. Then when she goes to eat breakfast, she’ll burp and out comes fire, frying her entire family.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Finally, I’ve got some time to read again, and I’m going to catch up! So glad I won’t be stuck on this cliffhanger. I’m still on #TeamBrenden for now. One chapter isn’t proving his guilt to me. Can you tell I’m an eternal optimist (and a romantic)? Also, I don’t want to have to trade in the Trouble Triplets for the Trouble Quadruplets. It just doesn’t have the same ring to it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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