I wrapped my arm around the princess as she began to weep.
We were going back to the outlands to be sold and I began to fear that Yellow Tail was lying in wait by the forest.
Lord Galtrak's men had no knowledge of what they were in store for if my fears were true.
"Where are they taking us?" the princess whispered in my ear, as we journeyed through the forest.
"Back to the outlands," I responded.
"They can't, Lady Saura. What about Yellow Tail? He will kill us for sure."
"Fear not, princess. I will keep us safe."
I was unsure if keeping this oath to the princess would be possible. Lord Galtrak and his tribe of savages may be fools but they are still a significant threat to the princess and I. But the fear of a dragon is far more greater than the fear of savages.
"Lord Galtrak, you should know that it is unwise to be in our presence at this moment."
"Why is that, Lady Saura?" asked Lord Galtrak.
"We are in the sights of a vicious dragon. I fear he is waiting for the princess and I at the edge of the forest near the outlands.
"What a tale, Lady Saura. Dragons do not wait for princess. They hunt them.
"She speaks the truth!" screamed the princess. "I admit I lack knowledge in the ways of dragons but this dragon has shown an interest in me and surely if you take us back to the outlands he will kill you and your men."
"Lord Galtrak what are they talking about?" asked one of Lord Galtrak's men.
"You fool," Lord Galtrak responded. "They spin lies. Keep quiet and mind your duties."
In the distance I could see the dead sands of the outlands but between the trees I could not see the presence of Yellow Tail. I began to hope that Yellow Tail was long gone. That he had deiced to move on to find another virgin lady.
We entered the outlands from the forest and began journeying west.
"Where are you going to do with us?" I asked Lord Galtrak.
"I'm going to sell you of course. I doubt I will make much coin from you. A lady dragon slayer leads not much to be desired but the princess will surely make me a large sum. Or maybe I will give her back to her kingdom and fetch the reward for her safe return from the fire islands. That will gain me much coin I'm sure.
"You are a fool, Lord Galtrak."
"And soon my dear, Lady Saura I will be a rich fool.
The heat from the outlands was strong and I could feel myself weaken. The princess fared no better. She began to daze in and out. Keeping her alert was beginning to become to much of a task.
"Stay awake, princess."
"I cannot, Lady Saura. I am so tired"
"Be strong, princess. We will make it through this."
"I'll try, Lady Saura."
"Don't try, princess. Do."
"What of Yellow Tail?" asked Princess Luquasia.
"Will it return to take me again?" asked the princess.
"Fear not, princess. If Yellow Tail wanted to take you he would have done so by now. The dragon has most likely returned to the fire islands and has forgotten all about you.
"I am thirsty, Lady Saura. I fear I will die of thirst."
"Lord Galtrak," I yelled.
"What is it now, Lady Saura."
"We require water."
"Worry not about water, Lady Saura. When we arrive at the trading grounds you will have more than enough water. We will keep you nice and fed so you can appear well for potential buyers."
"The trading grounds are nearly half a day away the princess will die from the heat before we reach them and your dreams of coin will vanish.
"Stop!" yelled Lord Galtrak.
"What is it, Lord Galtrak?" asked one of Lord Galtrak's men.
'"We must nourish our product for fear they will kill over from the heats of the outlands," Lord Galtrak responded.
As one of Lord Galtrak's men approached the cage in which we were kept I had thoughts toward attacking him, killing Lord Galtrak, his men and their horses and taking Princess Luquasia with me to safety but the flames of the bright sun had weakened me and the pain from my back wound began to return from the cramped space of the cage. I had hopes that the water would return my strength and give me the ability to save us both.
The princess held the goblet over her mouth and drank as much of the water as she could.
"Save some for Lady Saura my dear princess," said Lord Galtrak's man.
He snatched the goblet from the princess and handed it to me.
I drank as much as I could.
Lord Galtrak's man reached for it.
I grabbed him by the wrist and he stared at me with intense eyes a bit of fear hidden in them.
"Let him go!" yelled Lord Galtrak.
He removed his sword and inserted it in between the bars straight towards the Princess Luquasia.
"Let him go or I will slit her precious royal throat."
I held on tight to the man's wrist, preparing to snap it.
"I just want another drink of water," I said.
"I will slit her throat, Lady Saura."
"As if you care more for your man here than you do coin."
"I care when the man is my son, Lady Saura."
I looked towards Lord Galtrak and he truly seemed frightened for the young man. I could also tell he truly met to do the princess harm. I took another sip from the canteen and handed it back to the frightened son of Lord Galtrak. I released his hand and he pull it back towards him quickly. he then looked at his father and slapped me across the face making sure to quickly close the cage right afterwords.
"No more problems from you, Lady Saura," said Lord Galtrak. "Or it will be your throat I will slit."
As the carts moved on towards the trading grounds the princess embraced me tighter.
"I'm scared, Lady Saura," said Princess Luquasia. "I'm trying not to be but I'm really scared."
End of Chapter Nine