Valkin had explained to the children the best way to get into the princess without the king finding them was through her window in the dead of night, so they had formed a small plan.
Quietly slipping through the wood, helpfully growing right beneath the princesses’ room, the small group of adventures soon made their way to the base of the tower in which the princess slept at night.
Dusak, who had brought an elfish rope, tossed it up into the lowest window, the rope made no sound and held tightly to the window as Valkin climbed up the sheer walls with amazing agility. He was soon followed by Dusak, who then turned and helped the three humans that were still down below. In a short amount of time the five adventurers were safely inside the castle tower.
Valkin, who seemed to know the way well, led the other elf and the siblings up a staircase of stone and through a long hall. They nearly got caught by a guard, but thankfully, due to Valkin’s quick thinking, they were saved by slipping behind a few handy suits of armor.
They soon found the princesses’ room, heavily guarded of course, but the guards were sound asleep so they crept around them gingerly and opened the door. Once inside, they closed the door behind them without a sound and slipped over to the bed. The princess was not in it; she was sitting by a desk, her hair framing her beautiful face. She was unaware of their presence, her head bent over a letter. Valkin cleared his throat softly, and the princess jumped up and spun around, clutching the precious letter in her hand.
“Letka fes adeck?” (Who are you?) She asked, startled.
“A denae,” (A friend,) replied Valkin, extending a hand, palm upwards. The princess, though still wary, touched the palm of his hand with hers, the sign of agreement.
“Hald fetik adeck hesik?” (What do you want?) She said, still clutching the unfinished letter in her hand. Valkin turned to Mary, who in turn looked at Duncan, the bearer of the two letters from Glevanne Addets. He took them from his pocket and handed them to the princess. She took them, looked at them casually, then gasped and ran her eyes over it hastily, then dropped it into the fire, letting it burn. The second letter she devoured as the first, and it quickly followed the other into the fire. Her face flushed in high excitement.
“How is Glevanne? Is he safe? Was he watched?” she asked quickly in the language the children could understand, her eyes scanning over the faces of the two elves and the three humans.
“He is fine, he is safe, and they do not suspect him of anything yet.” He replied to the princesses’ questions. She sank into her chair, the excitement too much for her delicate state. The children looked at Valkin quizzically, not knowing why the princess acted in this strange manner.
“Glevanne and the princess wish to marry, but this is impossible until the evil counselor can be taken away from the king. They can only sometimes write, and otherwise see each other at no time lest suspicion rise against Glevanne and he be thrown into prison or killed.” He explained quickly. The siblings exchanged glances again; this news explaining a lot of things. The princess, suddenly rising from her state of collapse, finished the forgotten letter with haste and sealed it, handing it to Duncan.
“Deliver this back to him, please. Tell him that I wish to have a reply.” She laid the letter in his hand. “This is a precious note; don’t let it fall into the wrong hands.” Valkin motioned to the children that it was time to leave. The guards were still sleeping, so they escaped the same way they had come.
Once outside the castle, and on the way back to Dusak’s place, they all breathed a long sigh of relief. Mary walked with her brow furrowed and her teeth biting into her lip. Valkin turned to her.
“Are you puzzled about all this?” he asked softly. Mary looked up, startled, from her musings.
“Aye,” was her reply. “Why cannae the elves rise up against the evil man. Why doon’t the princess refuse to marry him right oot, and why cannae Glevanne marry her iffin he wants to? It just doon’t seem right!” Valkin nodded understandingly.
“It seems hard to believe, but it’s not just the evil counselor of the king. That man has many agents, some of them under cover, working for him. If we were to fight back, they would all come down upon us, in the king’s name. The only way we could truly defeat that man, was if the king himself realized what the counselor was doing to him, and stopped him.” Mary sighed as Dusak’s house came into view.
“I just wish that I could do somthin’ aboot it.” She said. “But I’m afraid I cannae.” They entered the house and Vinea relived them of their jackets, shawl, and cloaks. Before retiring to bed, Valkin turned once more to Mary.
“You can, Mary, you may not know how, but you can.” He then left to his room, leaving Mary in doubt and the boy’s curious.
“What did he mean by tha’?” Justin asked. Mary shrugged.
“It had to do wi’ a conversation we were havin’ on the way back fro’ the castle, but that last bit I have nae idea what he meant!” She shrugged and went over to the window beside her bed. “Let’s all get some sleep. I’ve a feelin’ we’re in fer a real good adventure boy’s.”
Long after her brothers were asleep, Mary tossed about in her bed, thinking about what Valkin may have meant when he said that. What did he mean, and what were her and her brother’s in for?