Season 2.0: Into the Woods

Episode 27: On the road again

Isabelle looked over at Arthur as they crouched in the back of one of the caravan wagons bouncing along the forest path. He had a strange gleam in his eyes and an almost cocky grin on his face. She shifted her weight uncomfortably. "Save the world often?"

Arthur tore his attention away from the passing trees and arced a critical eyebrow at her. "I wasn't aware that Black Jong had the resources to threaten the entire continent, much less the world. At worst he takes the capitol and finds himself so over-extended that the outlying Loyal Kingdoms go with Avallonis Redemption and march the better part of one-hundred-thousand troops into the capitol while the fifth-column loyalists harass the usurper and let the relievers into the city. None of that requires heroes such as you or I; it merely requires that everyday heroes follow their hearts and do their jobs." He went back to watching the trees go by.

"Err . . . I suppose you're right. Why are we here, then?"

Arthur's head snapped around and he stared at her. "Don't you—" His head snapped back to the passing trees. "This is our stop. C'mon!" His entire body flexed for a moment and sent him flying out of the back of the wagon to land, skidding, on the dirt of the path. He shifted positions and sprinted into the trees.

Isabelle, blinking, followed as quickly as she was able. Her natural agility let her soon catch up with his restrained power. They slowed down slightly and moved at a slow jog for another quarter-mile before stopping next to a small brook. Isabelle asked "Where are we?"

Arthur looked around once to confirm his location. "An agreed-upon meeting place for situations such as this. We have to keep a lot of things about the village a secret, so there have always been a number of ways of sneaking out when necessary. The others should be here presently. Our horses will be brought up the brook from a stream that it joins about half a mile that way." He pointed to the east, the direction that the caravan had been headed in. He paused, thinking. "Ah, yes." He turned to look at her. "I'm doing this because if I don't, my country is going to suffer. My people are in need of me. I have sworn an oath." For a moment his countenance was wrathful, but it drained back to his emotionless operating state as someone splashed their way up the stream. He drew his sword and waited for the approaching party to come into view.

It was the remaining members of the group, sans Thunder. Arthur did a quick head-count. "Where's Thunder?"


Isabelle and Arthur spun around. Thunder was leaning against a tree a few feet behind them.

"Well, then," Arthur commented, "That's all of us. The horses should be along shortly."

It was another half-hour before the horses arrived, being led up the brook by one of the caravan's handlers. "There's one for each of you. Try to keep them in good health; some of them are only loaned." He turned around and plodded back down the brook.

Everyone mounted their horse. It feels good to be back in the saddle, Isabelle thought. She glanced over at Arthur to see what came next.

Arthur drew his sword and held it aloft. He called out loudly enough that each of them could hear him clearly, "By this blade I pledge my life to service!" He paused while the other military men did the same, even Max with his hammer. "Special Unit Campion, move out!" They left at a trot, heading south-east.