Changeling’s Choice by Rachael Ashdown

changeling75x99Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Soren dreamed about a fairy telling him he was the prince of the trolls. As the readers suggested, he will have to face a kitchen maid with a knife before he escapes the castle to begin his quest.

Episode 4

Soren was too excited to sleep. He lay awake in the dark, waiting for the silence of the castle to become absolute. When he could no longer stand it, he slid from his four-poster bed and started towards the door, wincing as it creaked open. With a rucksack slung over his shoulder, he crept down the hall, careful to avoid any potential insomniacs. He was almost ready for his journey, but there were two things he still needed: food and a friend. The second would be easy. The first would, with luck, be even easier.

Pausing outside the kitchens, Soren took a deep breath, steeling himself for the task ahead. He had to be stealthy. He did not want the kitchen staff to realize food was missing until he was far, far away from the castle. But for all his preparation and motivation, his feet did not cooperate. Not five steps into the kitchen, there was a thunderous clatter as he tripped over a bucket, his hand knocking over a stack of pewter dishes as he stumbled.

“Who is there?” someone called loudly from the other side of the room. Peering through the darkness, Soren tried to see who had called. He remained silent. It must be one of the maids. The voice was obviously feminine, so it was not the cook.

“Who is there?” came the voice again, this time followed by the flickering light of a candle, wobbling in the doorway across the kitchen. Squinting, Soren tried to see the figure holding the light. But all he could see was the reflection of the flame off a large knife blade.

Deciding it was best to retreat before meeting the knife-wielder, he grabbed a loaf of bread and some cakes, shoving them in his sack before fleeing. He did not stop running until he was outside, away from any pursuers.

Heart still pounding, Soren went to find his friend. He was exactly where he expected him to be.

“How have you been, boy?” Soren asked with a crooked grin, bending over to scratch the ears of an old hound, lying in his usual spot by the guardhouse. “How would you like to go on a quest with me?” The dog looked up at him lazily. Knowing he would not get a better answer than that, Soren pulled out a cake he had stolen from the kitchen. It was rather squished from getting shoved into the sack, but the hound ate it anyway, rising slowly to his feet and taking the treat from the boy.

“Come on, Balder,” Soren said, brushing the crumbs off his hands. “We have a long way to go, and we have to put as much distance between us and Toten before the sun rises.” Watching Soren start towards the door, Balder stood his ground. With a sigh, Soren whistled sharply, wincing as the sound echoed off the stone. But it did the trick. Soren left through the main gate, Balder trotting obediently behind. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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