Agile trudged over and gently secured Tipper on Glue Pot’s back.
“Does he need anything? Will he be okay?” Ginger asked Perceval once Tipper was not longer in immediate danger.
“I need to transfer some of the flames I’ve stored for him. I’ve already given him as much as I can right now. I need to eat, rest, and then transfer more. By my tail, he’ll be healed by the morning, the idiot.”
“Don’t say idiot,” Lila chided.
“Oh, sorry. Does imbecile work?”
“It sounds smart, so yes.”
“Gabbie, when Tipper wakes up, you need to chew him out like you did me,” Alastair said. He saw that Tipper’s hands had turned purple with bruises and there were claw marks stretching from his shoulder blades to his waist. Tipper was powerful, so just how did the guard Agile defeat so many Batals?
“Oh, he’ll get it alright. We’re a company of mismatched fools. Fools face their threats together.” She balled her hand in a fist. “I need to get stronger,” she said aloud to no one in particular.
“There won’t be any need to once we find the Queen and get home,” Ginger reminder her sister.
“Before anything else, we’d all like to thank you two for saving our friend.” Glue Pot bowed his head. “We’d be goners, too, if you hadn’t come by.”
“That’s our duty. Serve and protect citizens.” Andriei straightened up. “Now, we should take you to Rockestel. You’ll find food and supplies to reach our Holy Queen.”
“Do you plan to take the Heights in order to reach Queen Inana or the valley?” Agile asked. The guard had returned to the spot next to Adriei at the front of the group.
“What would you suggest? I’ve never been this way up north before,” Perceval said.
“If you want to avoid anymore danger like the Batals, then the Heights are your safest option,” Agile explained.
“What are the Heights? What’s Rockestel?” Asked Zane again.
“Do you see those spots climbing up the mountain?” Said Adriei. Zane nodded. He kept blinking his eyes, trying to clear his contacts from the dry spots. “Once we get closer, you’ll see that those aren’t just any ordinary spots. They’re houses. And Mining crops. And Markets.”
“What? You mean whoever lives there built into the mountainside?”
“In and out. Anything to keep away from the lake and the forests. Inside the mountain is safe,” Agile explained.
“For now. We still need clues about the disappearances,” said Adriei. “They already know. It’s hit as far as Pottsville and the Seven Isles,” Adriei said when he saw Agile narrow their eyes.
“That means it’s spreading,” Agile growled.
“So you think that Rockestel might be the next disappearance target?” Zane asked. He was in rare question form. The two guards exchanged glances.
“You may as well tell them,” Agile grunted.
“The disappearances are believed to have originated from the northeast of Soielle, leading directly down to Rockestel. We were sent by the Queen to investigate,” Adriei said.
“But now you’ve come with news of Pottsville and the Seven Isles. We may have to return to the Queen and tell her of the developments. The disappearances are no longer assumed to be organized.” Agile swept a hand through their hair. “Whoever is behind all this is playing with us.”