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Meanwhile, Brett was waiting just out of sight of the guards patrolling and standing guard around the castle. He was determined to get inside somehow. The sun was starting to set. After what seemed like an eternity, he heard a bell and the guards casually left their posts. They were marching towards what seemed like a barracks, where the soldiers slept.

“Must be a shift change.” Brett thought. He didn’t waste any time and ran towards the castle. He noticed an opened window. He thought for a second, picked up a handful of stones and climbed in the window. “Either I am very lucky, or this is a trap.”

He carefully walked through the corridors, evading guards he came across. When he reached Ashley’s old room, he took one of the stones and threw it into a statue in soldier’s armor. The sound of the stone hitting the armor made the guards suspicious and they went to investigate.

Brett quickly opened the door and closed it behind him.

“Stay back!” A voice said behind him. “Stay back or I’ll scream!”

“This just isn’t my day.” Brett said to himself before turning around. After he did turn around, he saw Ashley standing by the window with a look of fear in her eyes.

“Brett!” Ashley screamed and ran into his arms. She was so very happy to see him. She held him tightly and didn’t ever want to let go.

“Shh! Quiet or I’ll get caught.” He said as he hugged her. “Are you ok? Are you hurt?”

“No.” Ashley answered.

“I’m going to get you out of here, as soon as I figure out how.” Brett said, looking around to see if he could actually get her out of Arcadia.

“I’m not going.” She said decisively.

“WHAT?” Brett said, trying not to scream. “Are you crazy? Why would you want to stay here?”

“Because I am to be married.” Ashley said. “Incase you haven’t noticed, I am the only one who didn’t have anyone to love. You have Mary-Kate and Marc-Andre has Annick. I was all alone, but now I will finally have someone.”

“And you think you can find love here?” Brett asked her.

She didn’t answer. She only walked over to the window and looked out so Brett couldn’t see her crying.

“Ashley,” Brett said as he walked up too her. “This isn’t the way to find love. You just have to be patient.”

She walked away from his again at a fast pace.

“You’re only killing yourself.” He said to her a little loudly. “Living like that... that isn’t living.”

“Please leave.” She said between sobs. She knew what he was saying was true, but she didn’t want to believe it.

“Ashley...” Brett said.

“LEAVE!” Ashley yelled.

“Brett, stop!” She said as he was leaving. “If you go out there, you will be caught. Stay here for the night. But, first thing when the guards change shifts, you are to be gone.” Ashley didn’t want to put Brett through any more danger than he was already in because of her.

It was now night outside and the patrols were now doubled around the castle. There was no way for Brett to make it out without being seen. He might as well stay.

“Fine.” Brett said as he sat down. He was looking out the window with a sad look on his face.

“What’s wrong?” Ashley asked him as she sat down beside him.

“It’s nothing.” Brett said as he looked out the window. He didn’t want to talk to her

“Brett, tell me what is wrong. Maybe I can help.” She said.

“I just miss Mary-Kate so much.” He said. “I want to be with her again.” A tear rolled down his cheek. “When I am with her, it’s like magic. I feel free when we are together. When I am away, I feel a profound emptiness that only she could fill.” He wiped the tear from his face. “How I long to be with her again.”

Ashley saw in that moment how wrong she was for wanting to stay in Arcadia and marry the king of the Tiberians. She saw what love was really about and what she would be missing if she stayed. She made a decision.

“I’ll go back with you.” She said softly.

Brett looked at her. “But, I thought...”

“I know. But, I was wrong to think what I did. I’m sorry.” She said, it was now her turn to have a tear rolling down her face.

“There is nothing to forgive. I know it’s hard, Ashley, but it’s the way life is. You will meet someone someday. I promise you that.” Brett said as he put his arm around her and hugged her. “Tomorrow, we will make a run for it.”

Chapter 25
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