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After a breakfast of fresh fruits from the nearby trees, the four survivors of the fallen kingdom were on their way. As the day went on, the air got warmer and heavier. It became harder to walk and think straight. Their legs felt like weights were attached and their heads were pounding.

Ashley called out “Hold on. I need to rest. I can’t take another step.” She sat down on a large rock and put her head in her palms.

Brett walked up to her. “Are you ok, Ashley?” She looked up at him and Brett saw that her face was bright red, she was perspiring a lot and her lips were turning white.

“I feel dizzy.” She said as she collapsed on the rock. Brett caught her as she fell and brought her into the shade.

“Ashley? Ashley?” Mary-Kate called to her sister. She was starting to panic at her friend’s collapse. “What’s wrong with her, Brett?” she asked the knight.

“She is suffering from heat exhaustion. We need to cool her down and give her water.” Brett said. He reached for his water canteen, which he acquired while fleeing from the castle in the cave. “I don’t have that much water left.”

Mary-Kate and Marc-Andre both checked their canteens and theirs were closer to being empty. Marc-Andre knew this region fairly well and tried to remember if there was a water source near them. They had been walking for hours without a fresh source of water.

“I’ll go scout ahead for some water. I’ll bring some back if I find any.” Marc-Andre said. He was about to dash off into the woods when Brett stopped him. He told Marc-Andre to go slowly so he wouldn’t get too exhausted and gave Marc-Andre his canteen so he had more water. Brett took Marc-Andre’s canteen to use the water to cool Ashley’s fever. Marc-Andre turned to Mary-Kate, whom was kneeling beside Ashley. “Don’t worry, I won’t rest until I get the water. She’s going to be fine.” He turned back to Brett and gave him a nod, then ran off.

Brett took his shirt and ripped off a piece to make a rudimentary rag. “We need a bowl of some sort to minimize the loss of water when I wet the rag.” He and Mary-Kate looked around to find a bowl-shaped object. After some searching, they found the skeleton of a long-dead soldier of a forgotten kingdom. They took his helmet as a bowl and poured the remaining water into it. Mary-Kate soaked the rag and cooled Ashley’s face.

It was mid-afternoon and the air was humid, causing a sticky sensation. They still had, at least, another day’s walk before reaching the Hresnan kingdom.

“We should set up camp here tonight. We shouldn’t continue until Ashley gets better. I’ll go gather more firewood. If you need me, I’ll be within earshot.” Brett told Mary-Kate.

Mary-Kate nodded and returned her attention to Ashley. “Oh Ashley, you always try to be the tough girl. Look where it got you.” she smiled, “See what happens when you don’t listen to me? I keep telling you ‘Ashley, don’t push yourself too hard. If you need help, ask for it.’ I guess that’s just one of the things I like about you. We’ve been together our whole lives, you and I. I don’t know about you, but I plan for it to stay that way for a long time to come. You’re my closest friend and sibling, and I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.”

Chapter 7
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