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Ashley and Mary-Kate had both been brought to the Hresnan castle. They had a million questions as to why they had been attacked and captured in the middle of the woods and brought to the castle of a peaceful kingdom. It didn’t make sense to them.

“I demand you release me!” Ashley yelled. She was not happy about the fact that they injured her brother and his best friend and left them out in the woods.

The Hresnan king walked into the room and sat down in his chair. “I am King Sebastian, ruler of Hresna. Why were you trespassing on Hresnan property?” he said.

“We were traveling to your kingdom when we were ambushed by these goons.” Mary-Kate answered. The man holding her grumbled, but Mary-Kate didn’t stand down.

“Why were you traveling here? What is your business?” King Sebastian asked.

“I am Princess Ashley of Arcadia, and this is my trusted friend Mary-Kate.” Ashley said. “We were traveling to…” she started to explain when King Sebastian interrupted her.

“Impossible!” He yelled. “The Arcadian kingdom was invaded. The entire royal family was murdered. The surviving peasants are now slave workers for the dark army.”

“But…” Ashley tried to explain to him that she and her brother had survived the invasion.

“Silence!” the king roared. “Impersonating a princess is a serious offense. Throw them in the dungeon! But first, bring me that nice necklace of her, and her friend’s hair broach too.”

“NO! Wait! My brother gave me that!” Ashley pleaded. She fought as hard as she could to get a chance to talk to the king. She was determined to plead her case. She wasn’t going down without a fight. Mary-Kate tried to stop them from taking the broach Brett gave her, but it was no use.

“Just one of those weeks, I guess.” Mary-Kate said with a sigh, as she sat in her dungeon cell. The air was musty and old with a pungent stench of decaying flesh.

“HELP!” Ashley cried. “Somebody get us out of here! I must speak with the king!” She had been yelling for one half hour with no results.

Mary-Kate walked up to Ashley “Calm down. Brett and Marc-Andre will rescue us, I hope.” She said.

“Calm down? How can I calm down when we are in a dungeon, no one knows we’re here, we lost our kingdom to the dark army, Brett and my brother were hurt and left out there in the forest and the king to this wretched kingdom won’t even listen to us!” Ashley protested.

“You just need to have faith. Brett and Marc-Andre have never let us down before. They will come for us.” Mary-Kate said. She believed in Brett and Marc-Andre and it was the only thing she could believe in.

“Your friends aren’t coming.” A voice said from another cell. It was old and ragged like that of an old woman’s.

“Who said that?” Mary-Kate yelled in the hallway connecting the cells.

“I did.” A woman said. She was in ragged clothing and her hair was starting to show signs of gray. She was very thin, due to a lack of food. “Your friends are probably dead.”

“I don’t believe you!” Mary-Kate yelled out with anger. “How dare you say such a thing?” She wanted to get out of her cell and teach the woman a lesson.

“If they were alive, why weren’t they brought here like the both of you were?” The woman asked with a grin, as if taking pleasure from seeing the suffering of others. “The only reason I can think of is that they were killed. After all, there is no use having a dead body for a captive.”

Mary-Kate turned to Ashley. “Don’t listen to her! She’s just saying that to hurt us. They will come for us!”

Ashley sat motionless looking at the floor. Mary-Kate knelt down in front of her. Ashley looked at Mary-Kate with her tear-filled brown eyes. “Why weren’t they brought here too?” Ashley said softly. “I can’t think of any other reason. Maybe they are dead.”

Mary-Kate looked at her in disbelief. “How can you give up so easily?” She was now trying to fight back the tears as the reality of the situation became apparent to her. Were Brett and Marc-Andre really dead? She tried to push the thought out of her mind, but she couldn’t ignore the fact that it could be true. She sat down beside Ashley and gave her a hug.

Chapter 9
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