Eventually, Kimberly began stirring, and Wendell put her down on the cold floor of one of the rooms. She looked up at him, a terrified, defiant look on her face, and then calmed down.
“Where are we?” she said weakly.
“I don’t know,” Wendell said.
“I had a horrible dream.” she went on, “I was taken by the ogres again!!”
Wendell considered telling her what had just happened, but he truly didn’t know if she would believe him. She sat up now on one hand, and looked at the blank walls. At least now they could go and find Karen, if nothing else, he thought.
But there was no time to think, because footsteps were coming again, hundreds of them, and rumbling shouts and clanking metal sounds. Kimberly hurried onto her feet and looked at Wendell.
Together, they rushed out of a random door, and down a long, long flight of stairs. Now they turned, and went down another, and it became darker and darker.
“Where are we going?” she said quickly.
“I don’t know! I don’t know!!” Wendell answered helplessly.
Soon there was almost no light, and they found themselves outside a great, steel-gilded door. It gave way to their pull, and they rushed inside and screeched it shut. There was no light anywhere.
Wendell felt his way along, and suddenly tripped over something hard. There was a clanking, and he put his hands out to catch himself on the ground. It was a chain!
Wendell felt along the ground, and the cold, heavy chain was fastened to a great bolt. With fumbling quickness he unfastened it.
“Are you there?” came a voice, a little scared but also with a bit of indignation in it.
“Yes, I found something,” he answered.
Quickly, he took the chain in the darkness, and tied the door shut. It was large and very heavy, and would likely hold against much beating, Wendell thought. If only he knew where he was!
There was a sound of something dragging, off in the darkness. Wendell listened, but the noise was gone. Rasp, rasp.
The chain began clinking across the floor. Now the door rattled in protest, as if something was pulling on the chain. Wendell heard a high-pitched scream of fear, and stepped in front of Kimberly, holding up the dagger into the blackness.
The door rattled more and more, and began creaking in protest. Something was thrashing about, and soon the door cracked, sending meager light into the dungeon.
The chain smashed free, and something tremendous went crawling off into the shadows. There was no time to think. The whole dungeon began shaking and shaking; something was throwing itself against a wall, cracking through stone and mortar, and then a rushing sound of water was heard.
Wendell realized what was happening.
“Grab hold of the chain!!” he shouted. They rushed forward against the flow of water that was ankle deep now, and clung onto the flailing chain. Soon the water was waist deep, rushing backwards against them, but they were dragged forward and forward, now floating, choking in the waves that washed over them.
With a tremendous lurch, Wendell found himself spiraling through a sea of water, now pulled which way he couldn’t tell, up, down, or sideways.
At last Wendell found himself bursting out of the river moat beside the castle, coughing and choking up water, climbing higher and higher into the air. Looking down, Kimberly was still there, her fingers clasped desperately around the links of the chain.
The wind was bitterly cold against his soaked clothes, and he gasped into the rushing air, forcing all breath out of him. A huge Wyvern pulled the chain behind itself, with silvery wings and a rainbow body shimmering above.
Now the Wyvern twisted and turned, as the chain flailed about behind it wildly, as land and sky flew beneath in a tremendous rush. Looking down, Wendell saw many places he had been before, soaring past.
Besides him, now under him, now above him, the endless labyrinth where he had wandered for so long, the black forest of the forsaken tree, the green hedge maze. It all seemed to pass by in a matter of minutes, and then the Wyvern slowly lowered its wings and lowered itself over a grassy hill.
Wendell rolled onto the ground as it hit him from below, and he saw Kimberly already lying there.
For a long while Wendell simply lay on the ground, too dizzy to even move. Eventually, he pushed himself up and looked around to where he was.
Then, before anything else could be done, the Wyvern lifted its wings. It rushed ahead over the edge of the hill and flew away again, hauling the great chain behind it, before Wendell even knew what was going to happen.
Kimberly sat up sorely and looked around with blank eyes. With all the water and wind, the dirt had been scoured out of her hair and face, and her hair shone deeply red again. She had many freckles, and Wendell thought he had seen her long ago, somewhere.
“It is you!” he said, amazedly.
“What?” she said wearily, looking over at him in a weary way.
Kimberly gave a startled look, and then said, “I hate that name! How did you know my name?”
“The king put out a reward for you! Everyone knows your name!!” he said, feeling a bit excited and yet dismal.
She looked a bit surprised.
“How much is it?” she asked quickly.
“Ten horses worth of gold,” Wendell said, hedgingly.
Kimberly looked a bit disappointed.
“I was never the favorite,” she said bitterly.
“And, he also promised, that...” Wendell began.
She looked up curiously.
“If anyone found you, they could marry anyone in the royal family.”
“You could say you found me,” she said, chortling, “and then... well, you’ll have to meet my sister - Violet!! It would serve her right!!” she said excitedly.
And she laughed more and more, not in a nice way. Then she got up, and dusted her dress off rather thoroughly.
“Where are we? Well at least we’re out of that horrid place.”
Wendell looked around. The surroundings were normal, trees and such, like much of the forest near the castle, but that was nowhere in sight. Together, they started down the hill, going southward at Wendell’s advice, saying he knew more about the woods from being an orphan boy.