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2_1 Nightmares"Will?! Will, where are you?" Robert's feet slid along the wet grass, sending him staggering across the ground. He stumbled, crashing into a tree. With a grunt, he pushed himself up again, continuing to run.
"Rob! Help me!" Will's voice seemed to come from everywhere, but she was nowhere in sight. "Help me!"
"I'm coming, Will. I'm coming!" Robert spun in a circle, desperately searching for his friend in the mist-filled forest. His eyes were wild with fear as he began to run in a random direction. "Where are you?"
"Stop, Rob!" Will screamed. "You're going to-"
But it was too late. The ground seemed to vanish from under Robert's feet as he slid right off the edge of a cliff into the foggy chasm. He shouted, desperately searching for something to grab hold of to stop his descent. "Nooo!"
A hard slap to the face brought him back to reality. Robert gave a small shout of surprise, sitting up quickly. He opened his eyes and glared at Zane. "Was it necessary to hit me in the face?"
2_Prologue"I want them found, General." Marius leaned on the side of his throne, glaring at the man kneeling before him. "I want them found, and I want them dead. I want their heads on pikes outside my castle. I want to make an example out of them. No one steals from me and gets away with it."
The general nodded hastily. "Yes, sire." Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead as he desperately tried to avoid his king's eyes. It had been a child's story that if you looked into the hazel eyes of someone from the royal Nicias line, you'd see how you would die. It had always been a tale to frighten children, but some lessons died hard. The general swallowed, staring at Marius' shoes.
"General," Marius said, his voice dangerously smooth. "Do you need something?"
The man shook his head hastily. "No, my lord. Nothing."
"Then WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?!" Marius roared, jumping to his feet. "Get going, man! You have rebels to kill, citizens to flog. GO!" He waited until the General had scurried out of
46 Falling"Seth, I see no ghost." Robert stood at the edge of the cliff, staring into the fog. He looked at the younger boy, frowning. "Was this your attempt at a joke? It's not really that funny if it is."
Seth glared at Robert, sticking out his tongue. "You're acting more like Will every day," he said. He dodged a swipe from the mage before staring down the cliff. "I saw a ghost, I'm sure of it. She was screaming at me. She called me a murderer. Not sure why." He frowned, biting his lip. "She was over by that bridge." He pointed to the thin rope bridge, still frowning.
"Well let's go check out the bridge," Robert told him. He led the way along the edge of the cliff, Seth and Zane following. They reached the bridge, looking it over warily. Robert gave a dismissive snort and turned back to Seth. "See? No ghost in si-"
'MURDERER! Betrayer of kin! Thief! Rotten little bloodsucker, you-' The ghostly form of a woman appeared out of nowhere, waving her hands in the air. 'I should send you o
45 Ghosts And ArrowsRobert woke up the next morning to the smell of eggs and ham. He blinked, trying to remember where he was. The cold stone floor told him that he was not at home or at the Academy of Magic. He sniffed the air again, catching the smell of horses. He finally sat up, wincing as his shoulders pulled painfully. He rubbed his head, groaning. "I feel awful."
Zane grinned, prodding the ham he was cooking to keep it from burning. "I'm surprised you're even up," he said. "Seth thought you'd be out for another hour at least. We didn't factor in the smell of food waking you." He laughed, running a hand through his snow white hair. "Ah well, at least you're alive."
With another grunt, Robert crawled over to the fire to warm his hands, staring around the cave. It was about the size of a carriage, its domed roof sloping up into the darkness. Robert glanced at the far corner where the horses had settled themselves, snorting happily. Almost unconsciously, he glanced into the other corner of the cave, se
44 The Cave"Woah." Will blinked rain out of her eyes, staring down at the dotted side of the canyon. The far side of the chasm was covered with caves, dark mouths gaping in the receding light. "There certainly are a lot of caves around here." She followed Evangaline's flickering form through the rain, squinting to keep the ghost in sight. Glancing back the way she'd come, Will realized that she could no longer see the bridge she'd crossed. She frowned before turning back to Evangaline.
The ghost had come to the cliff edge, smiling. Once Will had caught up she vanished down the side, landing about ten feet down. She gestured for Will to follow her, still smiling.
"This is insane," Will muttered. She slid down the rock onto the thin path where Evangaline was waiting. Her foot slid on the wet ground, sending her twirling close to the edge. Terror filled Will's mind as she waved her arms around, trying to catch her balance. But it was all in vain. She felt herself tilt backwards, falling down into th
43 Battle For Rider"Rob, we have to stop."
"Seth, I told you. If you have to go pee just go in the bushes-"
"No, that's not it."
Robert turned around in his saddle, glaring at the other boy. "What is it then? You ate an hour ago, so you're not hungry. It's raining, so if you're thirsty just have some of that. We already covered the toilet thing, so what is it?"
Seth's blue eyes narrowed. He jerked his thumb back at his brother, shaking his head. "Zane's not looking too good. I think we should stop in case something happens."
Robert's gaze softened slightly, and he sighed. "Okay, let's find somewhere dry to stay, alright? It's freezing out here." He kicked Fury into a reluctant trot, patting the stallion's neck comfortingly. "We'll be dry soon, boy," he whispered. The trio continued through the woods quietly, listening to the rain pattering against the leaves. Robert shivered as the wind picked up, cutting through his soaked clothes like a blade. He closed his eyes for a moment, rubbing his face in an att
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