"No!" exclaimed the man, slamming his fist on the book in his lap.
"What's wrong now?" asked the black cat.
The man sighed, and said bitterly, "I thought Ka Sersla Tern always told the truth…"
"And…who says it doesn't?" asked the cat.
"Well, the one summoned is a girl fifteen years of age! How could she be able to do what I need done?" He pulled out his coin, examining it as if worried it was fake. "I thought the coin guaranteed this would work!"
"It should…" mused the cat.
"Apparently it doesn't," the man muttered. "Coin or not, I don't see how this girl — Sylfaen, she calls herself — can possibly do this."
"Yeah…I was expecting an elvish warrior or something, not a fifteen year old," the cat mused.
The man was about to respond, but he held his tongue at the sound of footsteps. Very loud and careless ones, too. He rolled his eyes at this. These guards…for ones of the largest stronghold in Terra, they weren't too cautious.
"Look, Airleah, we have a visitor," he remarked to the cat.
The guard reached the cell panting. He was an elf, and the man found it surprising that he was this out of shape. But this guard wasn't an outstanding individual in other aspects either, as the prisoner had noticed before.
"Just who do you talk to?" asked the guard, shoving in bread and water he had brought. The prisoner looked at the meager dinner disdainfully, and made no attempt to retrieve it from the floor.
Instead of leaving as he usually would have, the guard continued talking. "For someone in solitary confinement, you sure do blab."
The captive, ignoring the very annoying guard, did not respond, but rolled his eyes and pet the cat.
"Don't tell me you talk to that pet of yours!" the guard exclaimed. Airleah hissed at the guard. A pet? Her? This guard really was ignorant!
The man eyed the guard, half-peeved, but also half-humored. "I would think," he said, "that an elf like yourself would be more disciplined than to go around insulting people like that. And I'd think you'd have more self-respect that to go around talking to lowly prisoners." The word lowly was said with a sarcastic edge that the guard did not notice.
"Ah, but you're no ordinary prisoner, either," remarked the guard. "You're the 'great' Heslich." The word great had a sarcastic tone much like the captive's own, only he did notice it.
"Like I need reminding," the man said to himself.
"For one so feared, I must say that you weren't that hard to capture," said the guard with an air of superiority.
Heslich decided that the only way to get this guard to go away was to ignore him. So he turned the chair he was sitting in and faced the wall.
The footsteps of the guard were soon heard, signaling his retreat.
The captive sighed, grateful to have that pesky soldier gone.
"Sylfaen had better be capable of getting us out of here," said Heslich to the cat, and she nodded in agreement.
Miles away from the imprisoned Heslich, in a spare bedroom of Raye's house, the girl called Sylfaen was lying in bed. She was awake, and as much as she wanted to fall asleep, thoughts kept forcing themselves into her mind. For the first time since waking up in an unfamiliar forest, Sylfaen felt doubt, real doubt, that she could do what Heslich expected of her.
I'm just a normal person. I don't think I can help anyone escape from a huge stronghold…
But it looked like she had no choice but to try, she consoled herself. And anyway…Heslich seemed to think she was able to help him escape…She'd just have to believe him.
If Heslich says I can…I guess I have to trust him… she thought, her thoughts finally becoming muddled from sleepiness.
Her last thought was, Trust Heslich…