Once again, sorry. It's a rough draft.


"Sevvy, I don't think the king really wanted us to go"

"He told us we could do whatever we want"

"I think he was stressed."

"You think?" I couldn't help but laugh. "I think we're all a little stressed."

Nade sighed, "You know what I mean. He really wasn't in the decision making frame of mind"

It had been quite some time since me and Nade had last been away from the castle. We would have to collect all of our things together in order to make the trip, Cascada wasn't very far, but it was definitely more than a day's trip away. I started digging through my closet, looking for anything that might be useful.

"Clothes, shoes, clothes, paper, quills," I muttered. "A necklace? A knife, this might be useful." For now, I tucked the knife away in my pocket.

"What are you doing?"

"Let's see, toy soldiers, plates, a flute, wood," why do I have wood here?

"Ow, Sevorick!"

I turned my head for a moment; my sister was covered in the random assortment of junk that I had just finishing hurling from my closet. "Sorry Nade"

"Will you stop? We're not going anywhere"

"Rope! That's always good, lantern, great," I wonder if Nade could snatch some food for us. "Hey, you wouldn't happen to have any food we could bring with us would you? Maybe even something to hold water in?"

"Are you even listening to me?"

"Not really, food?"

"I told you I'm not going"

I wasn't entirely sure, but I didn't think the closet would yield any more results. At the very least I managed to procure some useful items. Nade could heal us so there was no need for first aid of any kind. It looked like all we needed to get was food, books, and then something to carry it all in.

"I'm going to get our backpacks set up, have you found the water yet?"

Nadezda raised her hands and clenched them into fists before turning around and stomping off. She was probably muttering something under her breath about how impossible I was, which would go perfectly with the loud thumping made by her deliberate stepping. It would all stop when she began to realize that it was going to draw attention to her. If there was anything my sister was it was shy.

She absolutely hated attention beyond the ordinary from anyone besides me and maybe the king. I never understood why she was like that; it was just the way things were. The good thing about it though, was that it made her easy to convince. With the way things were in the castle she either had to go with me or stay here by herself. I didn't enjoy manipulating her, but it had to be done.

I quickly filled up two backpacks with working clothes and an assortment of random knickknacks that might prove useful when exploring the ruins. Making my way to the laboratory I ran through a checklist of the equipment and books that we would need. We would need a magnifying glass, the book that we originally found the empress stones in, and probably a few of the writings regarding the old language.

Nadezda kept the lab fairly neat despite my protests and it was easy to find all of the needed materials in their proper place. The only thing left was to wait; my hand was shaking with excitement. We were going to have to figure out some way to escape from the castle. The best bet would probably be the sewers considering how silently Cyrus managed to sneak himself in. If any of the guards caught us leaving the castle grounds it would spell trouble for not only us, but for the entire city. If everything turned out to be like it read the risk would be well worth it.

"Here, I found some food and water," Nade said as she turned the corner. In her hand she held a small brown bag bulging out at all of its sides.


Nade reached into her bag and pulled out a few sets of clothes. It was now significantly less filled; hopefully it still had enough to avoid us having to do any serious scavenging. She threw the clothes at my chest and sighed. "You forgot to pack for me."


"Let's go already"