"Davy?" I snapped at the voice and felt wool crush between my teeth. My eyes caught sight of Cady and I reared with her sleeve in my grip. "Davy, let go!" She slapped me with her free hand. She slapped me! I was so shocked that I let go of her and backed up a few steps. I didn't even know she had it in her. She had pulled me out of my thoughts of hatred and fury and confusion, and now I finally looked around. Feather was still staring at the rider slumped dead over her back. A few other horses and their riders had caught up, including Canon, but no one was helping. No one was getting close to the shocked horse, and it wasn't until somebody tried that I understood why. Canon took a few steps forward and his rider, Caleb, attempted to reach for Feather's reins. They were stopped short by a quick nip on the rider's arm and a shrieking cry from Feather. No one was getting near her and Ryan.

Of course, Cady's shouts had not gone unnoticed. Sarge trotted up to me and began scolding me in low tones. "You let a prisoner get away on your back?! What were ya thinkin', huh? I knew you were trouble from the first day your southern arse trotted into my camp! You'll be sorry!" His rider merely snapped at Cady to get control of her horse before he turned Sarge away, but the furious horse continued to glare at me as he walked back to the camp. I pinned my ears back and glared back, challenging him to do his best. I didn't know what he was going to do, but I didn't care at the moment. I could feel Cady mounting me again, but I had a new kind of respect for her. She had been bold enough to slap me, to knock me to my senses. I knew it was strange, especially after I had just been vowing my own anger just a few moments before, but this girl was different. It didn't mean that I was still angry at her for hitting me, though, but I would have to strike my revenge later. She clutched my mane between her small hands and lightly tapped my sides. I trotted away from the scene without taking a second look back at the distraught horse with her dead rider. I still knew that that horse would have her revenge on me later, too, though.

****

I walked back into the camp to see that everything looked quite normal. Everybody was rather peaceful considering that a prisoner had tried to escape less than half an hour before. It was purely strange to me. A prisoner escaping was an event, yet it looked like nobody cared. Was he really not that important?

Cady dismounted and placed my halter over my head. I let her without trying to bite or snap for the first time in weeks. She slowly tied me to the tree before giving me one long look in the eye. Then she rested her head against me and hugged my neck. I shivered.

"I almost lost you today, Lad," she whispered. "I can't lose another one, I just can't. Why was it you? Why did it have to be you? Why is it always me?" I shivered again. "I'm just bad luck. I never should have joined the army. I never should have left home." Others in the camp were watching us now. I knew they were all thinking the same thing: what happened? Men, male soldiers, never acted like this around their horses, but Cady looked like a mere boy thrust into the world of manhood. I had to make it seem acceptable somehow. Well, I wanted to. If she was found out just by this little action, then that could mean terrible things for me, too.