The rustling got louder as I backed up toward the lake. If I needed to swim away, I'd do it.
I screamed when something wrapped around me in a tight hug.
Luckily, Apollo taught me a few self-defence moves a few months back. Terrance thought I needed to be trained too, which is why he volunteered himself to be the 'test dummy'. But I didn't get it and Apollo had to demonstrate throwing our friend…I'll just say…a few times. In fact, Terrance didn't want to be Apollo's 'helper' anymore. So I had to watch a YouTube video around thirty times to understand (some of it). Then I used my brother as my test dummy when I thought I got it. After multiple tries I had it perfect, although Apollo wasn't that thrilled that I did one more as a victory throw.
I wondered if I remembered how to do that…
I started by grabbing whatever wrapped around me. I realized this something was a someone, and what I grabbed were hands.
It was nice that the pain on my arm from the wolf attack disappeared (Princey actually did good). Although, I did feel bad for what I was about to do, since it may actually hurt him or her. However, luck must be on both of our sides, since there was a lake beside me to lessen the fall.
"Sorry about this," I whispered.
For my 'bear hug escape', I started with a sumo stance (yeah, I told Apollo I wasn't going to, but apparently it was important…) as well as step behind this person's left side with my right leg. I was sure the person's balance was off, which was definitely good in this situation…well, for me anyway.
"Wait, Diana, don't!" he said.
Soon after, I recognized who the voice belonged to and I smiled. Then I grabb a part of his pants to lift him off the ground, as well as flip him…and sadly, myself into the lake.
I guess I needed to watch that video again…
I resurfaced and stormed out of the lake. If it was possible for ears to have steam coming out when you're mad, I knew I almost had enough to fill a room to make a sauna. Unfortunately, Princey was having fun swimming again.
While I rummaged through the bag of supplies, I found out it was more roomy than I thought; as in empty. Even though there wasn't a towel in there, I found: the bit of food we had left, Tsaro's blanket, a bunch of money in a plastic bag, a first-aid kit, rope, a roll of white silk, a yard of darker green elastic (the type to sew), and the usual other stuff for survival.
I took the silk and elastic, then took off to the top of the tree I wanted to sleep on before. With my bag of things that people like Tsaro didn't need to know about, I used my emergency sewing kit to make a simple dress. The kit came from John and Myrina taught me to sew.
That's when I breathed out a heavy sigh. "Man, I miss them…" I said.
Tsaro got out of lake and dried himself with his blanket, as I got changed into my new dress far away from him. I left my shorts on and put the rest of my costume away in my backpack.
I leaned on the trunk of the tree that I was sitting on earlier and watched the sun rise up slowly.
"Another dress?" Tsaro asked, while walking passed me. "You're always wearing one. What about a t-shirt and some jeans?"
I rolled my eyes. "I wear dresses for a reason," I said.
My eyes widened to what I just said.
Please, please, don't ask why!
"What's your reason?" he asked. (stupid, Princey…)
I poked my forehead a few times, before I finally thought of an answer to use. "It's my signature look..." he didn't look convinced. "Plus, there wasn't any denim and time left." I said, while standing with my backpack over my shoulder. "We should go."
After a few moments of silence, we heard yelling. It was coming from behind us, but it didn't sound that close to us.
A shiver went down my spine, while I sank down to a sitting position on the tree…I knew these guys. They kidnapped Tsaro and I.
"We can't let those kids get back to the castle!" the guy with the gruff voice shouted. "Find them!"
Tsaro whispered to me before sneaking off. "Diana, listen in," he said. "I'll get the supplies. Then we'll run."
"Don't we only need the prince?" another voice said. The voice sounded deep, but for about two seconds, I was sure it was feminine. "What about the girl?"
"We don't need her," the gruff voiced man said. "Like I said before, if you find her, kill her."
"But first, I want to get this straight," a third voice said. His voice sounded faintly familiar… "The prince kissed her. So he probably likes her, correct?"
"Might be," the gruff voice said.
"Or maybe not," the second voice said in a somewhat distant tone. Did I hear wrong, or was that Lucy? If it was, why would she be here? There was a sliver of anger in her next words. "I mean, maybe she forced him."
I started stretching out my hands. Looks like someone (even if she was a friend of Rick's) wanted me to flip her into the now freezing lake…or maybe the cold, hard, ground.
"Don't mind him," the third voice said. "What my point was…I think if we keep her alive, the prince will obey us."
"Not a bad idea," their leader (a.k.a. gruff voiced man. Maybe I'll call him Scruffy. I wonder why that name popped into mind…) said. "I don't think they would be wandering around in the camou-furs' (it must be the name of those camouflaging wolves...Oh, I get why they're named that now) area, unless they were complete idiots. We should go to see the elder after a few more minutes of searching."
"Okay, that hurt," I muttered to myself, as Tsaro came back.
"I do respect elders, but why do we need to see this one in particular?" the guard with the feminine voice said.
"I lost the map a few hours back and he owns the original copies of maps from all over the world." Scruffy said.
My arm was grabbed from beside me and I stared at the gloved hand. When I looked up, it was a person in a suit of armour. My eyes widen when I watched him move his visor up.
I smiled to see it was Rick. He smiled back for a couple of seconds then put the visor and my arm down.
Rick lowered his gloved hand and pointed his index finger to nowhere in particular. While that, he rotates that finger in the speed of seconds on a clock. With his other hand, he signals with four fingers out.
I didn't know what he meant, but Tsaro seemed to understand. He grabbed my arm and we ran off silently, deeper into the woods. We started up a conversation a little after five minutes.
"Diana what did they say?" Tsaro asked, running to my side.
"For one thing, Scruffy wanted to murder me," I explained. "Rick tried defending me, and the other guard is possibly your other best friend."
Tsaro's eyes widened and a frown formed on his face. "What?" he said.
"That other guard I heard…I think that guard was a girl," I said. "And I think she was Lucy."
Tsaro stopped. "Lucy?" he asked. "Why would she be here? It's dangerous."
I raised an eyebrow. "So? What about Rick?" I said. "He helped us escape. Don't you care that he'll possibly get killed?" I muttered the rest. "I can't believe Lucy dislikes me. I thought we'd be great friends…"
"Well Rick probably has the mind too great for anyone to decipher. Except when his thoughts are of the people he cares about…it's too obvious then," Tsaro said to me. He paused before saying, "Why would Lucy dislike you?"
I kept walking to make sure I got further away from the guards. "Princey, you are so naïve," I said. "She heard about what didn't actually happen when we got kidnapped." Then I coughed while I said, "She likes you."
"You heard me."
"No, you coughed and mumbled."
"Well, you don't need to hear it again. Besides, she probably won't want me saying that."
"I order you to tell me, Diana!"
"Nah, I'm good, Princey!"
"Please? If it helps, I'll call you Di."
Di…I haven't heard someone call me that in a while. It even made me smile, until I remembered who was calling me that.
"Don't call me that," I say. "You haven't earned the right to yet."
I ran off ahead of him because I hated answering his questions. But I was still wondering why Rick and Lucy would be travelling with such awful people. Maybe they came to save us? Or maybe Rick was just being nice by giving us a head start? If they really were bad, I might not get a chance like that again. I was even more determined to not end up like Robin Hood; because this time, my identity as Miss Masquerade would be as secretive as possible.
After I was out of the forest, I saw a small village (maybe home?) at least twenty miles away from where I am standing. As I look down, I saw a wide dirt trail connected to where I came out, which was strange because there wasn't a trail in the forest in the first place.
Something got passed me so quickly, that my hair was blown in my face. When I looked at what just got by me, it was a dark-furred monkey. What I found was weird was that its tail was in the shape of a spring, like Tigger's from Winnie the Pooh.
Curiously, I chased after it. It was heading towards the village so it wasn't that far of a run…if I was a marathon runner.
Once I started running, the monkey looked back with its adorable brown monkey eyes. And it's wide smile made me think it was mentally challenging me to race it to the village. I grinned to take it on, after all, I liked races.
During the time I started to lose speed, which was after an hour, I decided I would take a break rather than die. However, that monkey just kept going. My gut told me that little guy would slow down, but no, it just had to show off how it could bounce with its tail and laugh at me.
"Need some assistance?" someone offered.
I looked up at the sight of Tsaro sitting on the back of a pick-up truck filled with hay. The truck stopped.
"How?" I asked, while heavily breathing.
"C'mon girly," a man said, with his head out of the window at the front. "If you want to catch that monkey of yours, you better hop on. Choose quickly, I'm going ahead right now."
At that moment, he started the engine and I freaked. "He was SERIOUS?!" I shouted.
"Wait, she's not on yet!" Tsaro yelled, while reaching out to me.
The truck moved forward, and I tried to jump on. Sadly, I tripped. But instead of falling into the not-so-pleasant-looking dirt, I felt myself get pulled up. Then I faint of exhaustion.
The first thing I saw when I open my eyes was a dark hairy face. "YAH!" I screamed.
I flipped over hastily, which ended up with me falling to the smooth, wooden floor. The thing with the hairy face jumped back too, in my same position but at the other side of the room, and I soon found out it was that chimp that was sort of mocking me before.
Tsaro walked into the room with a banana. "You should thank me for making sure you didn't face plant out there," he said.
Unexpectedly, the monkey jumped Tsaro to the floor. It stole the banana, looked at me, and pointed to Princey. Then to my satisfaction, it whacked Princey on the head a few times with the banana.
A few minutes of Tsaro and the chimp fighting over the banana went by. Which was the reason for me to roll my eyes. "Monkeys, both of them," I said.
They both stopped fighting and the cute one (the monkey of course), threw the now-messed-up-looking banana into the hall. Although unlikely, I would feel bad if somebody slipped on that.
"I never knew bananas could actually be a weapon," Tsaro muttered, standing up. "Be careful, Diana. He's a wild one. Watch out for him when his eyes glow."
I bent over to my new friend. "Oh, you're a he?" I asked. He smiled. "Do you have a name?" He shook his head. "Do you want one?" He nodded. "What about Babu? Or Muloco?"
"Or Fuzz-ball?" Tsaro added jokingly. "Maybe Mr. Bananas? Oh, wait…My-Little-Nutty-Monkey?"
"What kind of names are those?!" I asked.
"They're at least better than Muloco," Princey said.
"Tsaro!" I shouted.
"Ooh-ooh-ah!" the monkey screamed, while bouncing with his tail.
"Oh, you like that name?" I asked, walking him to the door, where Tsaro stood.
Tsaro looked taken back. "Too bad, that's my name," he protested.
"What about Silas?" I said as a solution. "It's a much better name than Tsaro."
"Hey!" Princey shouted.
I pointed to the banana in the hallway. "You want to pick that up so no one trips on it?" I said to my little buddy. Right when I said 'it', someone carrying a few boxes walked by and slipped on the banana (oh man… Glad he was just carrying light fabrics). "Actually you wanna check if that guy's okay?"
As the monkey went to help the stranger, I closed the door quietly, but quickly to have a chat with Princey.
"Do you want him to have the same name as you?" I asked, with an eyebrow raised.
"No," Tsaro answered.
"Okay," I said. Princey was about to speak up, but I cut in. "Just play along."
I opened the door and saw the monkey folding up cotton and rub the stranger's back at the same time. I loved this little guy.
"So how about Silas?" I asked, walking up to him.
"What?! Diana?" Tsaro whined convincingly. "The name Silas should belong to me!"
The monkey stopped what he was doing to tug on the bottom of my dress, and he showed me his white teeth with a wide smile.
"Okay, my friend," I said. "Your name is Silas."
Tsaro slammed the door and faked his anger with his own choice of words (somebody needs to wash his mouth out with soap…). Then Silas jumped up and down, clapping at his victory. I felt bad that he didn't know Tsaro was actually acting, but I could get over it. After all, I didn't want to end up saying Tsaro's name even more than I do now.
After Princey's very convincing tantrum, the three of us left the inn we were staying in.
Outside (here's definitely not home), I was surprised I didn't get pulled into the sea of people. Even though I couldn't see much of it, the ground was tiled. There were many old-styled buildings, and the place reeked of perfume and horse manure.
"What on Earth are they wearing?" I said.
The people around here were wearing odd outfits, if you compared them to what Tsaro and I are wearing.
The women were wearing gowns that looked impossible to breathe in, let alone walk in. Luckily, they didn't wear so much make-up. However, they did wear ridiculously huge hats that keep hitting my face as they walk passed me. I couldn't believe that my eyes haven't been poked out yet.
The men…they were wearing tuxedos. Of course, that seemed normal if you got passed the huge shoulder pads, tacky buttons, flashy ties, and colourful laces on dress shoes (*shivers*)
At one point, I thought Tsaro was getting claustrophobic, and I was thinking I would rather risk getting hit by one of their bedazzled carriages than stay in the crowd any longer. So I dragged Tsaro and Silas to a patch of open road.
Remembering Scruffy, Rick, and Lucy's conversation, I walked to one of the women who were actually wearing normal clothing. She was talking to a couple of other folks and I noticed there was a table beside her with a sign that read: Fortune, Fate, and Cookies!
"Ma'am?" I called. "Would you happen to know the elder with all the maps?"
"Why yes," she said, with her back turned from me. "He's actually nearby. Follow the marble tiled road and you'll find the Rab Retsnom. Ask for directions from there."
When she faced me, she squinted. I really hoped I was not covered in monkey hair.
"You…you better be careful," she said. "Your secret...it will bring you into danger. Our Robin Hood will soon be revealed to many…Lives will be drastically changed forever." She gave a paper bag to Silas. "Aww…I knew you were coming! I baked you these cookies, little chimp."
"Diana," Tsaro said. "What is she talking about?"
"I-I have no idea," I told him. "She probably mistook me for someone else…"
"It's Miss Masquerade!" someone shouted.
I turned around and saw a man pointing at my direction. Officers came running and my feet were frozen because of actual fear.
I blinked twice when they went passed me. Then I whirled around to see the officers chase a silhouette on the roof tops.
"She's following me now?" Tsaro asked with anger.
Then he took out his bow and readied an arrow, while Silas covered his eyes with his hands and ducked.
Would he really shoot?
Before I could find out for sure, I instinctively shoved Princey to make him miss. He let an arrow go and it hit a tile on the roof. That seemed to scare the silhouette up there, and she dropped into an alley for her escape.
"Diana," he said. "Even if you are her fan, it doesn't give you the right to do that!"
"First of all, yes it does. Secondly, you can't shoot," I said, in the calmest tone I could manage. "That's not Miss Masquerade. That was an impostor."
"You don't know that."
"No, you don't," I said. "I do. I just know that's not her, Tsaro. Trust me." Fists started to form from my hands. "We're going to find out what she's trying to do and I'm going to smack her silly."