The rustling gets louder as I back up towards the lake. If I need to swim away, I will.

I scream when something wraps 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. Then I used my brother as mytest 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 wonder if I remember how to do this…

I start by grabbing whatever wrapped around me. I realize this something is a someone, and what I grabbed was hands.

It's nice that's the pain on my arm from the wolf attack isn't there anymore (Princey actually did good). Although, I do feel bad for what I'm about to do, since it may actually hurt him or her. However, luck must be on both of our sides, since there's a lake beside me to lessen the fall.

"Sorry about this," I whisper.

For my 'bear hug escape', I start with a sumo stance (Yeah, I told Apollo I wasn't going to, but apparently it's important…) as well as step behind this person's left side with my right leg. I'm sure the person's balance is off, which is definitely good in this situation…well, for me anyway.

"Wait Diana, don't!" he says.

Soon after, I recognize who the voice belonged to and I smile. Then I grab 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 need to watch that video again…

I resurface and storm out of the lake. If it's possible for ears to have steam coming out when you're mad, I'm pretty sure I almost have enough to fill a room to make a sauna. Unfortunately, Princey was having fun swimming again.

While I rummage through the bag of supplies, I find out it's more empty than I thought. Even though there wasn't a towel in there, I find: the bit of food we have 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 take the silk and elastic, then take off to the top of the tree I wanted to sleep on before. With my bag of things that people like Tsaro doesn't need to know about, I use my emergency sewing kit to make a simple dress. The kit came from John and I learned to sew from Myrina.

That's when I sigh. "Man, I miss them…" I say.

Tsaro gets out of lake and dries himself with his blanket, as I get changed into my new dress far away from him. I leave my shorts on and put the rest of my costume away in my backpack.

I lean on the trunk of the tree I was sitting on earlier and watch the sun rise up slowly.

"Another dress?" Tsaro asks, while walking passed me. "You're always wearing one. What about a t-shirt and some jeans?"

I roll my eyes. "I wear dresses for a reason," I say.

My eyes widen to what I just said.

Please, please, don't ask why!

"What's your reason?" he asks. (Stupid, Princey…)

I poke my forehead a few times, before I finally thought of an answer to use. "It's my signature look..." he doesn't look convinced. "Plus, there isn't any denim and time left." I say, while standing with my backpack over my shoulder. "We should go."

After a few moments of silence, we hear yelling. It's coming from behind us, but it's doesn't sound that close to us.

A shiver goes down my spine, while I sink down to a sitting position on the tree…I know these guys. They kidnapped Tsaro and me.

"We can't let those kids get back to the castle!" the guy with the gruff voice shouts. "Find them!"

Tsaro whispers to me before sneaking off. "Diana, listen in." he says. "I'll get the supplies. Then we'll run."

"Don't we only need the prince?" another voice says. The voice sounds deep, but for about two seconds, I was sure it was feminine. "What about the girl?"

"We don't need her," the gruff man's voice says. "Like I said before, if you find her, kill her."

"But first, I want to get this straight," a third voice says. His voice sounds faintly familiar… "The prince kissed her. So he probably likes her, correct?"

"Might be," the gruff voice says.

"Or maybe not!" the second voice says, almost angrily. Did I hear wrong, or was that Lucy? If it is, why would she be here? "I mean, maybe she forced him."

I start stretching out my hands. Looks like someone (Even if she's a friend of Rick's) wants me to flip her into the probably freezing lake…or maybe the cold, hard, ground!

"Don't mind him," the third voice says. "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…) says. "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 mutter to myself, as Tsaro comes back.

"I do respect elders, but why do we need to see this one in particular?" the guard with the feminine voice says.

"I lost the map a few hours back and he owns the original copies of maps from all over the world." Scruffy says.

My arm is grabbed from beside me and I stare at the gloved hand. When I look up, it's a person in a suit of armour. My eyes widen when I see him move his visor up.

I smile to see it's Rick! He smiles back for a couple of seconds then puts the visor and my arm down.

Rick lowers his gloved hand and points his index finger to now where 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 don't know what he means, but Tsaro seems to understand. He grabs my arm and we run off silently, deeper into the woods. We start up a conversation a little after five minutes.

"Diana what did they say?" Tsaro asks, running to my side.

"For one thing, Scruffy wanted to murder me," I explain. "Rick tried defending me, and the other guard possibly has a 'thing' for you."

Tsaro's eyes widen and a frown forms on his face. "What?" he says.

"That other guard I heard…I think that guard is a girl." I say. "And I think she's Lucy."

Tsaro stops. "Lucy?" he asks. "Why would she be here? It's dangerous."

I raise an eyebrow. "So? what about Rick?" I say. "He helped us escape. Don't you care that he'll possibly get killed?" then I mutter the rest. "And I'm pretty sure Lucy hates me."

"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 way too obvious." Tsaro says to me. He pauses before asking, "Why would Lucy hate you?"

I keep walking to make sure I get further away from the guards. "Princey, you are so naïve," I say. "She heard about what didn't actually happen when we got kidnapped." Then I cough when I say, "She likes you."

"What?"

"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 Die."

Die…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 run off ahead of him because I hate answering his questions. But I'm 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 are bad, I might not get a chance like that again. Now I'm more determined to not end up like Robin Hood; because this time, my identity as Miss Masquerade will be as secretive as possible.

After I'm out of the forest, I see a small village (Maybe it's home!) at least twenty miles away from where I am standing. As I look down, I see a wide dirt trail connected to where I came out, which is strange because there wasn't a trail in the forest in the first place.

Something gets passed me so quickly, that my hair gets blown in my face. When I look at what just got by me, it's 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 like 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 says.

I look up at the sight of Tsaro sitting on the back of a pick-up truck filled with hay. The truck stops.

"How?" I ask, while heavily breathing.

"C'mon girly," a man says, 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 starts the engine and I start to freak. "He was SERIOUS?!" I shout.

"Wait, she's not on yet!" Tsaro shouts, now standing and reaching out to me.

The truck starts to move, and I try to jump on. Sadly, I trip. But instead of falling into the not-so-pleasant-looking dirt, I feel myself get pulled up. Then I faint of exhaustion.


The first thing I see when I open my eyes is a dark hairy face. "YAH!" I scream.

I flip over hastily, which ended up with me falling to the smooth, wooden floor. The thing with the hairy face jumps back too, in my same position but at the other side of the room, and I soon find out it's that chimp that was sort of mocking me before.

Tsaro walks into the room with a banana. "You should thank me for making sure you didn't face plant out there." he says.

Unexpectedly, the monkey jumps Tsaro to the floor. It steals away the banana, looks at me, and points to Princey. Then to my satisfaction, it whacks Princey on the head a few times with the banana.

A few minutes of Tsaro and the chimp fighting over the banana go by. Hence the reason for me to roll my eyes. "Monkeys, both of them," I say.

They both stop fighting and the cute one (The monkey of course!), throws the now-messed-up-looking banana into the hall (I feel bad for whoever slips on that, even though it's not likely).

"I never knew bananas could actually be a weapon." Tsaro mutters, standing up. "Be careful, Diana. He's a wild one. Watch out for him when his eyes glow."

I bend over to my new friend. "Oh, you're a he?" I ask. He smiles. "Do you have a name?" He shakes his head. "Do you want one?" He nods. "What about Babu? Or Muloco?"

"Or Fuzz-ball?" Tsaro adds jokingly. "Maybe Mr. Bananas? Oh, wait…My-Little-Nutty-Monkey?"

"What kind of names are that?!" I ask.

"They're at least better than Muloco." Princey says.

"Tsaro!" I shout.

"Ooh-ooh-ah!" the monkey screams, while bouncing with his tail.

"Oh, you like that name?" I ask, walking him to the door, where Tsaro stands.

Tsaro looks taken back now. "Too bad, that's my name." he protests.

"What about Silas?" I say as a solution. "It's a much better name than Tsaro."

"Hey!" Princey shouts.

I point to the banana in the hallway. "You want to pick that up so no one trips on it?" I say to my little buddy. Right when I said 'it', someone carrying a few boxes walks by and slips on the banana (Oh man…I'm glad he was just carrying light fabrics). "Actually you wanna check if that guy's okay?"

As the monkey goes to help the stranger, I close the door silently, but quickly to have a chat with Princey.

"Do you want him to have the same name as you?" I ask, with an eyebrow raised.

"No," Tsaro answers.

"Okay," I say. Princey is about to speak up, but I cut in. "Just play along."

I open the door and see the monkey folding up cotton and rub the stranger's back at the same time. I love this little guy!

"So how about Silas?" I ask, walking up to him.

"What?! Diana?" Tsaro whines convincingly. "The name Silas should belong to me!"

The monkey stops what he's doing to tug on the bottom of my dress, and show me his white teeth with a wide smile.

"Okay, my friend," I say. "Your name is Silas."

Tsaro slams the door and fakes his anger with his own choice of words (Somebody needs to wash his mouth out with soap…). Then Silas jumps up and down, clapping at his victory. I feel bad that he doesn't know Tsaro is actually acting, but I'll get over it. I don'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 leave the inn we were staying in.

Outside (Here's definitely not home), I'm surprised I didn't get pulled into the body of people. Even though I can't see much of it, the ground is tiled. There are lots of old-styled buildings, and the place reeks of perfume and horse manure.

"What on Earth are they wearing?" I say.

The people around here are wearing odd outfits, if you compare them to what Tsaro and I are wearing.

The women are wearing gowns that look hard to breathe in, let alone walk in. Luckily, they don't wear so much make-up. However, they do wear ridiculously huge hats that keep hitting my face as they walk passed me.

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 think Tsaro was getting claustrophobic, and I was thinking I would rather risk getting hit by one of their bedazzled carriages than stay in this crowd any longer. So I drag Tsaro and Silas to a patch of open road.

Remembering Scruffy, Rick, and Lucy's conversation, I walk to one of the women who is actually wearing normal clothing. She is talking to a couple of other folks and I notice there's a table beside her with a sign that reads: Fortune, Fate, and Cookies!

"Ma'am?" I ask. "Would you happen to know the elder with all the maps?"

"Why yes," she says, 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 turns around, she squints at me. I really hope I'm not covered in monkey hair.

"You…you better be careful," she says. "Your secret...it will bring you into danger. Our Robin Hood will soon be revealed to many…Lives will be drastically changed forever." She gives a paper bag to Silas. "Aww…These cookies are for you, little chimp."

"Diana," Tsaro says. "What is she talking about?"

"I-I have no idea," I tell him. "She probably mistook me for someone else…"

"It's Miss Masquerade!" someone shouts.

I turn around and see a man point at my direction. Officers run here and my feet are frozen because of actual fear.

I blink twice when they run passed me. Then I turn around to see the officers chase a silhouette on the roof tops.

"She's following me now?" Tsaro asks with anger.

Then he takes out his bow and readies an arrow, while Silas covers his eyes with his hands and ducks.

Would he really shoot?

Before I can find out for sure, I instinctively push Princey to make him miss. He lets and arrow go and it hits a tile on the roof. That seemed to scare the silhouette up there, and she drops into an alley for her escape.

"Diana," he says. "Even if you're her fan, it doesn't give you the right to do that!"

"First of all, yes it does. Secondly, you can't shoot," I say, in the calmest tone I can manage. "That's not Miss Masquerade. That was an impostor."

"You don't know that." he counters.

"No, you don't," I say. "I do. I just know that's not her, Tsaro. Trust me." Fists start to form with my hands. "We're going to find out what she's trying to do and I'm going to smack her silly."