A loud banging noise echoed throughout our camp, waking all of the soldiers and Selene. She grumbled something under her breath and tried to ignore the sound, but it didn't stop. Grumpily staggering to her feet, she mumbled out, "I am going to kill whoever is making that damn noise." With a smirk, I threw my hood on and slowly followed her into the camp.
It seemed as if all of the soldiers were heading a certain way, so I fell in line with them and pulled my grumpy demon companion along with me. Eventually, everyone stopped walking, and we ended up in front of a makeshift stage.
After a few moments of waiting, the Prince walked onto the stage and looked the crowd over. Taking a deep breath, he called out, "Soldiers! Today is going to be the day. I have it on good authority that if we arrive today, they won't be ready for us, giving us the advantage we need!"
Hearing this, Selene began to loudly snicker, but a quick elbow into her ribs silenced her.
Turning back to the Prince, I heard him say, "We are going to march until we see the castle, then we will prepare for battle. Once nightfall comes, we will attack under the cover of darkness. Only take the essentials with you. We will not need the tents anymore. You all know the plan. Siege, and once you are inside, as promised, you can have whatever you get your hands on. Food, jewels, women, it can all be yours. All that I ask is that you leave the Princess and the King for me!" Hearing this, the soldiers let out a yell that echoed throughout the camp.
With our motivational speech being over, everyone slowly dispersed, heading off to grab their weapons. I turned to Selene and asked, "So what's next for us?" With a smirk, she replied, "Well, even though this is my adventure, you have decided on the next five steps, so we have no choice but to wait." I put my hands up in defeat and said, "I know, and I apologize, but I just want to make sure that we stay safe."
Selene only shrugged and replied, "I understand, and if you are sorry, then I can think of a way for you to make it up to me." I only raised an eyebrow, so she continued, "I can't imagine what husband would want his beautiful wife to walk through this dreadful heat. I will forgive you, but only if you carry me the rest of the way."
I stared at Selene and silently prayed that she was joking, but she continued to stare back at me. I let out a long, defeated sigh, and said, "Fine. I will carry you, but you can never call me lazy again." Happy that she once more got her way, Selene didn't bother to respond and happily skipped away. Letting out a groan, I followed her. I had a feeling this last day was going to feel much longer than all of the others combined.
As the two of us walked through the camp, I started to pay more attention to the soldiers around me. While they seemed to be in good moods, they also seemed highly nervous. We walked past a small group, and I happened to hear a portion of their conversation. One soldier said, "We only have enough water left to make it to the castle and the first night. If we don't capture the castle on the first night, we are going to die regardless."
The rest of their conversation faded away, but I could hear Selene snicker to herself. I couldn't help but be impressed with her foresight and said, "It seems like everything you predicted is coming true." Selene only shrugged and, without turning around, replied, "What can I say? These sorts of things come naturally to me. You are a protector, and I am a fighter." I couldn't argue with her words, as we ended up near the front of the camp.
It didn't take long for our vast amount of soldiers to gather, and with the Prince and older man upfront, we slowly started our march. I took a few steps but noticed that Selene wasn't next to me. I let out a long sigh, and without turning around, said, "Well, come on, let's get this over with." I heard giggling behind me as Selene leaped onto my back, wrapping her arms around me. I could only shake my head and began to walk forward with the rest of the army.
While we started at a quick pace, we soon slowed down to a crawl. I could see that everyone was affected by the heat, and Selene's constant complaints reinforced that fact. Unaffected by the weather, my pace was faster than everyone else's, and soon we ended up at the very front.
The Prince and older man walked together while four soldiers struggled to hold a tarp above them, shielding the two from the sun. To the right of the duo, I noticed that two tired-looking horses pulled a cart. I couldn't see what was on it, but I assumed that it had to do with water, judging by the crowd. Soldiers surrounded the cart, constantly bickering with each other.
Between Selene's constant complaints and the soldiers' whining, I didn't think I was going to make it with my sanity intact. Thankfully, after what felt like an eternity, the outline of the castle came into view. The Prince called out that we were going to stop and rest. In response, all of the soldiers collapsed onto the sand. I couldn't help but think this wasn't what one wanted to see from an army about to lay siege to a castle.
I was snapped from my thoughts by Selene whispering, "There is no one on guard." That caught my attention as I turned to look at the castle walls. Just as she said, the walls were empty, not a soldier in sight. Something about this didn't feel right, but I only shrugged it off. This wasn't my fight, after all.
I was about to set Selene down when I heard the Prince say, "It looks like someone is coming to meet us." I turned to the castle's gate and saw the man and woman from before, walking towards us with two soldiers.
Still on my back, Selene said, "Let's go talk to them. This sounds like it could be fun." I opened my mouth to say no, but was quickly cut off by Selene, saying, "Or is this going to be another part of my adventure that you pick?" Knowing that I wasn't going to win, I hung my head in defeat.
I didn't have to look back at Selene to know she had a massive smile on her face.
"That's what I thought. Now, forward my ultimate pack mule!" As Selene said this, she kicked my hips like she was spurring a horse forward.
Why the hell was this the only person that I could feel?
Grumbling to myself, I began the trek towards the duo with a pleased Selene on my back.
I heard the Prince call out angrily, "Where do you two think you are going?!" Ignoring his pouting, Selene replied, "We're going to go say hi. It's up to you if you want to join us, but either way, we are going."
I smirked as I heard the Prince sputter, but he fell in line behind us.