The cave floor turned slightly upward. Alan kept hold of
Morgane's hand and ignored Princess Andra's complaints, which
grew louder and more annoying with every passing moment. They
reached a plateau, and the floor of the cave smoothed out and was
Alan suddenly froze. "Shh!" he commanded, thrusting his
hand out toward Princess Andra.
Everyone fell silent. Alan strained, but he heard only the
blood roaring in his ears. "What is it?" Morgane breathed. "What
did you hear?"
"Er, nothing. I thought I heard… something, but I suppose I
was mistaken." He thought he had heard a sword being drawn
from a scabbard. To a warrior, the sound was unmistakable. He
glared at Princess Andra. If not for her whining, he could have
heard more clearly.
The atmosphere in the cave had changed. Tension swirled
through the air and threatened to choke Alan. The hair on the back
of his neck stood up. "Let us go quickly," he muttered. He grabbed
Morgane's hand and started to run.
This time Princess Andra had no complaints. She was also
quite fleet of foot, darting along effortlessly beside them. As they
reached the bottom of the little incline, they found their way
blocked by a group of perhaps ten scruffy men, all of whom had
drawn swords. Alan thrust Morgane behind him and drew his own