Caro shook his head. “I still can’t believe this? How could Gino do something so…so…” “Stupid?” Davis suggested. Caro glared at him. “Thank you. I was thinking foolish.”
Davis held up his hands. “Don’t blame me; I’m just as confused as anyone here. Opal, are you sure that this is true?” Rora bowed her head and stood up. “Sir, Gino went back to the building after Pussy. He wanted to make sure we didn’t forget her, knowing how much she meant to…Opal.” Opal put her arms around her beloved cat protectively.
Promise growled and his ears shot up. Caro rubbed his head. “Promise senses something wrong.” He sighed. “He’s like an alarm clock for danger. But this… this disrupts everything! What is the plan now?”
Davis wheeled around and faced them. “I think we’ve been running too long, Prince Caro. We’re so close to the capitol. It’s time to act.” Opal lifted her sightless eyes to his. “And what would you have us do?” She asked.
Davis thought for a moment. “What if we sent you and Rora ahead to the capitol? As long as you travel with us, you will be in danger. But alone, who would notice you? You could wait in the city until we arrive, and then if something happens to us, you’ll be able to go on.” Pussy climbed onto Opal’s shoulder and licked her ear. Opal gently lifted her off. “That is an idea.” She said slowly. “But whether it is a good one or not is beyond me.”
“If only we had Gino.” Caro grumbled. “Why did he have to leave us for something so foolish?” “Gino had troubles few knew about.” Opal cried. “I do not justify his works, but only ask for understanding. You can only see a portion of what is happening.”
They were silent for a while. “You’re right.” Caro said softly. “I’m sorry, Opal. That was out of turn.” “I am as well.” Opal sighed. “Sorry that this had to happen at all. Sorry that we don’t have a chance without his advice.”
“We might have lost one person, but we still have some left.” Davis said stubbornly. “I came to help take Nya from the throne. And I intend to finish that purpose as far as I can help it.” Caro laughed, took Opal’s hands, and helped her up. “That’s good for me. I think we can try that plan Davis came up with.”
Opal sighed. “I don’t know. The capitol is such a chaotic mess. I can only see tiny snatches of what’s going on, from tiny things that Gino sends me, but even that is becoming less and less frequent. He’s scared. That scares me.” Caro sighed with her. Both Opal and Caro knew what Nya was like. “What scares you, that Gino is scared?” He asked.
Opal laughed. “Gino is always scared.” She said softly. “Even when we were small children. My memories are so vague from that time, but I remember one thing. Grown-up Gino coming to me and asking me what I see. I don’t see anything. He says he is worried about his parents. Then I tell him. And he starts to cry.” Opal began to cry herself and sat back down. “I’m scared that he’s alone. Gino is strong. But not that strong.”
Promise slunk over and laid his head on her knees, as if to say, “I miss him too.” Opal rubbed his head. “Don’t worry about Gino, Opal. Someone is watching him, just like He’s watching us.” Caro said, looking out towards the rest of the camp. “But what do we tell the others?”
“To be perfectly honest, Prince Caro, most of them had no idea of Gino’s real job here. In fact, a few of them wondered why he was here at all. We don’t need a mapmaker, we have some professional scouts now, and Gino couldn’t fight or lead.” Davis explained. Caro nodded.
“Why bring a shepherd? Why not a soldier? I don’t know why The Creator chose, or why he chose us. But there has to be a reason. We’ll continue on. I think you’re right, Davis. It’s getting too dangerous for the girls. We should send them on. Well, if Rora is willing.”
Rora was willing, and the plans were made. They needed a good time to enter the city, and it hadn’t come yer. But they were impatient to begin. The faster they got there, the faster they took out Nya. Davis, Caro, and Opal had another reason: the faster they stopped Nya, the sooner they found Gino.
Opal seemed reluctant. Though she never said anything, something was bothering her. She shook her head, as if to clear it, but the doubt remained. Caro noticed. “Are you frightened?” He asked one day, almost right before their departure.
Opal’s eyes turned blank. “No.” She said softly. “I’m not frightened. I’m just…worried. Those of my order were powerful, and I am young. I have no training, and no sight. How, if I were to face Nya, and she resisted, would I fare?”
“But what about the words of promise?” Caro asked. Opal tilted her head. “There is that, yes. If I can speak in her presence, I will say that. But it will be difficult. And heartbreaking.” She covered her face with her hands. Caro had been thinking of her statement. “Your order? What does that mean?”
Opal laughed, in spite of herself. “Did no one tell you of the schools of the prophets? My order is the Iya. My mother, in fact, was of the priestly line. Her father was furious when she married mine, a peasant. She named me Iya, after the order I was born into. My father called me Opal.”
“Nya is also an Iya. Strangely enough, her name was once Iya as well, but she changed it, as you know. The other Iya are gone. I can’t help but wonder if Nya had something to do with that, and that my father changed my name to protect me. Dear Father! I miss him. But I worry. Nya’s power is stronger than mine. Much stronger, like a child compared to a giant!”
“A child slew the giant, when the Creator was with him.” Caro mused. “I don’t think you should worry about that. He is with you. He has left her.” Opal sighed. “But did that weaken her, or make her stronger?” She worried.
The next day, the two girls set out. “It’s better this way.” Caro assured Opal. She looked at him in that strange way that made him feel like she could see right into him. She smiled sadly. “Until we meet again?” She said timidly, holding out her hand. “We’ll be there soon.” Caro said again. Opal shook her head, and turned to Rora. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”