Captive

“I don’t see anyone,” said the puzzled traveler, squinting and looking around in all directions. He kept a tight grip on his knife just in case.

“Listen,” said Bronfus, “can’t you hear that?”

The traveler was still confused, for he heard nothing but wind and the rustling of leaves. But after a few moments had passed by, the clickety-clacking of horse hooves began to ring in his ears.

“Now I can hear it,” he said. “I guess you have better ears than me.”

“Forgive me,” said Bronfus. “I should’ve realized a biped like yourself wouldn’t be able to hear things from so far away. Stay here, my new friend, and keep quiet. I’ll go see who it is.” The bear moved forward in a lumbering gait, leaving the traveler behind, and up ahead in the distance, he saw a large white horse heading in his direction. And mounted on the horse was an armored knight, wearing a black surcoat, decorated with a fancy emblem of white wings, connected to a white sword. Upon seeing this, Bronfus realized who it was: a Knight of the Faithful Guardians.

When the knight came closer, he sat deep in his saddle, and pulled back the reins, and the horse came to a sudden halt. Bronfus, being cautious, approached him slowly, and the horse backed away, apparently frightened of the bear. But the knight managed to calm the steed down before dismounting.

“Been a long time since I’ve seen a Knight of The Faithful traveling in these parts,” said Bronfus. “This can only mean trouble.”

“Perhaps,” said the knight, walking slowly toward Bronfus, and resting his hand on the pommel of his sword. “Strange things are happening these days my old friend.” He removed his helm to reveal his face, and Bronfus’s eyes widened when he recognized who it was.

“Arthandus!” he shouted. “You crazy outlaw of a knight! What brings you so far west from Castle Hope? Must be important business I suppose.”

“Indeed it is,” said Arthandus. “I’ve been sent to investigate this area. Rumors of bright lights, and sudden visitors appearing out of nowhere, have spread throughout all of Barnoria. And most of the rumors are coming from this very place, so my Captain sent us here to see what’s going on.” He gazed around for a moment, to see if anyone suspicious was lurking about, then turned back to Bronfus. “Have you seen any peculiar visitors in recent days?”

Bronfus didn’t say a word. He wasn’t sure what the knight would do to the mysterious traveler that he told to stay put. And he was well aware that The Knights of The Faithful Guardians didn’t fool around when it came to protecting the realm.

“Well?” continued Arthandus. “Have you seen anyone suspicious as of late?”

“I’ve seen a couple of goblins if that’s what you mean,” said Bronfus, in an unconvincing tone. “And a few wood trolls as well...but nothing this ole bear can’t handle.”

Arthandus scowled at him. “Come on, Bronfus, we’re friends. I’d hate to think you’re hiding something from me. You know very well I’m not talking about trolls or goblins!”

Before Bronfus could say another word, he and the knight were suddenly distracted by a crackling noise coming from the nearby bushes, and within a matter of seconds, the mysterious traveler, who was apparently spying on them, stumbled out onto the open meadow where they stood, and landed flat on his face.

In a flash, Arthandus unsheathed his sword, and darted towards him, but Bronfus managed to get between them just in time, protecting the foolish traveler who didn’t listen to him.

“Please,” pleaded Bronfus, “there’s no need to hurt this fellow. He seems harmless enough.”

The traveler, in awe at the sight of the knight, sprang up from the ground and said, “Who’s this guy?”

“This is Arthandus,” said Bronfus, “Knight in The Order Of The Faithful Guardians, Protector of the Realms of Terridia, Defender of The One True Light, Hero of the—

“Enough with the introduction!” snapped Arthandus, cutting off the bear, then turning back to face the traveler. “Who are you, and where are you from?”

“I can answer that,” said Bronfus, butting in. “This here is Mr. Sy-Furr, and I believe he’s from a place called Earth.”

“Never heard of no Earth,” said Arthandus, glaring back and forth at both of them.

“Neither have I,” said Bronfus, “until just a little while ago.”

“I’m surprised at you, Bronfus, for trying to hide this invader.” Arthandus gave him an intense look. “You’re lucky we’re friends...so I'm giving you a pass this one time. But don’t ever lie to me again.” After scolding the bear, Arthandus shifted his attention back to the traveler. “And as for you, Mr. Sy-Furr, you’re coming with me.”

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