The Damoiseau in Distress Part 3

Nicks Manor

Nick’s Manor

Emeline turned and looked at the candle holder. It had been flipped upside down. Now they both looked in terror as the floor moved, not knowing what to do. 

The bookshelves stayed put as if they were stuck to the wall. The table covered in papers fell in. They were next in line, as the hole in the floor grew. 

Emeline quickly sprang into action. She pushed Nick down the stairs hoping he’d be knocked out. He tried to fight back, but he lost his balance. She watched him hit the table and roll down the stairs. He was quiet.

Emeline grabbed a lit candle on the bookshelf behind her. She started her way down the stairs towards the unknown. As she continued it got darker. Emeline shivered.

“The prince must be down here,” she whispered. Her foggy breath hung in the cold air.

The walls echoed with each step she took. About halfway down the stairs, she saw a puddle of blood. It was fresh. 

“It must be Nick’s,” Emeline thought as she stepped over it.

She saw bloody handprints smeared along the wall, the trail of blood slowly faded down the hall. She realized with a sinking feeling that he was still conscious. She grabbed her throwing stars and dagger from the hidden pocket and kept moving forward. At the bottom of the stairs, Emiline was greeted by a corridor lined with candles. She set her candle down and sprinted towards the wooden door at the end. An open lock with bloody fingerprints lay on the floor by the door.

She took a deep breath and reached towards the doorknob, slowly turned it, and then pushed the door open. The door made a loud creak before slamming into the wall. Emeline ran in holding out her dagger. Nick stood there, holding a broken table leg above his head. He was prepared to strike the prince. 

“Felix!” Emeline gasped.

The prince was slumped over and tied to a pole. A mouth gag muffled his screams. She couldn’t make out what he was trying to say, but Emeline saw the pleading look in his eyes.

Nick slowly turned around, blood dripping from a gash in his head, a sinister grin plastered on his face. 

“You think that little fall was gonna stop me? I’m surprised they sent a little girl to the rescue.” His maniacal laugh turned into a cough that brought up blood. “No matter. It will be more fun to kill him while you watch.” 

Emeline smirked at his overconfidence and flung a throwing star at Nick. He barely dodged it, and the star stuck to the wall with a metallic pang. They ran at each other, wielding their weapons.

Emeline elbowed his face. “I think you are underestimating my ability.” 

“Well, I’m not the one chasing after a prince!” He grabbed her wrists to stop her attacks. 

“You literally kidnapped him!” She slammed her arms down breaking out of his grasp. She moved quickly and pinned him against the wall with her dagger up to his throat. 

As she held her dagger to his throat, Emeline was brought back to when she was just a little girl. Her mother was teaching her the basics of self-defense in order to protect herself if the time came. 

Her mother’s voice filled her mind, “You may injure others to protect yourself, but you may never take another’s life. Life is precious, and it isn’t yours to take. Remember that, my dear Emeline.” 

The warm memory lingered in her heart as Emeline switched her blade around, swung her leg beneath his, causing him to hit the floor with a thud. 

“Smart move, pretty girl but you should’ve killed me,” He jumped back up. As he did, Emeline grabbed his face, throwing him back down to the floor as she put her foot on his back. 

“I don’t need to,” she says, mocking his words. 

She then hit him in the head with the butt end of the knife, and Nick crumpled into unconsciousness.

She turned towards the prince and untied him. His eyes glowed with admiration. 

Once she had removed the gag, Prince Felix spoke, “Emeline? I didn’t expect you to be the one to save me. Thank you.” 

“I’m surprised you even know my name, Prince.” She said while dropping into a respectful curtsy. 

“Since when did you learn martial arts?”

“I think the better question is why you didn’t learn martial arts,” she joked. 

Emiline helped the prince to stand. She dragged Nick to the pole and tied him to it. “That should give us enough time to get out before he comes to and sends guards after us.” She turned to the prince and took his arm to steady him. They cautiously walked back upstairs. 

“There’s a back entrance through the kitchen so we can avoid most of the guards,” Emeline whispered to Felix, and he nodded his head in agreement. As they hobbled through the kitchen with Prince Felix’s arm around Emeline’s shoulder, she grabbed some water and bread to give him.

They made it out the back entrance without being noticed and ran toward the stables.

“Nick has to have a horse and carriage somewhere around here,” Emeline told Prince Felix.

As she looked around she spotted the stables. They headed over there and found exactly what they were looking for—a carriage with horses already bridled, presumably ready to go for a journey Nick would be taking later.

“Sorry, Nick,” Emeline chuckled as she put the prince in the carriage with the water and bread. 

“Make sure to eat and drink something,” she advised Felix. 

Emiline went towards the front of the carriage and then heard Nick’s voice yell, “Get them, they’re escaping!”

“How did he already make it out?” Emeline exclaimed. 

Nick’s guards ran towards them.

“Hey! Young lady, stop right there!” 

She grabbed the bar on the carriage and swung herself up.

“Hya!” She yelled as she whipped the two horses into a gallop.
The horses knocked the guards over and the others dodged out of the way. As the guards stumbled back, they tried to chase the carriage, but Emeline and Felix were long gone. 

“Go, Emeline!” The prince cheered with the little energy he had left.

While the carriage flew along the road, Emiline threw an arm up in excitement.  She had never felt more alive. She looked towards the sky as the sun was setting. She knew they still had a long journey ahead and may potentially face more obstacles before returning the prince safely home, but as she gazed down the road while holding the reins, she knew she could take on anything the journey threw at them.