A soft thrum filled Abby’s ears. She stared at the remains of the Red King, mystified by the magic allowing his body to float in the air. She peered into the glowing, red emptiness of the gateway through which they stepped only moments ago. I hope Rory and Finlay are sure about this. With no visible way out, she eyed her magical wolfhound. Attempting to keep her thoughts private from the dog, she contemplated their situation. The Red King came from the land of Shay, so if Finlay were bound to him as an animal guide hundreds of years ago, I wonder if he remembers things about Shay he’s not telling me. Abby glanced at the young Scotsman. And since Rory is distantly related to the Red King, does that mean whoever is on the other side of this portal — if we ever find an exit — will expect him to rule the land? Or what if they’re hostile and afraid of Rory stealing the crown?
An eerie sound gave Abby pause. “Hey guys,” she gulped, darting her eyes to either side at Finlay and Rory. “Did you hear that?”
Rory grunted in reply. “Aye, A-by. Sounded like someone tellin’ us to ‘complete the circle’ and ‘protect the fallen.’ ”
Abby rolled her eyes. “Don’t know why they keep saying that. We already completed the circle when we fixed that megalith with the broken top. But what’s ‘protect the fallen’ supposed to mean? Protect the body of the Red King?”
Finlay nudged Abby’s backside with his muzzle. Let us worry on this later, lass. A more important task is at hand. I would prefer not to spend the rest of my days trapped inside this portal.
Okay, okay, fuzzball, you’re right, Abby snorted, pushing the Red King’s body forward with renewed vigor.
Moments later Rory thrust a finger straight ahead. “A-by, do ye see it?”
“I think so,” Abby replied, squinting toward a distant point. “Maybe it’s an exit. Let’s go!”
They pushed the remains of Rory’s kin as fast as they dared, slowing as they neared the opaque outline of a fiery, red tree shimmering in the air.
“Looks just like the tree we stepped through a minute ago.” Abby drew a deep breath, “Sure hope it leads where we think.”
Finlay loomed over Abby’s shoulder. Time is short, we must take him home. On with the two of you, child.
Heeding her massive wolfhound’s words, Abby looked to Rory. “You ready for this?” she asked, her stomach churning with a myriad of emotions.
“Aye. Let us see what lies beyond.”
Forestalling further indecision, Finlay snorted, strode around the floating body, and stepped through the portal.
Abby chuckled, “Okay then, guess we’re following Finlay.”
With one last glance at Rory, Abby squeezed her eyes tight and pushed.
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