131 Chapter 129 The Eastern Kingdom Castle
"Hey, why are you outside?" asked a guy, standing from a recessed doorway, where he had been sitting out of sight of any of the fighters in the street.
"What are kids doing out here?" asked another guy, joining the first one. They were both wearing dirty and stained clothing. Joseph could smell them from where they were standing, and it was obvious the two of them had not bathed in a long time.
Stella was patting herself down to make sure she was in one piece, completely ignoring the two as they pointed at them and softly laughed. Joseph didn't miss the fact that they kept a close eye on the street to make sure they could disappear should any of the soldiers appear.
"The boy looks wealthy. Think we could make some money off him?"
"The girl's a bit young, but I'm sure we could get something for her…ugh."
Stella had turned and thrown two daggers, as the words left the second man's mouth. One hit the first man in the eye, and the other hit the second man in the throat. They both went down fast. The first one was dead before he landed, but the second clutched at his throat, in panic, as he bled out.
"Feel better, Stella?" asked Joseph, shaking his head at the stupidity of the two.
Stella retrieved her daggers, wiping them clean on a cloth she pulled from her purse, then dropped on them, not even sparing a second look at the man who lay dying.
"Follow me, Master Joseph."
He followed her as she moved silently through the alley, checking every shadow for others who might be hiding and laying in wait. He was pretty impressed, because she even checked the walls above their heads, in case there were a window someone might attack them from. This was her element, and Joseph was willing to let her have a little fun.
As they peeked around the corner, they could see that the streets were full of soldiers.
"Please, take us back to the rooftops. They are watching the streets and shooting everyone."
As they arrived on the tallest building, crouched to not be seen, they gazed out over the city's roofs. There were archers from both sides of the battle, ready to shoot anyone they saw.
"Hmm. Stella, let's go to the castle. We might be able to figure out what's going on."
They were on the wall that surrounded the castle. As they looked out over the castle grounds they couldn't see a single person anywhere. There were dead bodies scattered to show that a fight had occurred, so neither of them had much hope for any survivors.
Stella pointed to a window on the ground floor and said, "Master Joseph, there are people inside."
She had seen someone move past it. Joseph teleported them to the grounds and walked up to the wall near the window.
WALK THROUGH EARTH.
He grabbed her hand and pulled her through the stone wall.
He hoped to see mages fighting, but there wasn't any magic anywhere. Whoever had started this fight was long gone, and the poor people who were caught up in the fighting continued because they didn't know any better. The mages were probably the first to be killed, anyways.
Joseph pulled her through another wall, finding them behind a maid who was chewing on her fingernails nervously.
She jumped and let out a small scream.
"Who are you?" she asked fearfully, drawing away from them.
"I'm Joseph, son of William, and this is Stella. What happened here?"
She looked at him, then at Stella, unconvinced about how safe they were.
"The king and nobles fled a week ago, leaving us trapped here when the army arrived. The general turned against the king, and the army followed him."
He looked at Stella, and she shook her head.
"That means the king is either being controlled or already dead and replaced."
Joseph nodded in agreement.
"How did you get here?" asked the maid, glancing behind them, at the stone wall.
"I was sent to rescue anyone who was still in the castle, and to take them back to my father's town. You'll be safe there. Are there other survivors?"
"Of course! Most of the servants were left to fend for ourselves. We all hid when the looters came and took most everything. They didn't find us here, in the secret passages. None of us have been able to leave the castle because of the fighting."
"If you can get everyone together, then I can get you all out of here," he said. These people might be able to answer some of the questions he was sure his father would have.
"Oh!" exclaimed the maid, hurrying off.
"How are you going to get them all back?" asked Stella. "If you open a portal, it might give away to the enemy where home is."
"I can teleport large groups now, remember?" he said, then remembered that she hadn't been with him when he teleported his father's people.
Nodding as she remembered him explain it earlier, they left the hidden passage where they had met the maid, to find themselves in a large dinning room. The great table had been broken, and the chairs smashed and thrown onto it. There were no dishes left in one piece, and rotting food and bones were scattered amid moldy straw. The smell was awful, as the people began to trickle into the room.
They came in twos and threes, from where ever they had been hiding, until the maid finally returned to let them know that was everyone. It looked like half the staff had been stuck here. Judging from their sunken eyes and hollow faces, they hadn't had much to eat or drink in the past week. Joseph was impressed they were still able to move.
"I was sent here to investigate what had happened by my father. I didn't realize there would be any survivors, but I will take you back home where you will be safe. I'm sure my father will have many questions for you."
"Who are you?" asked an old man, leaning heavily on a cane. His clothes gave his position of butler away.
"My father was a famous slave owner, who traveled between the three kingdoms, before the war started. His name is William. I am Joseph, his son, and this is Stella."
"Why would any man send a boy as young as you to such a place as this?" asked another woman, incredulously.
"If you will all gather together here, I will teleport us all at once."
At the mention of teleporting, the people began to murmur and glance at him, as if he had lost his mind. The many years of following orders, though, had them gathering together despite their obvious doubts.