Sir Riley stood there, looking out between the bars.
“Well! Sir Riley!” exclaimed a voice behind him.
Sir Riley turned, there stood Purvis.
The butler smiled, “May I ask what you are doing here?”
“Same reason you are.”
“Murder?” Asked Purvis, with a wry smile.
“Purvis, I’m sorry for not telling them that you had been at my house last night. I had hoped to use you for a blind, while I carried out my plan to capture the true murderer.”
“That is all right.” then Purvis smiled, “Though how you are going to capture him while you are in here, is beyond me.”
Sir Riley scowled, “This was not part of my plan.”
Purvis turned to hide his smile. Then he heard a sound. It was low and rumbling. He turned to find Sir Riley laughing.
“This is hilarious!” he gasped, “Here we both are, in jail, and neither one of us is the criminal, yet we are in here, and he’s out there!”
Sir Riley laughed harder, “So much for my plan!”
The guard came over to see what all the noise was about. He found both prisoners gasping for breath between spasms of laughter.
“Say, what is going on?” he demanded, gruffly.
“Nothing!” gasped Sir Riley.
They both began laughing harder, if that was even possible.
The guard walked away muttering. He met a fellow guard.
“Those prisoners! They’re in there laughing hysterically over nothing!”
“Let me see.” asked the other.
He looked through the bars. The two were still laughing.
“Hmm. Maybe they’re out of their minds.” he suggested, “If so, I’ve never seen it happen so abruptly. But then, I’ve never seen it happen at all.” And the he was laughing too.
The other guard scowled at him. “Why don’t you go were you belong; in the garbage pit.”
The other guard returned to his post, still laughing.
When Sir Riley and Purvis gained control of themselves once more, they sat down.
“Whew, you know, I think we almost lost our minds there.” gasped Sir Riley.
“Impossible! You never had a mind to lose!” snickered Purvis.
Sir Riley glared at him. “I thought butlers were supposed to be dignified.”
“You’re forgetting, I’m not a butler anymore, I’m a prisoner.”
“All right, time to get serious.” said Sir Riley, “How are we going to get out of here?”
Both men sat down to think.
Purvis had been moved to a separate cell. Sir Riley sat staring at the stone wall across from him. The sun shone through the barred window. Suddenly the sun was blocked. Sir Riley looked up, and then leapt to his feet, and went over to the window. He spoke in a low voice. A hand passed through between the bars. Sir Riley grasped it fervently. Then the shadow disappeared. Sir Riley turned away from the window. He did not sit back down, but paced the cell, with quick nervous steps.
The next afternoon, the same thing happened again. This time, however, the hand passed through a small bottle and a long thin object wrapped in a cloak. Sir Riley slipped them under his cot.
That evening, Sir Riley listened to the steady trap of the guard’s feet, marching up and down the corridor. A boy brought down a cup.
’Ah, finally!” exclaimed the guard, “Put it down there.”
The boy set it down on a bench, about two feet away from Sir Riley’s cell door. The guard and the boy stood talking for a moment, their backs to Sir Riley. Carefully he slipped out the bottle and cloak. Opening the bottle, he looked inside. Then he unwound the cloak, inside was a sword. He sprinkled some of the contents of the bottle on the tip of his sword. Sticking it between the bars, he dipped it in the cup. After swishing it around, he drew it back. Quickly Sir Riley pushed the bottle and sword under the cot again, just before the guard returned.
After checking on his prisoner, who seemed to be asleep, the man sat down on the bench. He picked the cup up and drank its contents and sighed happily. Then he set the cup down on the bench again. Slowly his head began to bob. Presently Sir Riley could hear him snoring.
Carefully Sir Riley took the bottle and set it on the ground. He crushed it with his heel. Then picking up the pieces, he threw them out the window. Sir Riley then wrapped himself in the cloak. Taking the sword, he used it to take the keys from the guard. Unlocking his cell, he stepped into the corridor. He crept along the passage. Meeting no one, he stepped into the prison courtyard. The guards were talking in a corner. Sir Riley slipped through the gate without them noticing. In the outer courtyard, he went towards the stables. There a figure met him. It passed him the reins to his horse.
In a whisper Sir Riley asked, “How is the Princess?”
Sir Riley mounted and left. He rode back to his own castle. The door was opened by John.
“Who is it?”
“It is I, John!”
“Oh, tis you, Sir Riley.”
There was not a trace of surprise in John’s voice. Sir Riley smiled, he had never seen John excited about anything.
“I need a change of clothing, a fresh horse and food.”
“Yes, sir, right away.”
In less than half an hour, Sir Riley was off. He rode quickly north. He was in the hill country by the time the morning sun rose over the horizon.
* * * * *
The relief guard turned the corner. He spotted the guard, sound asleep. Walking over, he shook him, “Wake up!”
The guard continued sleeping. The other guard turned and peered in Sir Riley’s cell. It was empty! The guard turned and ran up the steps and sounded the alarm. Sir Riley’s guard had been drugged.
The man that had guarded the prison courtyard was questioned. He told them that only two people had passed by the cell window.
“Who were they?”
“Prince Keven on his way to the stable, and John, you know, the servant of Sir Riley.”
“Ah, he must have snuck something to Sir Riley. Place him under arrest.”
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Sir Riley arrived at a small log cabin deep in the dark forest. A man stepped out. It was Sir Anthony, an Azlion knight who helped in the search for the villain.
“Sir Riley!” he exclaimed.
Sir Riley leapt off his horse. “I need to speak to you.”
They spoke for a long while. Sir Anthony paced up and down the room.
“I don’t know.”
“Please, I have stated the circumstances and told why I believe this the only way.”
“Yes, I know, and I believe you right, but I don’t know.”
Sir Anthony pulled his hand out of his pocket, and a paper drifted down. Sir Riley picked it up. His eyes grew wide.
“Sir Anthony, who wrote this note?”
Sir Anthony looked puzzled, leaning over he flipped the note over and pointed to the signature.
“Look.” Sir Riley pulled out of his pocket the note written by the villain. He held the notes next to each other. Sir Anthony looked at them.
“Why, the handwriting matches!” he exclaimed in surprise.
“The person who wrote these notes is the villain!”
“What! But he is…I know him myself and…”
“Yes, but I have showed you the evidence and stated the facts. He is the murderer.”
Sir Anthony looked at Sir Riley. “This means that disaster has struck and the reputation of many is at stake.”
“Yes, and there is little that we can do.” Replied Sir Riley.
“But, who is going to tell the king?” asked Sir Anthony.
“All right, but what are you going to be doing?” Sir Anthony asked.
“The dirty work.” Sir Riley said meaningfully.
“You mean…” Sir Anthony asked.
“Well, I wish you luck and hope you succeed.”
“Thank you, I wish you luck also.” answered Sir Riley.
“Thanks, I’ll probably need it. This is not going to be easy.”
The two knights parted, each going their own ways. Before they parted, Sir Riley handed Sir Anthony a note.
“Deliver this to you know who.” Sir Riley said.
“Of course,” replied Sir Anthony.
End of Chapter Six
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