Ella turned around and whipped her phone out of her backpack. She pressed the on button at the top of the phone, grasping on to the faint hope that her phone would turn on and she would be able to play Best Fiends for a few hours.
The screen of her iPhone remained dark. Besides ruining her social life, her being transported into a different world had ruined her 43-day long game streak.
She rolled her eyes and threw her phone back into her backpack. She tried to concentrate on the land in front of her.
"Literally just the same thing as what I saw five minutes ago," she muttered. "And I don't get how he can be so quiet." His calm, quiet composure strangely reminded her of only one person she knew: Jonathan Powell. To Ella, Jonathan was someone who was so polite and courteous that she almost hated him though she couldn't bring herself to. She doubted he knew how different he was from everyone else. She had had a class with him the previous year and was forced to to watch how he would always ask for clarification on almost any direction the teacher gave and how he spoke differently from the rest of his classmates, speaking more sophisticatedly and with a larger vocabulary. Not even once from fourth grade to high school had she seen him do anything bad; it was as if his moral compass was forever stuck pointing at 'good'. She had never heard him swear or throw shade at someone. She saw how he would apologize profusely anytime he thought he had done something even slightly wrong. In essence he was the good boy next door that every mother wished they could have.
When her stomach began to growl, Ella searched her backpack for food. Her search had almost turned up nothing until she had found a packet of skittles smushed at the bottom between two binders. She tore the packaging open and poured them out on the palm of her hand. She slowly sorted them out by color before eating them one by one. As the flavor of green apple, grape, lemon, and cherry slipped away from her tongue, she couldn't help but wonder if she would ever return home.
Although the afternoon sun was blazing as brightly as ever in the sky, it was not too hot, something Julius was thankful for. He held his map in his right and the reins in his left. He had calculated yesterday that they would reach Lynn around dinner time, but now he wasn't as sure. Since there were no roads on the map, he had no idea if the road he was on was a more direct path to Lynn or a more long winded and twisted one.
"Help! Help!" A cry pierced through his worries, dragging him back to reality. He lifted his head to see a rider on his horse approaching him from some distance away.
"Help!" the rider cried.
Julius quickly folded his map up and snapped the reins. As he approached the rider, he saw that the rider was barefoot, someone his age and possessed a look of true fear on his face.
Julius halted his horse right as the rider facing him also halted his.
"What is the matter?" he asked.
"My cousin Cedric has been gravely injured by-by the-the Knight of Pallederea," he stuttered.
"The Knight of what?" a higher voice asked. "Is this why we stopped? Because we're-"
"Yes," said Julius, cutting her off. To the rider he asked, "Did you say the Knight of Pallederea?"
The rider nodded. "Can you shoot well?" he asked.
"I'm not the one of the best, but I can shoot well enough," he replied.
"That sounds good enough. You must come quickly, my aunt and uncle need you now."
"Just follow me, I can show you the way to Lynn."
"Lynn?" Ella asked.
"Yes, it's only about fifteen minutes away."
Ella whirled around to Julius and said angrily, "You said that we weren't going to be there until very late today but here is someone who says it's only fifteen minutes away. What do you have to say?"
Julius looked at her, his face impassive.
"Do you even know where you're going?" she demanded.
"We're going to follow him and help him in whatever way we can," he replied.
"What? No, we're not gonna help," she began protestingly. "Who knows how long we're going to be there? See-"
"Are you coming?" the stranger called from his horse.
"Yes," Julius responded. To Ella he said staunchly, "If you want, you can walk there. You'll probably still get there before nightfall."