NaNoWriMo Day 17 Part 2
posted at: 11/18/2014

Later, Matilda discovered more of what had happened at the scene of the hunt. As in their previous attempts to separate the prince, the conspirators found a small glade in the woods, apart from the hunting party that they hoped they could lead Charles to, and sent Herford to rustle some of the bushes near the prince (in imitation of the elusive Qilin). The wizard would then lead Charles along on a chase, and Cindy and the boys would try everything in their power to throw off the rest of the members of the hunt. They tried leading the other hunters off in the same way Herford had led the prince off, they tried throwing rocks, they even swung a few low branches at various hunters, but in the end, none of these tactics worked and they managed to separate the prince from his guards and companions by simple luck. Prince Charlie happened to run ahead of the rest of the pack and take a turning that they missed. Herford saw his chance and conjured the net, capturing the royal.

Cindy, Pete, and Amaranth had silently cheered, but their celebration was interrupted almost immediately. The Captain of the Guard, Captain Herman, had stepped out of the woods, searching for the missing prince in his care. Seeing Charles on the ground and in a net, but completely silent, the Captain called out for reinforcements then turned to the small group who stood nearby. Amaranth, who had halfway drawn his sword when he noticed the figure approaching, sheathed it when he saw who the older man was. Under the stern gaze of Captain Herman, Amaranth bowed his head, staring at the ground, slumped his shoulders and shuffled his feet. Cindy and Pete, surprised by their companion's submission, stared at him in shock--just long enough for guards to swarm out of the surrounding trees and grab them. Herford had crashed away into the underbrush, sounding like a wounded elephant.

With the miscreants taken care of, the Captain turned to Charlie and proceeded to cut the net that held him. The prince had been shouting the entire time he was under the net, but no one had been able to hear a word of his ranting. When the net was cut, his concerns could be heard and he screamed "Why am I still under this net!? Find that rabbit, it got away! Who are these people? Hang them!"

Captain Herman set two men to extricate the prince from the net--a task that was made more difficult by the thrashing of the royal son--then he walked over to the prisoners. Amaranth looked pleadingly at the guard captain and whispered, "The rabbit is a wizard. Please, don't hurt him." The man may have nodded, just barely, but it was hard to tell. He called over two of the remaining guards, whispered instructions to them, and they crashed off into the woods, following the trail of the wizard.