The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2)

The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2) by Heidi Willard Page A

Book: The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2) by Heidi Willard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heidi Willard
slow?" she questioned him.
    "I was just wondering how mad Sampson might be when he sees us with Ruth," Fred pointed out.
    Pat thought over his words and paled. "You mean you worry he might blame us for her disappearance?"
    "But that isn't true!" Ruth insisted.
    "If it had been true I would have killed them both where they stand now, castor or no castor," a voice spoke up. Fred and Pat screamed and jumped into each other's arms when a figure dropped from a near-invisible hole in the ceiling of the tunnel. In the staff's light Sampson arose from his landing and scowled past them at his daughter. "We heard the city in chaos and smelled the smoke. What have you done?"
    Ruth cringed back. "I-I'm sorry, father, I only meant to see the fireworks."
    He shook his head. "That is not a reason for leaving and endangering all of us."Sampson nodded over his shoulder. "Return to the cavern. I will deal with your punishment later."
    Ruth blushed and shook her head. "I can't, father. I owe these two a life-debt."
    Sampson stiffened, and his fists clenched at his sides. He whipped his eyes over to the two humans, who nervously grinned back. "Is this true?"
    Pat stepped forward. "It's true that we saved her life, but she doesn't owe us-"
    "By our custom she owes you a life-debt," Sampson insisted. "Only through dishonor or fulfillment can the debt be wiped clean, and I will not have her dishonor us further by forsaking her duty."
    Pat and Fred's shoulders slumped; they hoped for another outcome than the stress of a gargoyle on their hands. Ruth was too ashamed to do much more than bow her head. "I will do as you command me, father, but I will make you proud."
    Sampson sighed and looked over his daughter. "It would have been well that you could fly, but I fear you must learn under your servitude."
    Pat frowned and held up her hands. "Wait a moment. I won't have her be a servant to me."
    "But that is my debt to you, and what other disguise can I use?" Ruth pointed out.
    Sampson uneasily shifted on his feet. "Disguise is indeed a problem. Your oath risks us again as surely as your wish to see the fireworks. You cannot hide what you are from the eyes of the humans."
    Ruth smirked and rubbed the trinket around her neck. She morphed into her human disguise, and her father's eyes bulged. "This necklace was given to me by a castor named Ned to protect me from the humans," she told him.
    Sampson blinked. "Ned?"
    Fred saw the name wasn't familiar to him. "He used to use the name Edwin," the boy recalled.
    "Edwin still lives, and he is with you?" he asked the humans. They nodded, and the pair could see there was relief in his eyes. "That is well. Unless he is greatly changed, Edwin is a valuable ally, and I am glad to hear he is still alive after so long."
    "Then I have your permission to go with them and fulfill my debt?" Ruth asked him.
    Sampson gave a nod. "Yes, I give my blessing."
    Ruth beamed at the honor, and Fred wasn't sure to be merry or wonder what new trouble they were given. Pat rubbed her temple and sighed. She had a new lady-in-waiting to deal with.

    Ruth was installed in Pat's room, but there was the question of a bed.
    "Gargoyles do not sleep at night," Ruth informed them when the topic was brought up. "We turn to stone and rest during the day."
    Pat cringed. "So you're going to be a statue in here? I don't know how I'm going to explain a moving statue to the other ladies who dress me."
    "Maybe the necklace works so she doesn't have to sleep," Fred suggested.
    All three of them looked down at the trinket. The glass glistened in the light of the room's candles. Pat frowned. "Maybe you'd better go ask Ned. It's still a few hours until sunrise, and I would like to know now."
    Fred slunk out of the room and down the hall. He jumped when Lady Martley rounded the corner of the connected hall and they nearly collided. She smiled at him. "Greetings, young sir. What has you up at such an hour?"
    "Oh, um, just, well, just helping

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