Dairniss led them through a maze of stone walls.
"He's up ahead, it wouldn't look that great if I entered leading you...so pretend you found a way out the force walls." He stopped. "I can't go any further without risking him sensing me with you ladies."
"Doesn't he know that already, Dan...I mean Dairniss?" Helen asked him.
He gave her a half smile. "No. He knows I'm somewhere in the castle, same thing for you, not your exact position. He'll know as you get closer. That's why I have to stay here."
"Very well then, lets get this show on the road, shall we?" Vyndi said excitedly.
"Gaia," Dairniss called her apart from the group.
"What is it?" she asked him.
"I wanted to remind you that life is the most frail of all things...Deones knows that, I haven't lifted the spell of her yet, so she cannot use all of her powers. I will, when the time is right...try to get her out of the cross fire until then, ok?" Dairniss told her nervously.
"We will do all we can to see to that," she told him with a reassuring smile.
"Thank you... Also remember, my brother's overconfidence is his weakness, let him think he's winning, another reason I won't show him Helen just yet. And last: don't be taken in by his act. He's a lot smarter than he pretends to be. This way he figures out your weaknesses, if he feels in any way threatened he'll react so be ready when I come in. Good luck," he told her with a smile.
"Thank you, I'll remember. Until then, farewell."
He watched after them as they climbed the stair case ahead and until they disappeared from view.
Helen felt the excitement stirring in her breast. Not only that, she could feel it on all the others as well. That felt strange yet familiar. She had always had a knack for guessing how people felt, now she knew why. The only doubt was that she had no idea what to do. Dairniss had said that all would come to her in time. She hoped that time was soon because she was going to need it in the next few seconds.
"Helen, " Gaia began, " I want you to stay behind us the whole time, do not do anything until we tell you to alright?"
"But, Gaia, I thought you said that you needed me."
"We do, but there isn't much you will be able to do for a while. He doesn't know who you are yet, and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible."
"As you wish then...Gaia, he knows we're coming," she said looking overhead.
"Good, let him get ready then..." Gaia was interrupted by a blood chilling shriek. Looking ahead they saw a thing heading toward them. Helen had never seen anything like it. It looked both reptilian and avian, standing six feet tall, stalking them agilely like a feline. It walked on it's two muscular hind legs each ending in a large, sharp, curled, killing claw and two smaller ones. Its mouth was full of serrated, knife like teeth and its front limbs had three fingers each ending in sharp claws. Its scaly skin looked impenetrable. There were another series of high pitched shrieks and from behind the first another three appeared.
"Oh boy," Vyndi said taking a step backwards the way they had come.
"What are those things? Dragons?" Marina asked following Vyndi and keeping a sharp eye on the creatures.
"No," Aysh Ra answered her studying them, "dragons do not move like that nor stand on their hind legs." The creatures approached forming a diamond formation as they moved on.
"If anyone has any ideas, say them now don't be shy," Saria said flying above them.
"Those things look like they can jump pretty high, you won't be any safer up there, Saria," Helen told her. To her, they looked deadly, but extremely intelligent. There had to be a way she could communicate with them. They approached strategically, cornering them.
"Any one for roasted lizard?" Aysh Ra asked.
"No! Wait, we don't have to kill them. I think I can talk to them," Helen told her.
"By the time you get anything through to them, they'll be picking their teeth in our bones!" Saria exclaimed.
"If they're protecting Deones, they won't reason, Helen," Gaia told her.
"It's worth a try..." she said and began to walk toward them with her hand extended in front of her to show them she had nothing that could hurt them.
"She cracked up," Saria said practically, "she's gone nuts, the witch thing got over her head."
"No..." Gaia said, "I think she can talk to them."
Helen continued to move forward, the creatures paused confused not expecting for someone to walk toward them.
"It's alright...I won't hurt you...please don't hurt me," she told them in a soft soothing tone. She knew she had to get through the pack leader, the others would follow, she had no idea how but she knew. She thought of wide open plains, and sent the thought in their direction. They seemed to be confused, not knowing how to react.
"Do you like that? Would you like to go there, instead of here?" she said stopping a few yard ahead of them.
"I could take you somewhere like that..." the last of the formation hissed at her, the leading one snarled at it, making it take a meek attitude. It had worked. Apparently they were slaves here too, brought from some unknown land.
"Come to me then," she said taking a step closer. The leading one walked cautiously toward her and stopped a few feet before her.
"Can you really take us there?" it seemed to be saying. She nodded her head.
"I can, if you tell me where this place you want to go is."
"We know where," it answered.
"Then I can." she said and smiled. She walked up to it and stretched her hand, it mimicked her stretching its until her fingers touched it's claws. The ones behind it walked up to her in a submissive way. She smiled and looked behind her at a very stunned fairy and amazed witches.
"It's alright," she told them. "They won't hurt us."
"Ask them if they can help us," Aysh Ra told her. Helen looked at the leading one.
"Can you help us?" she asked it meekly. The creature took a step backwards in surprise.
"No. Too dangerous for us. He will surely kill us."
Helen sighed. She understood. "No Aysh Ra, they can not help us. If you asked me, they have helped us enough by letting us pass and not eating us." She then told them, "I understand, thank you for letting us pass."
"You must promise to take us away from here."
"I do, you needn't worry about that," she told it.
"Thank you, then." It moved aside and the others followed it. Gaia walked toward Helen, and the others followed.
"He has had enough time to prepare. Let's go." Gaia said taking the lead.