The Ranger Games
(A/N: This is based off of a book series I am currently reading. It's called The Ranger's Apprentice, it's a kids book but is well written and is enjoyable for even an adult to read. Although I guess I'm a little biased since I'm not much of an adult yet even though I have a family. Anyways if you have read it I hope you liked it as much as I did. If you haven't READ IT! Anyways, enjoy!)
I do not own The Ranger's apprentice, or any of its characters.
Crowley was currently riding towards Redmont Fief to see Halt. He had his longbow already strung and resting casually over the pommel of his saddle as he rode. All Ranger's were taught that an unstrung bow is just extra baggage and so they all rode with them already strung and at the ready. To any observer he would look like a man in a green and gray mottled cloak, riding with his bow in front of him, not really expecting any sort of danger. However, most knew the reputation of a Ranger and knew all too well that it would only take a split second for them to nock and fire an arrow with deadly accuracy. He pressed his knees into his horse's side, sending a silent message to move into a canter. Protocol had made him late in his journey and thus he had a lot of time to make up.
It was about ten kilometers from the border to Redmont Fief that he noticed a shadow up ahead. He urged his horse slightly faster so that he may further inspect the anomaly. After he gained some ground he noticed it was a shaggy barrel chested horse with a short rider wearing a cloak such as his own that he had seen. Without further inspection he knew it was Halt's former apprentice Will. At first he didn't think anything of it, but then realizing something was amiss he saw that the horse and rider were trying very deliberately to ride quick but unnoticed. He also wondered why Will was all the way out by Redmont when he was stationed in Seacliff Fief. Curious as to Will's motives he decided to follow him. In Redmont Fief he easily was able to keep only a kilometer of distance from Will and stay out of sight. From what he could tell Will was also very attuned to his task and probably wouldn't notice the sound of his horse. Crowley decided that he would take the extra precaution though and signaled his horse to match Tug's quick rhythm. He didn't want to risk Will finding out he was following him, he was Halt's former apprentice after all, and Halt was one of his best.
The day trudged on for a few more hours when he finally saw a break in Will's routine. He watched as Will dismounted and very deliberately moved to blend in the shadow's. This was normal for any Ranger who had been taught for the better part of five years to do so but he noticed Will taking extra care as though he were on an important mission and any chance at detection meant death. Following his lead, Crowley dismounted, dropping the reigns to his horse, knowing it would follow from a distance like all Ranger horses were trained to do. Once he was down he quickly followed Will's lead and moved to blend in the canopy of tree's. He kept distance but quickly followed him with great interest. It was only after Halt's cottage came into view when he realized Will was planning something for his former mentor. Suddenly he saw will stop at the base of a tree and quickly set a trap, only a simple rope trap meant to ensnare anyone who dared to step into the loop, then move on to the road passing by Halt's cottage.
"Ah, it's a game. A little cat and mouse to test Halt's skill. I should have known, they've been doing this for years." Crowley thought.
Rapt in his thoughts he didn't see what Will was up to until he saw him remount, then very stupidly, or very cleverly, walked past the cottage. He noted how will didn't make any excess noise but rather just enough to make Abelard, Halt's Ranger horse, whinny in surprise. He knew instantly that Halt had been alerted by his horse and sure enough he saw a cloaked figure mount his horse and set off down the road towards his former apprentice's location. He followed on foot for a little while until he saw Halt dismount and move to blend into the forest as will had done before. Following the exact route Will had taken through the tree's he saw Halt suddenly stop, then stoop down and slowly dismantle the trap set at the tree Will had set no doubt to catch him. He smiled ruefully.
"Clever Will, but it will take more then that to fool Halt. Maybe in a few more years you might come close." He thought to himself as he followed silently.
Finally with extreme slowness and patience Halt had caught up to Will who seemed to be riding with an air of ease about him. He stopped cold when a heavy, black shafted arrow hit the ground not even a meter in front of his mount Tug. He looked around perplexed then spotted Halt as he moved out of the trees. Halt strode casually and confidently out of the cover of the shadows. His hood was up over his head but his face showed enough of his now almost fully gray beard outlining a smirk.
"Nice try Will, but Gilan already tried that once. You should ask how it ended. You rode to close and Abelard gave you away." Halt explained how he knew of Will's presence.
To his credit Will showed no emotion until a look of mock innocence crossed his face when he said, "Hah, should have known I couldn't fool you Halt. Come on, I'm on my way to Redmont to pay a visit to the Baron, it's been too long since I've seen him."
Halt merely nodded and let loose a high pitched whistle, signaling Abelard who trotted up and stood by Tug, waiting to be mounted. Halt took a few steps towards his faithful horse when he was suddenly hoisted very rapidly into the air by a foot as he yelped in surprise.
"Clever boy! He deliberately rode close enough to tip off Abelard then set a false trap he knew Halt would find by predicting the path he would take. Then he played innocent and give in to a failed attempt only to bait Halt into the real trap. I've never seen Halt bested before. Maybe we should move him closer to Redmont to test him on a more difficult Fief." Crowley thought at the boys skill.
"Will I demand that you let me down this instant." Halt called out angrily.
"Aww, come one Halt. I think you look splendid from that angle. Ah, but the fun is over now, I guess I'll let you go then. Crowley will you do the honors?" Will asked not looking in his direction.
That took Crowley off guard. He had been certain that Will was so attuned to his task that he hadn't been found out. Suddenly an arrow rang out and the rope that bound Halt to the tree was severed, sending Halt in a very unceremoniously way to the ground. That was when Crowley decided to make his presence known. He stepped out of the trees into the light of day to see Halt brushing himself off as Will chuckled to himself in a way that seemed a little overkill. Once Halt brushed himself off he glared at his former apprentice then turned to Crowley.
"Crowley what brings you here?" Halt asked.
"Well, it has come to my attention that the Kingdom has become very quiet and I felt that it was necessary that another gathering was held. I had sent out messenger birds to all the Fiefs but I decided that I would visit you personally seeing as you are our most senior Ranger, aside from me of course." Crowley explained.
"Of course." Was Halt's short reply.
"And what brings you here Will?" Crowley asked him, knowing Halt was still sulking over his defeat and wouldn't ask himself.
"Oh I got your message a few days ago and decided to come see Halt and travel to the gathering together for old times sake. On the way here I had the idea to test my abilities. I have to tell ya, I don't think I'm getting better so that means your getting a little slack there Halt." Will said a little smugly, obviously still relishing in his victory.
Halt said nothing.
"Yes well I happened to see Will here on the way and decided to see what he was up to. By the way how did you know I was following?" Crowley asked, trying his best to seem casual and unperturbed at how Will not only bested Halt but managed to figure out he was followed and fool him into following.
"Oh you make it sound so simple. Trust me Crowley, these past few months at Seacliff has really sobered me up a little at thinking highly of myself. You weren't so easy to figure it out. Although when I did get the message I did wonder if you would go to tell Halt yourself so as I traveled I kept on the lookout for you in case I turned out to be right." Will responded.
"Yes yes, but that still doesn't answer my question." Crowley said impatiently.
"Don't you know Crowley? I'm a Ranger, I used black magic to find you." Will said smiling ruefully, this time gaining a grin from Halt as well.
"Ah, forget it, I'll figure it out anyways. Shall we get going then. I'm anxious to get to the gathering and be updated on what's happening around the kingdom and to propose my latest idea." Crowley said.
"And that would be?" Halt asked shortly.
This time it was Crowley's turn to smile ruefully as he said, "Just an idea I got from watching you two. I think I'll call it The Ranger Games."
Well, if you have read the books I hope you thoroughly enjoyed this and I fully plan to keep updating this. If you haven't I hope you liked it enough to want to read them. As I said before the series is called The Rangers Apprentice, and l hope you enjoyed this greatly. Reviews plz!