What's up, alligators? Here with another chapter for you all! Hope ya like it!
Scarlet sighed as she was loaded into the trailer. She really didn't want to go to this competition. She wanted to be anywhere but with this family. She had a duty to uphold and instead, she was stuck playing horsie with a child. She had no way of knowing how far out she was until they got to the competition, and she didn't want to think of what would happen if this competition was a few days away. By then, there would be nothing she could do for Sapphiera or Horseland.
Sighing as the trailer closed, Scarlet lowered her head and grazed the hay provided for her. She was exceptionally lucky she hadn't been found out the previous night, but that meant nothing if she didn't make it back to Sapphiera by the next night. The following night would be the third of the full moon, and the sixth full moon night Sapphiera would be without her. By that point, she would end up giving over to the beast inside her. Scarlet shuddered thinking of what could happen to all of the innocent horses in the barn, or to the Handler family in the farmhouse. Scarlet may not have been particularly fond of the family at present, but they didn't deserve the kind of fate she knew would be awaiting them if her Partner broke from the cage.
I should have been more vigilant, Scarlet grumbled. As soon as she told them of her heritage, I should have been on guard immediately. Instead, I decided to trust them. Now, we're in this mess. From now on, should she tell anyone else of this, I will personally threaten them within an inch of their lives should they even think of caging her.
Glancing through the trailer windows, Scarlet gave another sigh. She just wanted her Partner to be okay. Admittedly, it wasn't just Sapphiera she was worried about. Yes, she knew that, if she hurt anyone, her Partner would be devastated come morning, but Scarlet couldn't repress her concern for the health of some of the riders and horses. Specifically, she knew Sapphiera had a crush on Alma. If Alma were practicing at night during the third night of the full moon, Sapphiera would no doubt smell her and head in her direction. Alma may have been able to take care of herself, but she was only fifteen. She couldn't fight off a large tiger, of all things. And Button wouldn't fare much better, either. The thought of her Partner tearing into Button made Scarlet's stomach clench and she desperately hoped she wasn't being taken too far from Horseland.
The trip itself was going to last at least into the night, since most competitions started early. That meant Scarlet could get some sleep and wake up during nightfall to make sure no one spotted her changed form. The last thing she needed was these humans finding a reason to keep a closer eye on her. She already had plans to break out, more eyes would only hinder her plan and cause more trouble for Sapphiera later.
Scarlet settled on the blanket provided and lowered her head. She didn't want to have to hurt anyone to get back to her Partner, but she couldn't stay here. She couldn't shirk her duties just because some little boy's feelings would get hurt. Besides, she was technically someone else's horse first anyway. She already had an 'owner'. And said owner would turn into a blood thirsty monster within the next thirty six hours if Scarlet wasn't returned to her.
Blue eyes slid shut and Scarlet settled in for a nap.
Alma and Molly stared at the ceiling of the barn as they tried to get some sleep. The plan was that everyone was going to leave at night, so that they could make it to Coltstown by around the middle of the competition the following day. However, Mr. and Mrs. Handler had become increasingly suspicious of the amount of time the two girls wanted to stay over and had refused to let them spend the night once more. Because of this, Molly and Alma had set up camp in the barn that morning and were now trying to block the sunlight out so they could sleep.
Unfortunately, their minds had other ideas. Molly wondered if the plan would work. It was easy to say that they were getting their friend's horse back, but it was another to actually follow through. It was especially worrying since they didn't really have a plan to get Scarlet back aside from begging the owner for her. Who would give up a horse they caught or bought just because a bunch of kids claim it belongs to their friend. Molly had to admit that she would be skeptical of giving anyone a horse on that information alone.
It didn't help that she was largely responsible for most of this mess in the first place. Yeah, she hadn't set up the camera like Bailey and Will, but she had brought up the idea of Sarah being a werecreature. It was supposed to just be a joke, a fun little thing for them all to do when they were bored. After all, werecreatures weren't supposed to exist, right? But they did, and without even realizing it, Molly had set into motion the events that eld them to this point. She just wanted to make things right again.
Alma was worried about Sarah. Sure, they didn't really have a plan to get Scarlet back, but they needed to. Sarah grew more and more restless with each passing day. She growled and snarled in between words sometimes, paced her cage, and had gotten sloppier with her eating habits, tearing into her meat and scarfing it. Without Scarlet, it was clear that Sarah was spiraling further into the beast's mindset. Even if they didn't have a plan, they needed to get Scarlet back to Horseland somehow. If Alma had to break her out of the trailer the new owner had her in, the green-clad girl was not opposed to doing so. It was the least she could do to make things up to Sarah for letting everyone put her in a cage.
The horses down below could smell the two girls and wondered about their presence. Calypso looked to Button. "Do you think they're planning something?" she called.
"I dunno," Button responded. "But they might be. Do you think we should sleep, too? What if they intend to use us at night?"
"Don't be ridiculous," Aztec snickered. "They wouldn't do that without fair warning, would they?"
"I don't know," Calypso murmured. "They've been talking about Scarlet's owner an awful lot lately."
"The beast in the forest?" Chili sniffed contemptuously. "Honestly, I don't know why they kept her so close to the ranch in the first place. Don't they realize that the first place she'd come if she broke out would be us?"
The other horses nodded in agreement. "Maybe that's why they're planning," Jimber pointed out. "If they intend to go do something about that girl and Scarlet, then they might need our help. We should probably sleep and prepare."
"You all do that," Pepper sneered. "Our owners won't be going along with whatever hairbrained idea came out of your riders. Chili and I are free to do as we please."
"What if Scarlet's rider breaks out of that cage tonight or tomorrow night?" Aztec asked calmly, noticing the pair stiffen. "If I were you, I'd be careful about how deeply I slept tonight. You know, since you clearly have nothing to worry about."
Chili and Pepper grumbled as all of the horses settled down for sleep. They had no idea what their owners were up to, but they all wanted to be prepared, just in case it was something big.
With practically the entire ranch asleep, night fell quickly, bringing with it a sense of foreboding from four of the main riders. Mr. and Mrs. Handler hadn't questioned Molly and Alma's absence, thankfully. Bailey and Will waited until they had gone to sleep before sneaking out to the barn. The horses heard them coming and began to stir, four of the six getting up and looking to their riders.
"Hey, Jimber," Will whispered, stroking his steed's muzzle. "Sorry you had to change your sleep schedule for me, buddy."
"Same, Aztec," Bailey said quietly to his own horse. "But I promise everything will go back to normal once we're finished. We made some mistakes, big guy. And we gotta fix'em."
Alma and Molly climbed from the haylofts and greeted their horses affectionately. Molly rubbed Calypso's muzzle as Alma stroked Button's mane. "We're going to get Scarlet back, girl," Molly told her horse. "Gotta fix this mess I made. You with me?" Calypso gave a soft neigh and Molly smiled.
"Let's go, Button," Alma cooed. "We're going to get Sarah out of that cage if it's the last thing we do."
"Careful what you say," Will muttered, leading Jimber from his stall. "Alright, we're doing this bareback. Is everyone okay with that?"
"You got it," Molly agreed.
They led their horses out of the barn and along the path toward the exit of the ranch. They couldn't ride immediately, or Bailey's parents would hear. They needed to be careful about this. They couldn't afford for anyone to stop them now. Arriving at the main road, the riders all mounted their horses and looked out in the direction they were supposed to be going.
"Everyone ready?" Molly called, glancing to her friends.
"Let's do this," Bailey replied, setting his jaw.
With that mindset, they all set off at a canter. Failure was no longer an option. There was too much at stake to look back now.
And there ya go! Now we're kicked back into high gear. The gang is off to right their wrongs and get Scarlet back. Let's hope they can succeed!
Remember, you can keep up with sneak peeks and updates on my tumblr, gothalbinoangel-fanfiction. And I just opened up commissions! See ya next chapter, alligators!