“Was that it then?” Merida asked quietly as they made their way through the halls, “Were those beasties the last she had?”

“No,” Mulan said, eyeing the darkened hallway they currently occupied. There were far fewer torches along this way and thus there were far more shadows pooled along the long and branching passages. But in truth this place was like a cathedral with high ceilings, intricate designs on the walls, the floors, and what little bit of ceiling they could see. The archways each looked as though they might lead into various realms all on their own, though the coldness of the place was hard to deny.

Death had walked these halls more than once, and it seemed to be lying in wait even now.

“She had her entourage with her don’t forget,” Red said from behind them, her eyes scanning the darkness for any hint of movement as she kept her axes out and ready.

“I wonder if they’re any stronger’n the others,” Merida said, keeping her bow in one hand and her other ready to draw. She had a sword at her hip but it was there in case her ranged attacks became impossible. Until then she had a nearly full quiver and itchy fingers when it came time to draw.

“I’m concerned about those that we imprisoned below,” Mulan said, “Sooner or later they’ll find a way up to us I think.”

“What about yer friend?” Merida said to Mulan, “Why not let him out and scour th’ place?”

Mulan shook her head, “Calling him too soon is not a good idea. He gets, cranky.”

“A pity,” said a cold, youthful voice from just down the hall, “You might have survived had you chosen to free him.”

Each of them looked down the hall to see the darkly radiant figure of their friend, the dark red tresses that lay interspersed with her raven-black locks seeming out of place. But if those were strange, then the yellow pinpricks that were her pupils were even stranger. Raising her left hand Snow spoke again, her voice gaining power with each syllable as she muttered something that none of them could understand.

“Think it might be time t’ let him out now?” Merida asked, reaching for an arrow.

A moment later they had their answer.

(to be concluded)

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