When Martha awoke, Brego had called everyone together near the cave entrance. Millie, Molly, Martha and Mercy stood huddled in their blankets.
“There is no easy way to say this,” he said. “The gargoyles have taken Malachi and Scrapper. But wait! Listen to me!” He continued before anyone could begin grieving. “I have good reason to think he was not taken to Chaozz!” Mercy and Martha had begun sobbing but tried very hard to dry their eyes and listen.
Brego continued, recounting what had happened on the large boulder and how the gargoyles had flown off in the direction of Sarbad. “But here is the bit of hope,” he continued. “I followed them carefully with my eyes until they disappeared in the distance to the north. It seemed clear that they were taking him to Chaozz.”
“No!” cried Mercy with a new burst of tears.
Brego walked over to her and put his arm around her. “Listen. I have not finished.”
Mercy and the other girls looked at him trying to restrain their tears.
He continued, “In my grief, and I stood on top of the boulder and contemplated what we should do now. I could see the gargoyles still circling Adelphia in the sunrise. Now here’s the strange part: I saw the three gargoyles with Malachi coming back toward me! I knew that it was the same three because I saw the grey flash of Malachi’s sword. They were flying back toward Adelphia, a quarter-mile or so to my North. What this portends I do not know, but it is obvious that they changed their course from Sarbad back to Adelphia. This may mean that Malachi has somehow convinced them to change course.”
“May we look in the Patternstone?” Asked Martha. “The other day it revealed the Queen to us and we knew that she was alive.”
Miriam spoke up, “Chaozz the Black is extremely sensitive to the Patternstone. He hates it, but he can smell it when it is being called upon. If we take it out of the black bag now, he will likely sense our position.” She turned to Martha, “can you trust God for Malachi? Obviously, you three were brought here for a very special purpose. God has allowed Brego to see that Malachi was heading back toward Adelphia. Chaozz the Black will not want Malachi dead, because then he would be of no use as a bargaining chip.”
Mercy’s grief had been replaced by worried shock. “Well,” said Mercy, “I suppose if our parents knew what we were up to even now, they would be worried even more than us. So, what can we do?”
Duman spoke up, “if we abandon the mission and go back to Adelphia, I do not think we can help Malachi any more than King Titus and the soldiers can. It is possible that Chaozz will be tied up by Malachi’s actions which could leave us clear skies as we journey. With your blessing, Mercy I say let’s put some miles under our feet.”
With unspoken gravity, everyone’s eyes turned toward Mercy. “Yes,” she said, “we can’t be paralyzed by fear. But I don’t want to move another step without praying for him!” Mercy looked to Philemon. The minister stood erect, his tall wiry form silhouetted against the cave entrance. He raised his hands toward heaven beseeching God with earnest entreaties on Malachi’s behalf. Then he led them in a Psalm chant.
Breakfast was very satisfying. Molly and Peter, along with Harry the Mason had packed delicious sausages, eggs, potato mash, and some other fairly luxurious breakfast items. “The more we eat this morning, the less will have to pack!” said Peter, trying to lighten the mood a bit.
Martha was half way through her scrambled eggs, when Brego called everyone to the cave entrance. “Up here,” he said. He led them all up a path which brought them out on the rocky ledge above the cave. He cautioned them all to be quiet. They could hear a booming noise in the distance.
“Stay low,” he said. “Just let your eyes go over the crest of this ledge. Chaozz has better vision than we do, but right now he is occupied. Martha, is the Patternstone hidden in the black bag?”
“Yes,” she replied, patting her cloak.
When they came over the lip of the ledge, an amazing sight met their eyes. They could see Chaozz the black as a fairly large black speck aiming fire at the city walls of Adelphia which was about 2 miles away. Several patches of trees were on fire outside the city walls.
“Now here’s the thing,” Brego continued, motioning them down below the ledge. “Malachi must have gotten into the city! I do not think that Chaozz would continue to beat the walls if he had captured Malachi.”
“So he’s safe?” asked Mercy.
“I think so. If he had Malachi, he would be taking his time back in his mountain questioning him. It’s we who are not so safe. He will figure out that Malachi was outside city limits. He will figure that Malachi wasn’t alone…” Brego’s voice had quieted. He let his head go above the ledge again then said, “Quick! Everyone in the cave! I think he’s going to turn around!”