She stood from the throne, “Sue will bring you where you need to go. She’ll have some things that will help. I wish you luck.” With that she turned and left the room, moving at a slow steady pace, Doug didn’t bother calling out after her, the way she had looked when she said goodbye had been strange, he was worried she might be changing back. He stood and looked around the room, wondering where he should go. It was the first moment he really had to himself, where he could just think. He knew that this job could be dangerous, but he didn’t think he would be actively trying to escape death or capture. Sure he’d been in dangerous areas before, but it was a safe kind of danger. Places where he wore a bullet proof vest because that’s just what you did, rather than any real fear of being shot, and surrounded by men with large guns to ensure that he would be safe if anything did happen. He had believed it would be similar enough here. Though the place hadn’t been the lawless land he had been braced for, he had expected some kind of safety here. Perhaps it was slightly naïve to believe the government wouldn’t put him somewhere where he could come to harm, the reasoning being that it would look bad on them. It had seemed, during the explanation phase, that he would have some men from the army with him most of the time. Doug rubbed his face, then sighed, the worst part of it, as far as he was concerned, was that there was nothing he could do so far. Sue stuck her head through the door they had entered and frowned at him, “C’mon, we’re supposed to be leaving.”
In the hall, Sue started to hand him things, a knife, a white crystal that apparently worked like a flash bang grenade to his enemies and a small emerald. As Doug took the emerald he felt a flash of cold run up his body, “that’ll act like a shield for a short while. It’ll be enough to keep you from getting knocked out or anything.”
“Why wasn’t I given one of these before?”
Sue shrugged, “They didn’t exist before. Most people who get attacked can fight back. Keep the knife on you at all times, don’t try to kill, just to make them think twice so you can find a way to run.”
Sue turned from Doug, “Wait, don’t these count as gifts?”
“Why would they?”
Doug frowned, “Because they are?”
Sue sighed, “You’re a vassal, like me. She has to outfit you with something.”
“It isn’t important. The bond will break once your outside the walls. She just lent you some magic. It probably won’t change you and it’ll make these things work a little better.”
Sue started walking and, feeling uneasy, Doug followed her.
They stepped outside the tower and began walking through the mazelike hedges and bushes again. As they walked, Doug thought over what happened with Maggie. “If it’s good for everyone for me to leave, why did she offer to make me immortal?”
“If she did, your first task would have been to leave, but you would have needed to return within a few months. She has a pull, you wouldn’t have been able to stay away for too long.”
“But I thought being outside the walls would break that kind of bond?”
“We don’t know. None of us have been outside the walls. Free travel will change how things work, she was probably betting on it keeping the bond alive.”
“Does that mean you’ll be able to export food and magical items?”
Sue shrugged. Doug followed on, wondering what would happen if the outside world got its hands on magic, after all things seemed complicated enough as it was here in one city.
Sue didn’t pause as she took various lefts and rights through the area, after only a few turns Doug was already turned around and though he could still clearly see the tower, there was no way he would have been able to find a path to it again. Doug had expected that they would be going towards the wall, but Sue led them off to the side. They passed through areas with small ponds and gazebos, areas that held impossibly tall trees that weren’t visible unless you were in the clearing they grew in and places thatwere large courtyards. Finally, after almost an hour of walking Sue stopped at a small, wooden door, about four feet high. There appeared to be no support to the door, like it was just sitting against a bush. It was a deep brown and gothic in style. Sue pulled at the door and it swung open easily. They stepped through, Doug felt a strange tingle ripple across his body, and suddenly they were standing in a small, dreary green. As soon as he was through the door swung closed and faded into the bush they had emerged from. In front of them was a small building, it looked disused, but in good repair. Sue turned to Doug, “This is where I’m to leave you. Walk around to the front of the school, you’ll be safe enough here.” Before Doug could say anything she disappeared.
Doug looked around, he was standing on what was once a playground, the bushes were against a wall, no doubt to hide the grey bricks behind them. The area was grassy, and maintained. Closer to the building there was an area covered in tarmac. Doug followed the building around and found a large metal fence, he approached the gate which swung open easily. Around the front of the school there was a large curved driveway, a small car sat idling. The Baron opened the car door and stepped out, “Good to see you’re safe. C’mon hop in.”
Doug sat into the passenger side, “does Max know where I am?”
“No, they’re still looking. I’ll inform him you’re safe once we get somewhere less exposed. You can talk to him if you like then.”
The Baron started to drive, “How are you feeling? Maggie didn’t tell me much about what happened to you.”
“I’m ok, mostly tired.”
“I’m not surprised. You can have a rest in a bit. You probably haven’t eaten in a while, right?”
Doug’s stomach growled in response, he realised he was ravenously hungry. The Baron reached out and pressed a button on the radio, turning on a CD. Doug reclined the seat slightly and closed his eyes.