Time seemed to have frozen momentarily with Andrew standing there fuming and Sarah looking at him in shock. The room was quiet aside from the fire crackling in the hearth and the occasional bird singing outside. Andrew tapped his foot impatiently, waiting for her to make the first move. Perhaps she would try and make a break for it? Would she scream? She didn’t seem like much of a fighter. But she was just… staring at him.
“You’re… you’re…” she stammered after what felt like an eternity. Andrew rolled his eyes and put his hands on his hips.
> Andrew: Admit to being a monster of the forest.
“What am I? Go ahead, say it! Monster? Freak? Beast? Or do you have something else?”
“I’m sorry, what?” Andrew’s thought process screeched to a halt at her response. But he didn’t see any fear on her face, but instead… excitement and curiosity. Sarah gingerly stepped forward and started looking him over.
“You’re amazing. I’ve never seen anything like you before! You’re some kind of animal-person, right? I didn’t even know this kind of thing was even possible!”
“Wait, wait, wait.” Andrew shook his head, trying to comprehend this new development. He formed his fingers into claws and pulled a scary snarl. “You don’t think I’m some ferocious monster?”
“No! Not at all! In fact…” Sarah smiled and patted him on the head, looking him up and down critically. “… you’re actually kinda cute.”
“Um… thanks?” Andrew mumbled as he scratched his head. He definitely hadn’t expected this sort of reaction. Although perhaps he should feel grateful that she didn’t fear him. All his life, Andrew had been taught that the Caledonians were dangerous, but now that he had one right in front of him who actually wasn’t scared of him, he started to have hope. Perhaps he could use this girl as an example to Tony that Caledon and Sylvan could- Andrew’s face fell along with his heart as the weight of the situation crashed down on him again.
“No, no, no. What am I thinking? This is all wrong!” Andrew moaned as he buried his face in his hands and turned away. He knew exactly what Tony would say. One counter-example is an exception, not a rule. And that put him right back at square one. Sylvan was in danger, and it was all his fault. He sat down at the table, leaning forward on his elbows.
“What’s wrong?” Sarah asked as she walked over and sat down in the chair across from him. Andrew looked up, his ears drooping and eyes crestfallen. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. I thought I could get you in, get you healed up, and get you out with no questions asked. But now that all THIS has happened…” Andrew gestured vaguely at the situation in general and slumped over the table again.
“You’re in trouble with the others?” Sarah asked. Andrew nodded slowly before jerking his head up and looking at Sarah suspiciously. “Yeah, like you wouldn’t – wait, what do you mean ‘the others’?”
Sarah grinned sheepishly, which only confirmed Andrew’s theory. “You were listening, weren’t you? That’s why you weren’t in bed when I looked in!” He groaned and laid his head back down on the table. “What did you hear?”
Sarah shrugged. “Only bits and pieces. I couldn’t make sense of much.”
Andrew merely let out a grunt. That didn’t help much. What should he do? Either way, he was stuck with a girl who knew too much. He lifted up his head and looked at Sarah, who looked back at him questioningly.
“So… what happens now?”
>ANDREW: Block the door. Call Tony and tell him to bring an axe. Apologise profusely and tell her she shouldn’t have pried.
Andrew shuddered and looked up at Sarah. He didn’t want to do that. He wasn’t sure he could do that. He was willing to fight, and he was fine with hunting, but an actual person in front of him? He shook his head. Besides, he had spent all this effort trying to save her. He just… it didn’t feel right. Perhaps he could find another way? Tony wouldn’t like it, but since when did Tony like anything Andrew did? Perhaps he should just go straight to the top. He was going to find out anyhow. Letting out a long sigh, he stood up slowly.
“What happens now? Well, what happens now is that we ask Alan that question.”
Andrew chuckled as he started heading to the door. “Not someone you’ll forget anytime soon, that’s for sure.”
Opening his door, he poked his head out, looking around. He didn’t see Tony, but did see one of Tony’s younger brothers keeping watch on Andrew’s den.
“Hey Eric, can you go get Alan for me? Tell him it’s serious. Oh, and can you go get Cory too? I’m going to need his help after the hiding I’m gonna get for this.”
“… and then she pulled off my cloak and… well, there was nothing I could do.”
Andrew stood outside the door of his den, looking up into the golden eyes of a large lion Sylvan. Alan looked gravely at him before speaking, his bass voice rumbling quietly. “Andrew, this is very serious. You know this, right?”
Andrew nodded fervently. “Oh yes, I know. But if I went and got Tony, he’d probably just kill her now that… this has happened. And she hasn’t done anything wrong! So I was hoping you could find a way…”
Alan chuckled and laid a large hand on Andrew’s shoulder. “Tony has no love for the Caledonians, that much is certain. And one might argue you have too much. But, I can’t fault you for having a kind heart. A rash head, yes, but not for having a kind heart.” Alan gestured to Andrew’s door. “Regardless, we still have the consequences of your actions to deal with. Go and get Tony. I would like to have his input into the situation.”
“Do we have to?” Andrew asked, looking down and shuffling his feet. “I’d rather-”
“Yes, Andrew, we do. He’s in charge of security for a reason, so he should be here for any decision I make. I’ll talk with your Caledonian while you do. We may be able to find a compromise. But if not… well, we’ll do what we must.” Alan gave Andrew a gentle nudge back into town. “Off you go.”
Andrew walked off towards the rest of town, dragging his feet a tad.
Alan chuckled as Andrew broke off into a trot, and he turned and opened the door to Andrew’s dean and stepped through. Sarah gasped a little bit as Alan’s large frame came through the doorway, but she stayed seated. He smiled and sat down opposite her at the table and offered his hand.
“Sarah.” she replied, with a tiny quaver in her voice as she shook his hand.
“Miss Sarah. Andrew’s told me what’s happened. And as you no doubt have figured out, you being here poses a bit of a… dilemma for us. So, tell me, what do we do with you?”