The nearest cover was a large wood, but to reach it they would need to cross a large open area. Salia had no idea how they were going to make it without being seen. Lyrrekka must have been listening to her thoughts because she nodded.
“That’s the danger. I wish I dared take dragon form; it’d be fastest, but we’d certainly be spotted if I did. We’ll have to run, so we’ll do the next best thing.” She looked over at Mia. “You take Coromel, I’ll take Kari and Salia,” she said and began to shift until she’s taken the form of a fire affinity unicorn. “Get on!”
Salia looked over at Mia as she obeyed. The goblin girl had shifted into a unicorn as well and Coromel was already on her back.
“Kill your flames, dear.” Lyrrekka damped down her own flames as she spoke. “WeÂ don’t want to be seen.”
“Okay, the guards are on the other side. We’ve got a few minutes. Hold on tight,” Lyrrekka said and set off at a gallop towards the woods with Mia in her wake.
Salia clung to her neck and leaned forward. “I’d forgotten dragons and goblins could do this.”
“We don’t often. It takes a lot of energy and it serves no purpose when most of us can’t disguise our auras. Even if we can, our eyes give us away,” Lyrrekka said. “Now hush, I’m not quite as good at this as a real unicorn. I need to concentrate.”
They were nearly at the trees when a scream from Mia made Lyrrekka skid to a halt. Salia looked back and saw Mia lying on her side with yellow blood dribbling from a large gash in her left foreleg, which was bent at a painful angle. Coromel was lying on the ground nearby, looking anxious.
“What happened?” Salia asked.
“She put her hoof in that.” Coromel pointed to a small pit lined with razor sharp stones. Salia didn’t think it was a natural feature and from the way Lyrrekka swore, she agreed.
“Damn, I knew he was paranoid, but I didn’t think he’d gone so far as to lay traps.” She nuzzled her daughter’s leg. “I wish taking this form gave me a unicorn’s powers. Will you be okay?”
Mia resumed her near human form and nodded wanly. “Thank goodness it wasn’t my back leg, but I expect they heard me scream. We’d better hurry.”
“Possibly.” Lyrrekka knelt down to let Karilya and Salia off then resumed her human form. “But let me have a proper look first.” She took her daughter’s twisted arm in her hands and closed her eyes. After a moment she sighed in relief. “Good. I was worried he might have used some sort of poison on the rocks but it seems not. I’ll stop the bleeding for now. Kenna’s waiting for us in the woods, she’ll be able to sort out the break. Let’s move.” She helped her daughter up and then ushered them all across the last narrow strip of open land between them and the trees.
“Who’s Kenna?” Salia asked. “I can feel a speaker ahead. Is that her?”
“Kenna’s the friend I mentioned and yes, that’s her.” She smiled as a real firey unicorn came trotting between the trees towards them. “Kenna!”
“Lyr!” The unicorn trotted up and nuzzled her. Lyrrekka placed her arms around the unicorn’s neck and hugged her.
“I wish we had time to catch up but we need to hurry and Mia’s hurt.”
“Yes, I heard her scream. Let me have a look.” Kenna nuzzled Mia’s arm. “I need the break re-aligned before I fix it. Can you do it without her screaming?”
“I should be-”
“We don’t have time for that,” Mia interrupted. Her face was crumpled with pain but she still looked determined and her voice barely faltered. “If Kenna heard me then I’m sure that the guards heard me at the palace as well. The arm will wait. We need to get clear.”
“Butâ€“” Lyrrekka began.
“But nothing, mother,” Mia said. “Just numb the pain for now and I’ll be okay until we’re somewhere safer.”
Lyrrekka looked as if she wanted to argue, but after a moment she bit her lip and nodded. “You’re right, dear. You and Salia ride Kenna. I’ll take Kari and Coromel.” She sighed heavily as she helped her daughter and Salia aboard Kenna’s back. “We’ll have to make do.” She resumed unicorn form and knelt to allow Coromel and Karilya to climb on her back, then set off through the wood in the same direction as before.