Without further explanation, Imri turned sideways and Brandon landed gently on the ground. Imri left Brandon dazed, facing a huge opening to a cave surrounded by nothing but sand. The unicorn flew away. Brandon walked into the cave and stepped onto a narrow walkway made of sharp, pointed rocks and small stones. The going was slow as he stepped gingerly to avoid piercing his feet on the jagged path.
He passed the first and second pools of poison water and then spotted Alexi. She appeared to be floating face upward in water that seemed as buoyant as salt water. As he came closer, he called her name.
“Alexi.” He watched her drift closer to the shore, clearly in a stupor. “Give me your hand.”
She reached up, and keeping his balance with his other hand on the wall as Imri had instructed, he stretched beyond what he thought possible. He had a hold of her for a moment but then Sambalat, the albino, appeared from nowhere and ordered Alexi to go back into the water. She slid from Brandon’s grasp and drifted into the pool of poison.
Brandon turned to see the strange, ugly creature, swung his left fist at him and knocked him into the pool next to Alexi. Sambalat growled and started to crawl out of the water, but Brandon kicked him in the chin and shoved him back down. Then he picked up a large rock and threw it between the albino’s eyes, blinding him long enough to call Alexi again.
She heard his voice and slowly drifted near him once more. He stretched out his arm until she grabbed his hand and quickly pulled her out of the water. Sambalat started toward them with one eye closed and bleeding, but Brandon, dragging Alexi, got out of the albino’s reach. Before realizing it, he and Alexi had passed all the pools of water and were standing in front of the cave opening. As Imri had told him, with Alexi leaning on him, Brandon picked up a small, smooth stone and touched it to her lips.
“Stop,” King Bravai ordered. “I will have this woman to wed and you shall be a husband for my sister.
“Oh my God, what do I do now?” Brandon moaned.
Silver Wing appeared out of nowhere.“You called my Lord, how can He help.”
“The flying unicorn, can he come and get us?” Brandon said.
“And where do you want him to take you?’
“To a place where we can have a hot bath and rest.”
“I know of such a place. Follow me,” Silver Wing said.
Before he could ask where, Brandon and Alexi found themselves surrounded by the heavy aroma of cinnamon. As it invaded their soul, the Angel of Kezia met them. “Come rest,” the angel beckoned, motioning Brandon to one room and Alexi to another.