The three kids gasped at the sight of Henry and Liam. They tried to run around the western corner of the castle, but the steep slope stopped them from moving fast enough to escape. Liam grabbed Aspen’s collar causing her to cry out. The kids spun around in their tracks.
“Give me the dog,” Emma screamed. Liam released Aspen’s collar and she ran behind Emma’s legs.
“What are you doing here?” he snarled. Liam’s fiery red hair sprung in curls from beneath his hat. Emma stepped back at the sight of his tightly bound muscles. Her eyes flashed with fear toward Brody.
His voice cracked as he answered, “We’re looking for the Blue John Cavern.”
“Why?” demanded Henry.
“I... I... wanted to show them a great place to play hide and seek,” stammered Max.
“You can’t play here or at the cave,” said Liam, staring down at Max. “You’re Owen’s little friend. What’s your name?” he demanded.
Max’s hands shook. “My name is Max. I help the caretaker here at the castle, and I’m friends with Pappy, too,” she said. “I mean, Major General Wilmot.”
The soldiers towered over the nine-year-old. She looked smaller flanked by soldiers with guns. Pointing his musket, Liam motioned for the kids to walk along the western wall of the castle toward the front where there was more space to move. The three followed his orders. The sunshine beat down on their shoulders, necks, and backs as they trudged ahead with the soldiers following. Aspen trotted beside them. Emma’s thoughts raced. How could they have gotten into this predicament? Maybe they should have hidden inside the castle instead.
“Where are we going?” she whispered to Brody. He shook his head. The kids walked on in silence. Emma was trying to find a way to escape, but came up empty.
“Where did you get that dog?” Liam asked, breaking the silence. “There are no dogs around here like that.”
“I brought her from home,” said Emma. “She’s mine.”
“Where is home?”
“America,” said Emma.
Max tapped Emma’s arm and whispered, “Shh, they don’t like Americans.” She turned to the soldiers. “Ha. She’s kidding. She’s my cousin from Sheffield.”
“Where are you guys taking us?” Emma asked.
“Where do you think?” said Henry. “To the castle prison.”
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