After an hour of galloping, John and Larissa reached the nearest town, Quincy, which contained only one inn. Lots of travelers stayed in that inn, especially now that the scent of war is in the atmosphere. Most of them were from Gord, which is where King Alfred's castle is situated. The inn's name is "The Three Barrels". It is said that they brewed the finest beer in those parts.

As John and Larissa came in, everyone stared. Larissa was suddenly scared. A new thought came into her mind. What if the people recognized her and brought her back to King Alfred? If that happened, her three companions would be sent to jail, or maybe hanged! The truth was, the people at the inn stared at them because of how they looked. The people had never seen a young lady as beautiful as Princess Larissa, or a boy with an exotic face such as John had.

"Hello there!" said a good-natured man at the counter nodding his head at them. John and Larissa approached him.

"Uh, hi!" said John, taking his cap off and nervously twisting it in his hands. "We'd like to have two separate rooms with two beds in each please."

"That can be arranged," said the man. "We'll get your rooms ready in half an hour. They are rooms 56 and 57. In the meantime, how about a bite to eat eh?"

"That's ok," said John, "we already ate." Nevertheless, he led Larissa to a small table for two at the corner.

Larissa sat down nervously, looking about her. The room was dark and smelled of beer. There were tables all around, full of silent people, whispering to themselves. For a moment the room became so quiet, one could hear a pin fall. But then at another corner, where a group of merry villagers sat, somebody knocked over a beer mug, causing confusion and laughter.

"Phew," said John, "finally they cracked up," He smiled at Larissa, "What's your name Princess?"

"I am Princess Larissa, daughter of King Alfred III," she said.

"Ssh!" said John, looking about him, "whisper. You don't want people to notice us again do you?"

Larissa shook her head. "Are you Jack's younger brother?" she asked.

"Yep," said John.

The two of them chatted quietly for about an hour. John turned out to be good-natured and merry as Larissa thought.

"It's getting late isn't it?" she said, looking around again. This time, most of the tables were empty, and the room was even darker.

"Yeah," said John, "I wonder where Tracy and Jack are."

"Who's Tracy?" said Larissa.

"Oh that's just Trishiana's nickname," said John.

A gust of cold wind came in. They looked to the door and saw Jack carrying Trishiana, who seemed to be wounded.

"Jack! What happened?" cried John, running over to them.

"I'll tell you about it once we get Tracy's wound bandaged," said Jack running toward the stairs.

"Wait a minute!" cried the bartender, running towards them, "you don't have a room!"

"What?" said Jack, looking at John.

"He's with us," John explained. "Come on Larissa."

Larissa ran towards them and went up the stairs, where they looked for the two rooms.

"There it is!" said Larissa pointing to a brown door with the number 56 painted on it. She opened the door. The room had two neatly covered beds with a table in the middle. Jack went in and put Tracy on the nearest bed.

"Ok," said Jack to John, "give me your bag of healing leaves."

John handed a small leather pouch to Jack. "Take all you want."

Jack nodded. He took a small leaf and placed it on a wound on Tracy's forehead. Larissa shuddered. To her, the wound looked like another mouth on Tracy's face. After a minute, the leaf wiggled and vanished out of sight. Where the leaf rested was the smooth fair skin of Tracy's forehead. Larissa gasped. She had never seen anyone do that before. Not even her own doctor did it, even though he was said to be the best doctor in those parts.

"John," said Jack, "go get a basin of warm water." John sped out of the room.

"It's all right Princess," said Jack, smiling at Larissa. "Tracy'll be fine in not time."

Larissa smiled. She sat on the other bed across the one where Tracy lay. Jack took a second leaf out of the leather pouch and placed it on Tracy's left leg. This time, the wound was deeper than the one on her forehead. After more than five minutes, the leaf wiggled and vanished. Where it once lay was just the unscratched, fair skin of Tracy's leg.

"Well, that's about it," said Jack stretching his arms. Larissa breathed a sigh of relief. Without knowing it, she had been holding her breath while waiting for the leaf to wiggle.

Trishiana opened her eyes and sat up. "Thanks Jack. I had the most horrible headache ever."

"Are you - " before Larissa could ask her if she was all right, the door slammed open. John rushed in with a furious expression in his face.

"Why didn't you tell me the King's whole army was after you?" he cried.

Author's note: Thank you so much to all those who sent their reviews. Without you, this story wouldn't be possible *tear*. Keep reading! The next parts are going to be sooooo exciting! Thanx!

Signed, charmed03