The queen freed Karen and Eddy from their cells. She knew that such an act would greatly anger Much Cruel, but she wasn’t afraid of him. He no longer wanted anything to do with her so she decided to join the Lightbearers and the Small Faith People. To keep Karen and Eddy safe from Much Cruel and his guards the queen showed them a secret passageway under the cave. She told them that she had discovered it long ago when she wanted to be away from her husband during his times of ranting and raving. It was her peaceful hideaway and she had occasionally gone there to read or to gather her thoughts. No one else, including the chief, knew about this place so the two Lightbearers should be safe from being recaptured. They walked down the tunnel until they came to a room. The queen placed her torch on a stand and said: “It isn’t much but I hope that you will be comfortable here.”
Karen looked around. There was a rug on the stone floor, a soft red chair, and a table with a vase of flowers. “This is very nice, your majesty,” she said as she sniffed the flowers.
Eddy nodded. “Yes, very nice indeed.”
The queen was pleased that her new friends liked the room. She then realized that Karen and Eddy didn’t have anything to sleep on. “Oh, dear! I knew I forgot something! Tonight I’ll go to the bedroom and get some blankets and pillows. I certainly will not have you two sleep on the hard stone floor.” she said to them.
“You’re very kind,” said Eddy.
The chief was still fuming about his wife’s decision to be a believer. He felt that she betrayed him and his people. How could she do such a thing? His hatred of the Lightbearers grew stronger. He wished that he could kill them but that would be extremely difficult.
The Master Of Darkness watched him invisibly with two of his comrades behind him. “Okay here’s my plan,” he said to them, “I am going to appear to him as a human again and you two will appear as humans also. We will have a meeting with him and tell him how to handle the meddling Lightbearers and the slaves. We will also work with his slave masters visibly so that things will get much harder and the Small Faith People will lose their hope of being free.” The two demons applauded their leader’s idea. Then at his signal the three of them appeared to the chief. Much Cruel recognized the one as the friend he had made and was delighted to see him again. “It’s been a while. What have you been doing?” Much Cruel asked him. The Master of Darkness answered, “I have been secretly keeping an eye on things for you and your people. I have noticed that things are not going well for you on account of Karen and Eddy.”
Much Cruel pounded his fist on his stone throne in anger. “Those young ones took my wife away with their ridiculous religion. I wish I could get rid of them but they have a power on their side that protects them.”
“Yes, I heard about what happened at the games. But don’t worry, we will find a way to destroy them. Won’t we boys?” the Master of Darkness then turned to the two who were by his side. They smiled and nodded in unison. Then he turned toward the chief. “And we have a plan that will surely work. We will tell it to you so that you can help us.”
Much Cruel became excited like a little kid at Christmas time getting ready to open his presents. He had complete trust in this man and felt that with him by his side there will be no more Karen and Eddy. Sure the plan to discourage them by destroying their Lanterns didn’t work but he had confidence that this plan would. Much Cruel grinned and said to the three men, “I’m listening…”
In the cave Karen and Eddy were eating a small meal that the queen had prepared for them. When Karen stood up to put her empty plate away she moaned and quickly placed her hand on her side.
Eddy noticed. “Are you okay, Karen?” he asked.
Karen continued moaning. The pain felt like someone was stabbing her. Then it went away.
Eddy watched her in great concern. “Karen, what’s wrong?”
Karen removed her hand from her side and said, “I don’t know. I felt this awful pain but now it’s gone.”
“Maybe it was the food we ate,” said Eddy.
“Yeah, maybe that was it,” said Karen. The pain then came back making her double over.
Eddy became scared. “How bad is the pain?” he asked her.
“It’s bad. It feels like my whole body is on fire,” Karen answered moaning.
“Maybe you should lie down for a bit. Perhaps sleep will help you get better.” Eddy advised her.
“I think I will, little buddy,” she said as she slowly walked to where her blankets and pillow were. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
“See you in the morning,” said Eddy. He prayed that the pain Karen was having would go away.
The next morning the pain in Karen’s chest grew worse. She couldn’t walk so she laid back down. Eddy watched her and feared that if she didn’t get healed she would…
“No! I’m not going to think that!” said Eddy fighting the thought of losing her. “I’ll tell my people what’s happening and ask them to pray for her. With all of us praying Karen will be all better. I believe it!” then he thought, But how can I get out without being caught by the Natives of Doubt? I can’t stay here though. What do I do?
The queen then walked into the cave. When she saw Karen laying on the blankets moaning she knew something wasn’t right. “What happened to her?” she asked Eddy.
“I don’t know. She was like this last evening after dinner. The pain seems to have gotten very bad. Poor Karen,” he said as he turned to see the teenage girl curling into a fetal position and screaming.
The queen went up to her and felt her head. “She’s burning up with a fever. She’s very sick. If she doesn’t get medical attention she will die.”
“No!” Eddy gasped.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take her to one of our doctors.” said the queen.
Eddy’s eyes widened in fear. “But will she be safe? I don’t want the chief and the Natives of Doubt to harm her.”
The queen assured him. “I’ll stay by her side so that she won’t get hurt. Don’t worry little Eddy.” She then gently picked Karen up from the stone floor and carried her in her strong arms. “Be brave and stay strong in your faith.” She then walked out of the cave.
Eddy closed his eyes tightly. If Karen died he didn’t know what he was going to do. He couldn’t lead his people out of the Mountains of Trouble without her by his side. Eddy had to talk to his people now. He prayed that the Natives of Doubt wouldn’t notice him when he went back out there.
The doctor looked Karen over. The queen watched him as he checked Karen’s pulse and read her temperature with a thermometer. The doctor turned to the queen. “Your majesty, I’m afraid that within a couple of days this young girl will not be here anymore. This sickness is severe and there is nothing I can do about it.”
The queen’s eyes filled with tears. She was sad that someone so young was going to die. The doctor then said, “the only thing that can save her is a miracle, but we Natives of Doubt don’t believe in such things.”
“I do.” said the queen. “And I will ask the Good King, the God of Heaven to heal this young one.”
The doctor was stunned. Did the queen of the Natives of Doubt really say that? “Do you really believe in the God of Heaven?” he asked her.
The queen nodded. “I believe that He is the One and True God.” she said.
The doctor didn’t say anything. The queen then said to him. “I’m trusting you to take care of this dear soul. Can I trust you to protect her from my husband and his men?”
The doctor said to her, “I’ve never agreed with the chief’s ways. I always felt that he was way too brutal on people. I’ll make sure that she is protected. You can trust me.”
The queen thanked him.
Eddy managed to speak to Billy without being detected. He told him about Karen and how worried he was for her. “Please pray for her.” Eddy pleaded.
“Of course I will and tonight I will have everyone in Small Faith pray for her.”
Eddy felt a little better. “Thank you, Billy. Thank you very much.” He began to walk away when Billy called him back. “Yeah?” he asked.
“Whatever happens don’t lose faith in the Good King.” Billy answered.
Eddy didn’t want to hear that but he knew it was true. He must keep trusting in the Good King even if for some reason Karen wasn’t spared from death.
“I’ll see you later, Billy,” he said. He walked back to the cave and knelt on the stone floor. He bowed his head and covered his face as tears fell from his eyes.
To Be Continued