“How many are there?” Cerys shouted, bringing her arms up to protect her face.
“At least a hundred,” Nashtra said, keeping his voice low so as not to attract or upset the bats. “Possibly twice that, considering how long this tunnel is.”
“That goblin probably got them upset on his way in!” Sir Carter exclaimed, just before cursing under his breath. Cerys gave him and on certain look, but knew better than to complain.
“Ow!” Himeko cried out.
Her friends looked to her and saw the blood running down her cheek. One of the star bats had scratched her.
“Himeko,” Cerys breathed, giving her a sympathetic look.
“Blasted goblin probably attacked them on its way in,” Carter went on.
“And the bats remember,” Lord Ridley added. “No reason to attack them; they are just trying to protect the group from the goblin.”
“We need to keep moving,” James said. “We can’t be too far from the entrance.”
The party made haste down the hallway, keeping their weapons sheathed and their spells quiet. The bats followed them, knowing precisely where they were not just by their light, but also by the goblin’s grumbling and their cries when they swooped too closely down. Those who had shields used then to keep the bats from getting too close, but the others were left to rely on the swiftness of their feet.
At long last, the entrance– or, as they might also call it, the exit– to the tunnel came into sight. It was a faint glow in the distance at first, but as they ran, and the walls were less like bricks and more like the rocky walls of a cave, it became brighter. There were fewer star bats there, but enough that the party could see them flying in and out of their view of the light. Then Sir Carter saw something that made him stop suddenly.
“Your majesty, stay back!”