The whirring came first, then the window shattered, sending shards of glass tearing through the heavy drapes and flying into the room. A soaring metal ball bounced off the far wall and settled in the center. It took him a moment to realize they were even under attack, and Clifton held his breath, hoping that exploding cannonballs hadn’t been invented yet.
“He has found us,” Edward said, standing so quickly he knocked his chair to the floor.
In a few seconds, as if time had slowed to a drip, Clifton viewed the room come to life. Jasper threw Richard over his shoulder and carried the prince out of the room. Dane grabbed his sack and strapped it across his back, hurrying to the side of the window. He jumped, barely avoiding another cannonball hurtled through the already crumbling glass.
“How many?” Edward asked, while gathering his weapons and strapping his gear into place.
“Hard to say,” Dane replied. “Perhaps a dozen or more.”
“Clifton,” Edward said. “You must take the Arrow of Light with you.” He held the arrow out to Clifton.
“No, way,” Clifton said, stepping back. “I’ve had enough of that thing. It’s yours, remember?”
“You must take it,” Edward said, as he shoved the glowing shaft toward Clifton’s chest. “If my uncle gets this arrow in his hands, the entire kingdom will be in danger. It will remain safe with you, in your world.”
“But I’m just an ordinary boy,” Clifton said. “This isn’t my problem.”
Edward stepped closer, his face no longer resembling a boy of Clifton’s age, but for the first time he looked like a king. “You are the one, Clifton. The arrow has chosen you.”