A Daughter of the King - Chapter Fourteen

"Thank you." she nodded to the guard. Throwing off her cloak, she wandered on to the fields, finding the archery targets. She carefully took out her bow and notched an arrow. Squinting, she let it fly. Twang-thud...the arrow quivered in the center of the target. She smiled and pulled it out.

"That's very good." a voice said, coming up to her.

"Thank you." Mandy looked at the stranger, "Who are you?"

"I am Faramir." he answered, smiling slightly.

"Well, nice to meet you." Mandy turned back to the targets.

This time, she chose one further out and let loose another arrow. It hit the center again.

"As good as I would expect from an elf." Faramir remarked.

Mandy felt herself getting angry with him, red creeping up her face, she turned.

"What do you want, Firima?"* she snapped.

"Nothing." he answered, watching her.

"Then why are you staying?" she almost snarled.

"I came to challenge the beautiful elf to a duel." he stated as if it was a common thing.

"Alright, you will have your duel, Master Faramir." she took off her bow and quiver.

He set his cloak beside her things and drew his sword. She watched him, then drew hers also.

"After you." she bowed faintly.

They circled for a few minutes, and then Faramir lunged. She twisted away and stood waiting.

"I am over here." she taunted slightly.

Faramir turned and was shocked to find her coming upon him. He parried the blow and brought his own sword down. Mandy smiled. She wasn't fighting her hardest. She could easily see his blows coming. They fought some more, each trying to get at a weak spot or disarm his opponent. Suddenly, Mandy fought swifter and harder. Faramir defended himself, his eyes widening at the speed of Mandy's blows. The sword seemed to whistle as it came down. She disarmed him in one swift, easy motion. His sword stood quivering in the ground a few feet behind him. He looked at her, admiration and astonishment in his eyes. She walked over to his sword and pulled it out. She handed it to him, hilt first.

"Next time, don't assume elf maidens cannot fight. We can." Mandy told him, walking away.

"Very nice." Aragorn's voice startled her.

"Ada, were you watching the whole time?" she asked, flushing as she remembered her words.

"Yes. You did very well." he laughed, "You can use the weapons you have."

"Hanta le, Ada." she smiled. Suddenly, her ears caught the sound of pattering feet.

"Oh no." she moaned.

"What is it?" Aragorn asked.

"i-Pheriannath (the Hobbits)."* she groaned, "I have to hide!"

Aragorn watched her race away, smiling to himself. Sure enough, Merry and Pippin came running towards him.

"Aragorn!" they shouted, "Where's Mandy?"

Aragorn pointed towards the woods, "She just ran in there.
You might be able to catch her." They ran the way he pointed.

"She's going to be angry with me." he thought, eyes sparkling merrily.

Merry and Pippin ran hard in the forest. "Where would she go?" Pippin voiced his thoughts.

"I don't know. Let's keep following the trail, though." Merry glanced around in the trees. He thought he saw a flash of metal over to his right.

"C'mon. Thought I saw something." he said, turning towards the flash.

Mandy ran, "I'll bet Ada told them where I was." She shook her head angrily.

She smiled when she heard the faint footsteps of the hobbits. Going even swifter and lighter, she raced deeper into the forest. Suddenly, she was grabbed. She couldn't stop and was thrown against the person.

"Who are...." she started to push away, when she looked up, "Legolas!" He smiled down at her and hugged her.

"It's good to see you, Aarien." he whispered in her ear. He pulled her close and kissed her.

Their hoods were down and faces clearly visible. Merry stopped short, causing Pippin to run into him.

"'ere, why are you stopping?" Pippin growled angrily, standing up, "Trying to..."

"Sh...Pippin, look!" Merry motioned towards Mandy and Legolas. Pippin started laughing. Merry smothered him with his cloak and ducked.

"You fool! Do you want us to get caught?!" Merry smacked him. Pippin didn't say anything, only shook with undisguised mirth.

"Wait until Aragorn `ears about this." Merry grinned.

They started to crawl off when they suddenly came face to face with a pair of booted feet. Glancing up, they saw Legolas' angry face.

"Uh, oh." Pippin leaped up and started to run in the other direction when he stopped in front of Mandy.

"So, spies! What do you have to say for yourselves?" Legolas snapped, "Speak! My patience grows thin."

"Well, uh...we were looking for Mandy and followed her into the forest..." Merry stuttered.

"And then we got chased by some orcs and we went running around, looking for you and then we saw you kissing her." Pippin explained quickly.

"And we didn't want to disturb you so we thought we'd..." Merry was going to finish.

"You just thought you would leave us alone and tell everyone in Gondor!" Mandy fumed at them, "You sneaking little...."
They cringed as she came closer. Mandy and Legolas's eyes met and an understanding passed between them.

"Now, hold on a minute." Legolas concealed his smile, "Mayhap they can do something for us, Aarien." She looked at him, and then grinned. They both glanced down at the hobbits, who gulped.

"Run." Merry whispered.

"What?" Pippin asked, watching the elves.

"RUN!!" Merry pushed Pippin back. Pippin caught on, and they bolted. Mandy and Legolas laughed.

"I suppose we had better go after them. No sense in letting them run for no reason." Mandy sighed, raising an eyebrow.

"I guess not." Legolas laughed, "You follow them and I'll head them off." Mandy raced away after the hobbits. They were fast and had some knowledge of forests because of everything that had happened to them. She could make out
their tracks heading back to Gondor.

"Well, at least they know where they're going." she thought wryly. She smiled as she faintly heard their heavy breathing.

"Legolas better head them off." she sprinted even faster.

*************
"Slow down, Merry," Pippin breathed heavily, "I think we lost them."

"Lost them?! I don't think they were even chasing us!" Merry sprawled on the ground.

"Why wouldn't they be chasing us?" Pippin asked.

"You're a big boy. You tell me." Merry rolled his eyes.

"Wha...oohh..." Pippin started to ask when it suddenly dawned on him, "I get it."

"Good, I'm happy for you." Merry said sarcastically, "Now, we'd better be getting back to the city."

"I agree, but in the words of old Treebeard: don't be hasty." Pippin helped Merry up, "C'mon then."

They started to walk lazily towards the city when Legolas suddenly appeared in front of them.

"Going somewhere?" he asked, an eyebrow raised.

"Um...no." Pippin stammered.

"I thought not." Legolas glanced behind him, "Oh look. Excellent timing."

Mandy slid to a stop behind them. She winked at him and then turned a stern gaze on Merry.

"This is really bad behavior for someone who had sworn himself to defend the king. And you Pippin, one of the guards of the city." she scolded, "I really think we ought to do something, Legolas."

"I agree." Legolas answered.

"Don't hurt us, please!" Merry begged, looking from one face to another.

"We promise to do anything." Pippin pleaded.

"Anything?" Legolas queried.

"Yes." Pippin answered, and then Merry clouted him.

"What'd you go and say anything for?!" he growled angrily.

"Well, it's better than whatever they were planning for us." Pippin defended himself.

"I need to talk to Aarien about it." Legolas turned to her, "Ya u an i Perya-taarie?"

"I think we should just have them wait until we call for them to help us." Mandy answered.

"Ala, that sounds good. You will just have to wait and come whenever we call for you..." he told the hobbits, "Now get out of here."

"Thank you, Legolas." the hobbits raced away. Mandy burst
into uncontrollable laughter.

"That was great." she wiped at the tears of laughter.

"They will be on their toes for the rest of the afternoon and continue so until we call for their help." Legolas chuckled.

"Let's not call for them for a week." Mandy's eyes twinkled, "That way, they'll get so uneasy that they will be jumping all week."

"I like that idea." Legolas approved of the idea, "Let's go back to Gondor." They walked back to the clearing.

"Where's Arod?" Mandy glanced around.

"He's here." Legolas whistled softly, "There you are, nin mellon. Mandy is back." Arod nickered, gently nudged his head against her.

"Hello to you too." Mandy stroked his nose. Legolas lifted her easily onto Arod and sprang lightly onto him.

"How did Aragorn take it?" Legolas asked.

"Fine, I am officially his daughter now, which makes me a princess of Gondor. Though, I'd rather be just an elf back in Lothlorien." she sighed wistfully, thinking of the fun and restful times there.

"You will come back someday. It's in your blood. No elf can stay in a city for long times. They always come out to the forest and to their brethren." Legolas said forcefully.

"I want to believe that, Legolas, but I am afraid that..." Mandy stopped, swallowing, "I am afraid that I will be stuck in the city with my parents. Not that that's a bad thing, but...oh I do want to go back to the forests!"

Legolas said nothing, just looked down at her. He could see the longing and struggle in her eyes, her loyalty to her parents and the longing for the forest. Before he could say anything, the gates were opening into the city.

Mandy swung off and pulled her hood up, "You need to bed Arod down. Legolas, I...don't tell Aragorn." She disappeared into the crowd, heading back towards the palace.

"Aarien! Mandy..." Legolas called after her. He turned Arod towards the stables.

*translations:
*Mortal
*hobbits
*What should we do to the hobbits?

****Author's Note***
another cliffie, gotta love em the next chapter should be up soon, so...hope you enjoy!
God bless,
celebel

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