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Rolfin's Orb
Book 9 - Sapphire
Chapter 7

Within an hour they stood at the windmills. “Which one is it?” Elspet counted several of them.

“I think we should separate. We can do it much faster. I'll take the two down on the end. Callum, you take the first two. Elspet, you do the next two and we'll might at the others and do them together.” Fiona ran down the dirt road.

Each cylindrical tower, painted white, had windows close to the top. The four arms stuck out in front, in perfect symmetry. They spun around, causing a breeze to flow down the road. “Callum,” Elspet said, “since when did the windmills start running? I thought they were all broken and just for decoration to attract tourists.”

Callum stood in front of the first windmill. “It is sort of weird. Maybe they fixed them for the big festival.”

“That makes sense. Be careful. Don't do anything foolish.” Elspet left Callum and ran to the next windmill.

Callum pushed the wooden door. “It's heavy.”  Using both hands he was able to move it enough to squeeze inside. “Ick. It stinks in here, like moldy cow poop and wet hay.”  Spider webs strung across the walls, attached to rotting wooden beams. The creaking sounds of the spinning arms echoed inside. He put his hands to his ears and glanced up at the rotating wheel. After a quick glance around, he shrugged his shoulders. “There's no stone in here. If there is, I can't find it.”

When he turned to leave he heard, “Stay where you are, Callum.”  Whipping his body around, he searched for the source of the voice. “I said stay where you are.”

“Who's that?” Callum ran for the door. “I'm not sticking around to find out.”

An arm reached from the darkness and grabbed him by the back of his shirt. “You're not going anywhere. You're coming with me. I've got someone who wants to meet you.” He put his hand over Callum's mouth. “Daleth shapish yam bet.”

                                    *  *  *

“Fiona! There's nothing in here. There's not even a stone on the ground. I checked both of mine.” Elspet stood outside the door of the last windmill.

Fiona stuck her head out. “Come here, Elspet. Get Callum and come to this windmill. The jewel is in here. I can sense it.”

“All right. I'll go and get Callum.” Elspet ran up the road. “Callum! Callum! Fiona's found it.” There was no answer.

Elspet went into each of the windmills calling for him. Not being able to find him, she ran down the road the other direction and went into the windmill where Fiona was. “Fiona, I can't find Callum. He's probably hiding on purpose to freak us out. He's nowhere to be found.”

“We'll find him later then. Stand right here and tell me what you hear?”

Elspet moved closer. As her body touched Fiona's the door to the windmill slammed shut. She swallowed. “All I hear is the creaking sound of the arms going around in circles. Fiona, the door just slammed shut.”

“I noticed. It's probably the wind.”

“Or Callum teasing us. He'd be quite thrilled if he thought he'd frightened us. I'm not frightened, are you?” Elspet stared at the door.

“Why don't you go and open it. Tell him to stop. I need the both of you.” Fiona got down on her hands and knees and started moving the straw around.

Elspet went to the door and pushed it. “It won't open.”

Fiona sighed. “What do you mean it won't open?”

“I mean just that. The door is locked.” Elspet ran back to the middle of the windmill. “I don't think it's Callum. In fact I think Callum's gone. I sort of feel something's wrong. How will we get out of here? This is obviously one of the traps.”

“Another trap and we're stuck inside here. There's a slot up there, but I don't think either of us can fit through it. Since we're stuck in here, let's get the jewel.” Fiona started moving dried hay around. “Hey, what’s this?” She lifted a wooden box out from under a few loose bricks.

Elspet walked closer. “It is a box.”

“Duh, Elspet. I can see that. I wonder what’s in it.” Fiona wiggled the lid back and forth. “It’s loose.”

“Fiona, what if there’s something bad in it? What if it’s trap number three?” Elspet bit her fingernails.

“It’s not.” Fiona removed the lid. “Well, well, well. It looks like a piece of armor. I think Dulcinea is right. This is the armor of Don Quixote, just like she said. Remember, her grandma showed it to her? I’m taking it to Dulcinea.” Fiona slipped it inside her shirt. “It’s heavy and cold.”

“It might be our third one, if you count the poison food.” Elspet put her hand on her tummy. “Maybe the armor will turn into a snake.”

“It won’t. Stop worrying. I don’t think the poison was a trap. I’m sure it was Drayton who did that. It’s all part of his plan. Look for the sapphire. It'll probably be blue and shiny. That shouldn't be too hard to find.” When Fiona moved a piece of termite-riddled wood, a rat ran out. It squeaked and wagged its tail as it darted past them. “Rats.”

“Rats? You saw a rat? In here? I don't like this, Fiona. Let's go,” Elspet cried.

“Not until we find the jewel. She lifted a pile of straw and saw another loose brick. “Here it is. I'm sure it's under here.” Fiona lowered her fingers to the brick.

“Wait! Remember Greece and the scorpions. Do you think they might have scorpions here?” Elspet stepped back.

“Only one way to find out.” Fiona lifted the brick. The sapphire sat in the dirt. “It's here. Wow! It's pretty.” She picked it up and held it in front of her face. “Wow! So this is a sapphire.”

Elspet sniffed the air. “That was way too easy. What is that smell?” She turned around. “There's something green in the air. What if it is poisonous gas?”

Fiona dropped the jewel into her pocket. No sooner had she done this when one of the rats ran into the green mist. It screeched and rolled on its back.

“Look, Fiona. It's bubbling.” Elspet gagged when the rat's skin filled with huge blisters and it tripled in size. “That's sickening.” Just then the rat exploded. Elspet nearly fainted.

Fiona grabbed her by the arm. “We've got to get out of here. Whatever you do, don't breathe any of that green stuff. We need to climb to the top and squeeze through that slot.” They stepped on bits of stone that poked out of the inside walls and made their way to the top. The green haze moved higher. They heard rats exploding below them, which urged them on.  Both managed to climb through the slot, though it ripped their skin raw in several places.

“Now what? We're out, but the arms are twirling.” Elspet fought back tears.

“Grab one of them when it comes past and swing to the ground on it. Don't let go. It's a long way down.” Fiona went first. She swung through the air and fell to the ground. “Come on, Elspet. It’s easy.” After dropping to the ground, they saw the green gas pouring out of the windmill. “Run!”  Fiona didn't have to say it twice. She made sure the sapphire and piece of armor were safe and then both girls rushed down the road.

“What about Callum?” Elspet didn't look back.

“He's gone, Elspet. I think Drayton kidnapped him. Right now we need to go to town and find Dulcinea. I suppose there's a chance Callum went back to town and is with her.”

Rushing like the wind, Fiona and Elspet galloped into town. They ran for Dulcinea's restaurant. Fiona burst in through the door. “Dulcinea!” She screamed at the top of her lungs.

The older woman came running down the stairs, wiping her hands on her apron. “What's the matter, Fiona?”

Fiona gasped for breath. “Is Callum here?”

“No. I've not seen him since you three left. Is everything all right?”

Elspet ran to the window. “Fiona, it's following us.” The green gas rolled down the hill towards Consuegra. “This reminds me of that movie with the Pharaoh and Moses and that death mist. Let’s get out of here.”

“We've got to leave, Dulcinea, or everyone in the village will die.” Fiona hugged her. “I can't explain. Thank you for all you've done. Here.” She pulled Don Quixote’s armor out of her shirt and handed it to  Dulcinea.  “You were right. This is his armor. Don Quixote’s. He was real. You can keep it.” Fiona wrapped her arms around the plump woman. “We’ve got to leave.”

Elspet hugged her. “I'll never forget you, Dulcinea.”

They ran upstairs to their room. “Hurry. Hurry, Fiona. It's almost to town. Everyone’s going to die.”

Fiona took Elspet's hand. “Daleth shapish yam bet.”

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