And now, evil lifted its head at the noise of chaos. As smoke billowed from Great Park, dark figures began to advance out of the Enchanted City….
Caretaker rushed into the cottage carrying Princess Amanda in his arms. He laid the child on a cot. Mercie gasped to see her. “What has happened?” she asked.
“Fire fighting,” the old man answered and the look he gave his wife told all there was to tell: Because of Princess Amanda’s disobedience, Great Park was now vulnerable to danger.
Croi-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e! Croie! Croie! The Ranger horns blasted the warning over and over. Fire in the forest! Danger!
“Do what you can for her, but quickly!” Caretaker ordered, hurrying toward the door. “Then come to Inmost Circle. The Enchanter’s men are rushing the gate. You will be needed right away.”
Immediately, Mercie turned and went to the fireplace where she quickly mixed together a basin full of herb salves. “Hero,” she called, “I need your help. Dip these clean rags into the bowl. Then cover the child’s burns. Like so.”
Mercie cut away Amanda’s singed clothes and covered her with a blanket. Hero watched as the old woman patted compresses into place on all the scorched and burned skin. She took a mug and filled it from the jug of healing draught. Gently, she poured it down Amanda’s throat.
Croi-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e! the horns sounded, urgently. “I must go,” Mercie said to Hero. “Danger has breached our gates.” The old woman paused as she went out the door. “If you are threatened in any way, do not be afraid. Speak the Ranger cries to give you strength: ‘To the Kingdom! To the King!’
Then she was gone.