Chapter 131: The Real Traders

Buster and Charades stood outside at the base of the steps wearing metal bands around their legs and swords at their sides. They looked at the tree Stardust used to lay under.
"I can't believe he left," Buster commented.
"He knew Lunarstar was gone. I bet he's going after her," Charades guessed.
Banner left the castle and stood next to Buster, "King Sea Mist and Queen Snowfall feel terrible about not taking Stardust seriously."
"We should have known something wasn't right when Stardust started to act crazy," Buster replied.
"Just how did he know she was gone anyways?" Banner asked.
"He snooped around the elves's wagon and when they left he ran along the wall following them. It's like he...he knew," Charades replied.
"How?" Buster asked.
"I don't know but one thing is certain, he's the only one that can get her back," Banner answered.
Buster and Charades agreed with him.
"If those Traders took her then they were working for King Star Cluster," Buster guessed.
"Or King Adair went back on his word," Banner added, "King Sea Mist sent a few Pegasus the other day to Alfeo Castle to find out."
Just then two pegasus ponies flew over the castle and landed at the gate in the yard. One was a dark green pony with pink and white and mint green hair. The other one was yellow with pink, white and green hair. On their backs between their wings were two Elves. The pegasus lowered their wings for the elves to climb off their backs. Banner quickly walked over to the pegasus, "What's going on?" At first he thought those were the Traders, but they were different and their cloths looked different too.
"We found four these four tied to a tree," the green Pegasus answered.
"They claim to be Traders King Adair sent," the yellow pony added.
"We have proof," one of the elves quickly said.
"Show me your proof," Banner replied sternly.
The elf reached in his dark blue vest and took out a rolled up paper, handing it to Banner.
Banner took the paper, unrolled it and read it. The elves stood calmly knowing the paper will tell the truth.
"So those other traders weren't working for your King?" Banner asked while giving them the rolled up paper.
"No," The elf replied taking the paper," They attacked us on our way here."
"They said something about making a deal with King Star Cluster, if they could get the Princess in return for our Queen back," another elf added.
Banner was mad, he had a lot to say but was interrupted when a soldier on the wall called him over.
Banner left and hurried to the wall. he looked over the wall and was quite shocked to see the fake Traders at their gate.
"What do you want?" Banner asked.
"We forgot a few of our rugs, and we wish to come in and get them," one of the elves replied.
Banner turned from them and whispered to the soldier behind him. The soldier left the wall, running to Buster and Charades.
"Banner says to stand behind the gate when it opens. Then when the Traders walk in he wants you two to capture them."
"They're here?" Buster asked.
"Hurry," the soldier said.
Buster, Charades, the Soldier and the elves ran to the gate and stood behind it as it opened.
The donkey pulled the wagon through the gate and stopped. When the Gates closed, Buster, Charades and the soldier surrounded them.
Banner left the wall and walked up to them, "What have you done with our Princess?"
"Princess?" one of them asked.
"Is she missing?" another asked.
"We came for our rug, that's all," another replied.
"Don't you mean our rugs?" a voice asked.
The elves turned and gasped at the other four elves behind the wagon.
"Take them to the dungeon!" Banner yelled.
Buster and Charades pushed them out of the wagon with their front hoofs. They fell to the ground but was quickly met by swords being pointed at them from three soldiers.
"Get up," one of the soldiers ordered.
As the fake traders were escorted into the castle, the other four elves checked the wagon unrolling the rugs. They unrolled all the rugs, laying them around the yard, searching the rugs but they found nothing.
Charades looked at the rugs carefully, hoping to see any kind of trace that told them Lunarstar was there. Charades was about to give up when he spotted something shining in the sunlight. He picked it up and smiled. It was a strand of Lunarstar's hair.
"I found a strand of her hair," Charades called as he held it up.
Banner walked across a few rugs and looked at the white strand of hair, "It's hers. So she was in the rug but why did they come back, and where is the Princess now?"
"The princess could have escaped," a soldier guessed.
"Or those four took the Princess to Dream Castle and came back for the Queen," Banner guessed.
"What about these rugs?" Buster asked.
"Roll them up and stack them on the wagon," Banner turned towards the four elves. "King Sea Mist needs to know about this. You four follow me."

They walked from the yard to Castle and through the halls. They stopped at the door of the throne room where two soldiers stood guard.
"I need to talk to the King. It's important," Banner said to them. One of the soldiers turned and walked into the throne room, a few minutes later he walked back out, "You may go in."
Banner took the elves into the throne room. They stood at the base of the thrones and bowed at the King and Queen.
"Your Majesty, I would like you to meet the real Traders," Banner pointed at the four elves.
The King and Queen looked at them surprisingly.
"The fake traders came back. I have them in the dungeon," Banner added.
"Your Majesty," one of the elves said, "We were knocked out and tied to a tree while the other four took our wagon and rugs," The elf took out the rolled up paper, "I have proof that we are the real Traders"
The elf handed the paper to Banner who gave it to King Sea Mist. He unrolled it and read the note to himself, " To King Sea Mist and Queen Snowfall. I have sent these four Traders with my best rugs to be given to you in hopes you forgive me for my intentions to return the Princess to Dream Castle. I have agreed to help Banner in his battle to get Dream Castle back. I will do what ever it takes to defeat Star Cluster so my wife might be rescued."
King Sea Mist gave the note to Queen Snowfall for her to read.
"Tell your King thank you, and we could use his help in the battle against Star Cluster. You four must be tired, you can stay here for the night," King Sea Mist kindly offered.
"Thank you King Sea Mist," one of them replied.
"Banner, would you take them to the third floor to an empty room?" King Sea mist asked.
"Yes, your Majesty, I'll be glad to," Banner replied.
"Banner, is there any news on the Princess?" Queen Snowfall asked.
"My soldiers have searched the rugs and wagon, but all we could find was a single strand of her hair," Banner answered.
The King and Queen looked disappointed. The Queen was even more sad. She missed her morning breakfast with Lunarstar.
"I'm sorry your Majesty. If anyone can bring her back it'll be Stardust," Banner added noticing the looks on their faces.
Banner nodded his head and turned around leaving the room with the elves behind him.

Queen Snowfall sat on her throne sadly, "We should have listened to him."
King Sea Mist stood up and walked over to Queen Snowfall who stood up and faced him. King Sea Mist hugged her, "It's my faut for not believing him. Next time someone comes here they will not leave without being checked first."
They stood and hugged each other.
"Don't get too attached to her. She won't stay with us forever, "King Sea Mist whispered.
"I know. I can't help it. I wished we had a little pony," Queen Snowfall whispered back.