Luca frowned slightly. So this girl was not afraid of going against those in power, nor was she bothered about ruining her clothes. He moved back a little, and stuck out his hand.

"I believe you have my penknife." Arabella took the knife from behind her, and Luca glanced at it flash in her hand. She didn't hand it over, giving him an almost wary look.

"How do I know you won't kill me if I give it over?" she asked. His lips twitched in a near smile. She was younger than him, four or so years, he guessed. It showed.

"It's hard to kill a person with a penknife," he murmured, peering down at the creatures below them. His posture and manner betrayed no anxiety, but he was concerned they would notice Arabella's absence soon.

She blushed a little, "Well stab me then. Anyway, what were you doing spying on us?"

"I wasn't spying on anyone," he muttered irritably, "it's called observation."

The girl before him was apparently beginning to enjoy herself. His frown deepened a little, "Why were you observing me? I'd say that was kind of creepy, for a full grown man to be 'observing' a girl of seventeen, don't you?" she flicked open the penknife and started playing with it, the blade glinting in the light filtering through the canopy. I watched her movements carefully, the corners of his mouth tilting upward a little.

"Then that would make me only three years older than you. You look younger than seventeen, though," he noted, dodging her question.

"Yeah, I get told that all the time." She settled back on the branch, making herself comfortable before throwing the knife back to Luca. It froze in mid flight, hanging between the two of them. Luca calmly watched as he turned it in the air, before reaching out and plucking it from the air, slipping it back into his pocket with a slight smile.

"So why were you 'observing' me?"

"If you intend to make a conversation out of this, I suggest we move away from here," he wondered where he should take her as she considered his proposal.

"Alright. They won't notice I'm gone, they're too drunk." He nodded and stood, bowing his head slightly to avoid hitting his face on the branches above him.

"This way then," he muttered, leaping from their branch onto a bough in the next tree, turning to watch as she followed. He was surprised that she was able to move so deftly in a dress, but none of that showed on his face. His chiselled jaw was set in permanent concentration and his eyes had long lost their expression. He kept going until he was far away enough from the party. Dropping out of the tree, he landed in a crouch, almost cat-like in his steady balance.

Arabella slipped out of the tree and fell awkwardly. Luca slowed her fall and put her down using his telekinesis, not noticing her embarrassment as he set her down.

"So, when are you going to tell me why you were spying on me?"

"I wasn't observing," he repeated, gritting his teeth a little. He could see himself getting easily irritated by this stranger in pink if she kept up like this.

"Ok, this is silly. Will you just tell me why you were watching me from a branch in a tree?" she crossed her arms and pouted, reminding him of a petulant child. He scowled.

"You're not from here; you don't belong here, and you certainly don't belong with them!" he jabbed a finger in the direction they had just come, his mistrust for the kingdom's creatures betrayed for a moment. 


The End

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