"Well, this is... good, isn't it?" I muttered sarcastically. I'd been walking down the street, heading for the shops, when I'd felt a little dizzy and had closed my eyes briefly. When I'd opened them, there had been a mist surrounding me and I couldn't see anyone around.

"Talking to yourself is never a good sign," a voice said from behind me. I spun around instantly slipping into a self-defence stance. A lynx was there smiling (a lynx? Smiling?!) at me. My only reaction was to blink.

"Oh, relax, will ya? I'm not going to hurt you," the lynx snorted, "I'm your Guardian."

"My Guardian?" I repeated and raised an eyebrow. The Lynx nodded.

"I've been waiting for you to show up. Come on, we best meet up with the others. My name's Raylene, by the way. You're Evalina of course," the lynx began to walk away. My instinct told me to follow.

"It's Eva or Lin," I said after a few moments of silence, "Not Evalina." I shuddered. I'd always hated my name.

"I know," Raylene smiled again, "I've been watching you for a very long time... Lin."

"Oh, good. I've been stalked by a lynx," I said under my breath. Raylene shot me a look to let me know she heard.

Eventually others came into view. I saw a girl with short, white hair, startling blue eyes and a rabbit in her arms, was talking to another girl with long, light brown hair and dark brown eyes and a deer by her side. Raylene glanced back at me and jerked her head for me to approach. I gave her a 'you've got to be kidding me' look. She glared at me, it seemed I'd finally come across some... one(?) who could match my stubborn streak.

I sighed and walked over to the girls. The one with white hair closed her eyes and fell asleep before I could reach them. The brunette glanced over at me then looked away quickly. I kept my distance, like I normally did.

"Hello, Raylene," the rabbit called. Great, more talking animals.

"Alright there, Kanin? What's up, then?" Raylene nodded towards the sleeping girl. Suddenly a wolf appeared out of nowhere. I blinked.

"Don't scream," the wolf said to me, clearly bored of having to repeat the same thing over and over.

"I wasn't going to," I snapped. The wolf gave me an appraising look then turned to Raylene.

"Luna here's feeling drained," the wolf told Raylene.

"I don't mean to be rude," I began, "Well, that's not true. When I'm irritated I become really impolite but, that aside, does anyone want to tell me what the heck is going on? And names are also good." Several pairs of eyes turned to me, many filled with annoyance.

"The wolf is called Waya, he's Caleb's Guardian," Raylene informed me smoothly, "Caleb's the one with the bandages. This is Adelaide and her Guardian, Ayala. Then there's Sleeping Beauty here, Luna, and Kanin. There's also Sally and Hinto the dragonfly, Terry and Prick the porcupine and finally Fia and Kit the fox." A couple of people waved in a friendly manner but I didn't return it. Until I had reason to I wasn't going to trust anyone. I was the second oldest by the looks of it.

I instantly took a liking to Fia but was careful not to let anything show. I also detected a familiar skeptism in Terry that I had myself. My lips twitched when I met his eyes and he looked alarmed. I could recognize the signs: Terry was involved in things that were illegal. I could also tell that Terry was very, ah, talented. I'd stopped doing those things a while back. Now I was just waiting for my darling cousin to get in touch. I wondered if Terry could pick up on the fact we had a lot in common. I was slightly better at concealing things than him.

I looked away from Terry and looked at Raylene.

"OK, next, what am I doing here?" I asked.

"Woah, hold up, we don't know who you are yet," Terry said.

"This is Evalina - but she prefers Eva or Lin," Raylene added hastily with a glance at me.

"Pleased to meet you, Eva," a sleepy voice said. I glanced down at Luna, hiding my startlement. I hadn't known that she was awake; I'd been getting flickers of her dreams. My lips twitched again: maybe not quite awake, half awake.

"Can't say the feeling's mutual," I muttered. I definately got a glare from Kanin that time. I shrugged at the rabbit: indicating that was just how I was. The glare intensified, I guess I didn't look to bothered by my horrible personality. I returned the glare with one even more impressive one.

The rabbit looked away in disgust and I almost smiled again.

"Charming, isn't she?" Waya said, grinning.

"Yeah, she certainly knows how to make friends," Kanin said.

"She doesn't want friends," Raylene snapped clearly hating their attack on me, "And she can't help the way she is. It's not her fault-"

"Shut up," I said quietly, cutting Raylene off. I hadn't known what she was going to say but I didn't want all these people knowing my secrets. I turned my carefully blank look to everyone else. Clearly, I wasn't a favourite. I wasn't concerned, I was used to it. I was surprised to feel a small pang of pain. nonetheless. Why should this odd group of people resenting me hurt?

"Do you mind if I find something to eat?" I was awfully hungry. I hadn't eaten anything for days. No one said anything. I rolled my eyes. "Can you at least point me in the right direction?" I requested quietly. Raylene jerked her head and I followed her. I withdrew into myself and barely noticed Fia and Kit following us. Again, surprising myself, I didn't mind them tagging along.

I glanced briefly at them and Fia smiled.

I gave her a small smile back.

The End

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