My father had summoned an image of the army to a large bowl of water, and was watching it intently. Though he could not hear what anyone was saying through this form of magic, it meant if the King decided to launch an attack directly on the castle through some secret way, he would know.
I didn't think this was necessary, since Percy was not stupid enough to believe he could attack this castle and win.
I had summoned my own water bowl image, checking on Agatha and Stephen. Agatha's pain was clear in her face; she had been betrayed by me and she knew it. And that pain hurt me too, though I tried to deny it. I had only let my gaze wander to Percy once. The look I had caught on his face as the water looked upon him was enough to make me never want to look at him again. Or never dare. I had crushed him.
And it was crushing me.
The castle was now like a prison. No one was allowed in, or out, and my father was becoming increasingly paranoid that someone would turn on him. He kept himself locked away, all his food was tested by servants before he ate it, all his drink sampled too.
He had insisted that my food and drink also be tested.
I hated this, hated everything. I was meant to be in the forest, I was meant to be free. And now my own father, my own people, were keeping me locked away like a caged bird. And I HATED it.
I planned to sneak out the way I'd snuck out when I'd lived here before. I could easily climb out of my window and down the ivy. It took an experienced climber, but that was what I was. And if I fell? Well, I had magic for a reason.
So one night, I grabbed my long dark cloak and threw it on, then opened the window. As I climbed I thanked the sky that the clouds covered the moon, meaning no one would see me. And I thanked the moon when it came out from the clouds as I stepped in to the shadow of the trees.
I wandered through the forest, touching the bark of the trees, and breathing the fresh air. It was magical here, beautiful. I finally felt free.
A twig cracked and I span round. Three bows were pointed at me.
"Who are you?" One of the men said, trying to see under my hood. I recognised the voice. He was the horse master for Percy."Why are you wandering in the woods alone?"
I looked up and in the moon light he saw my face. The bows were drawn tighter.
"Well, look who we have here. Ella Vadrini." I scowled and waved my hand. Their bows flew in to the air and caught upon some branches.
"So what if I am? What business is it of yours?"
"Our King would be very pleased to see you I'm sure."
"And you think you'll be able to take me to him do you?" I asked, before I realised that my heart was begging me to go peacefully. And I'd always listened to my heart before...
"We cannot match your magics witch, but you will stand before him as the traitor you are."
The horse master was shocked, and didn't believe what he was hearing.
"I beg your pardon?"
"You have my pardon for your rudeness. Now, it is this way to your camp is it not?" I headed off to where I knew the army was camped, and after a few seconds heard the soldiers following. Not far from where they had found me, we reached the edge of the camp. A soldier drew his sword until he saw that the horsemaster was with me, and then let us past.
Eyes stared at me as I made my way to the King's tent. Outside the horsemaster tried to stop me but I brushed him aside and entered the tent without announcement.
As the tent flap closed behind me I cast a spell that would allow the meeting to go unseen by any spell, meaning my father would not know I was there. Another spell later and no one would be able to enter the tent without my permission. I looked in to the darkness and saw Percy on his bed, asleep.
I crossed the floor and sat on his bed, looking down at his sleeping face in fondness before shaking his shoulder.
"Percy." I muttered, before his eyes flew open and he grabbed his dagger, holding it so close to the skin of my neck that it almost drew blood.
"Ella?" He asked, then his eyes narrowed. "Give me one reason I shouldn't kill you now."
"Because you know I wouldn't be here if you could actually kill me."