Melody woke to hear voices.
“This won’t work.”
“But what if it does? What if she sees it and she remembers something?”
There was a sigh. “I think it took her too long to remember how to come back. She’s spent too long in that other world, she doesn’t remember this one.”
Someone shifted their weight to another leg. “Harmony may already know she’s here. It’s our only option.”
“I know it is. But what if it’s too soon? What if she needs more time?”
There was another sigh cut off by the sound of something scraping against metal. “We don’t have a choice. We’re out of time. If Harmony knows Melody’s here, then it’s all over and we’re all dead. This is our only choice.”
Melody pushed back the warm rose-covered blankets and stepped onto the cool stone cave floor. She walked out of the smaller cavern and toward the voices.
She stopped walking when she saw Joel and Rhuest talking. “How long did it take me to come back?”
Joel and Rhuest looked at her. Rhuest shook his head quickly.
Joel ignored the wolf and answered. “It took you one hundred and ten years to come back.”
“How old am I really?”
Joel continued to ignore Rhuest. “One hundred and seventeen.”
Melody nodded slowly. “How old are you?”
“One hundred and twenty.”
“And you?” she asked Rhuest.
“Three hundred years old.”
Melody looked down, and then back up at Joel. “How old to people usually live to be here?”
Joel shrugged. “Paradisicans have very long life spans.”
“How long?” Melody asked, her voice shaking.
“Thousands of years, milady.”
Melody sagged against the glittering cavern wall.
Rhuest rushed up beside her and helped prop her up. “Joel, it’s too soon for her to know all of this. She just came back yesterday!”
Joel walked forward. “She finally comes back home and she doesn’t even know her own age? Rhuest, she at least needs to know that much.”
“It’s too soon!” he growled.
“Rhuest, what all are you keeping from me?” Melody asked.
Rhuest shot a pointed glare at Joel. “Things you don’t need to know yet, Melody.”
Melody stood up and looked at Rhuest. “Rhuest, tell me everything I need to know about myself and Paradisica and my sister. Now.”
Rhuest bowed, his body stretched out against the ground and muzzle at her feet. “Yes, Queen Melody. But perhaps in a more comfortable area.”
Melody nodded and followed Rhuest down the glimmering stone corridor.
Joel fell into step beside her. “Do you remember anything at all, Melody?”
She shook her head. “I don’t remember anything except what my uncle told me.”
“And what did he tell you?”
“He told me what Paradisica looked like, who some of the people were, what the language was. But I always thought it was a fantasy land.”
Joel looked at her out of the corner of his eye. “And what do you think now?”
Melody sighed and looked down. “I know this isn’t a dream.”