Mara had grown still, and was looking silently at them. Mara closed her eyes for a
moment, and spoke in a quiet voice.
"Joshua." She said.
"Do not go down there Mara." Joshua's voice was quiet, but firm.
"You are not to have any contact with them. Do not speak to them, do not touch them, do
not be been seen by them."
"Excuse me?" Mara's voice was low and animalistic again. She tried tugging her hand
away from his. "Just who do you think you are, dragging me out here and then telling me
to have nothing to do with them?"
Joshua let her tug in vain. Mara kept trying to pull away, but she was determined not to
panic, or scream, and most definitely determined not to cry. Joshua's hand tightened
reflexively, and the strength of the grip was surprising, sending small bursts of fire shooting
up Mara's nerves. Mara gasped involuntarily at the pain, then spoke in a louder, firmer
"Let go of me Joshua."
"Do not misunderstand me, Joshua, this is not a request, it's a command. Let go of me
"You don't have the privilege of deciding that." Mara started to sharply pull her hand away
with all her strength, mentally pleading that Kaze would help her break this insane grip.
She could feel her hand move ever so slightly, and redoubled her efforts. Kaze seemed to
understand the situation, and started slipping in between their fingers, loosening the grip
even more. Then Mara said "Now." and finally broke free, turning to face Joshua
completely. Strangely, Joshua's face remained passive, and seemed to be unchanged
emotionally. Mara took a deep breath and asserted herself again in a dry, sardonic tone.
"Allow me to make it perfectly clear, sir, since you do not seem to have understood the
message before. You will not, now or in the future, touch me without my explicit consent,
for any reason whatsoever. If I do allow you to touch me, you will release me when I say so,
and not 'whenever you feel like it'."