I blinked against the sharp sunlight, my eyes watering a little. I breathed in and out deeply, wanting to appreciate the smells of nature for as long as I could. I followed her and saw various vegetables growing on the grounds. She led me along a stone path to a small circular veranda. I looked around, it was surrounded by a stone path and after that flowers of every kind and colour stretched before me. An amazing sight that made me sit on the bench and lean over the veranda railing.
“So you like it outside?” Zara asked, sitting next to me. I nodded and faced her.
“The outer lands aren't anywhere near as manicured as this place. But the rare natural fields and forest are enough in my opinion,” I said, starring at the distance. Searching for any signs of long grass.
“Is it true that things are difficult there?” she asked.
“Yeah, it is,” I said with a small laugh. “But life's isn't easy, no matter where you live.” She considered my words with pouted lips, starring at the floor, waving her feet back and forth on the seat.
“Do you really hate the vampires?” she asked, her voice quieter. I sighed, she was relatively safe for now, and to inspire any kind of rebellion now could be a bad move. For her sake I chose not to answer.
“Know any fields around this place?” I asked, she rolled her eyes at my bad attempt at subject change but accepted it.
“There's one, about two miles walk near the river. If you follower the river on the grounds it'll lead you right there. But I think you'd have to ask permission before going there, why?” she asked.
“Was just wondering,” I said. I stood up and left the veranda, noting that the sky was growing darker by the second
“We should probably head inside, before one of us gets in trouble,” I said to Zara. I turned to face her and paused, spotting a figure walking towards us fast. He got closer and I recognised it as Cain. Was my time up?
“I''d ask what you're doing out here, but since you didn't run off I guess I can't be annoyed,” he said, his voice clipped. It was a tone he used when he knew he was meant to be angry, but couldn't quite work up any actual annoyance.
“The garden's nice,” I replied with a shrug. He shook his head at my response and we followed him back inside. Zara stared at his back the whole way, maybe she'd heard of Cain but never seen him?
Once inside he told Zara to go back to her bedroom. She obeyed silently with fast footfalls, glancing over her shoulder every so often.
“That kid has a lot of curiosity,” I commented when she was out of earshot. Cain glanced at me, considering what he was going to say to me.
“I didn't run. But I couldn't stay behind walls forever,” I explained.
“I understand that point, but if someone other than me had spotted you two … Not everyone distinguishes between adults and children,” he said, his point clear. I glanced at the stairs that Zara had been climbing, feeling guilty. I'd put her life at risk. But I wouldn't again. Tomorrow I'd leave this place.
“Follow me,” Cain said, not explaining where. But I quickly realised this was a wing of the castle I hadn't seen. I felt the sick feeling in my stomach, the same one from this morning. How did I avoid this one?