(This chapter takes place after the events of Faerie Bound chapter "Betrothal")
Shadow creeping had always been a strength of mine, even when I was young. I'd practically spent my life hiding in dark places, practicing the art of becoming invisible until I had it down to a fine art.
It was one of the more useful hereditary traits I'd inherited from my ancestors.
It had taken me several hours to get to the castle, and I approached cautiously, keeping close to the ever-lengthening evening shadows. I'd wait until nightfall, when the darkness would be almost complete before I looked for Ben. Until then, I'd have to bide my time and wait.
And pray that no-one spotted me.
I found a dark patch in a small copse near the castle, close enough for me to be able to see things, but far away enough to keep me from being temped to get any closer.
Or, that was the idea anyway.
I settled myself down in the shadow of a tall tree, making sure I left no tracks in the leaflitter. I yawned, stifling it with my hand as best I could. I hadn't had a decent night's sleep in days, not since the wayfarers cottage, and was now utterly shattered. I was just drifting off when I heard the voices.
Oh damn. Oh damn oh damn oh damn. It's them. Mike, Morgan and Gloria. They're nearby.
I flattened myself into the darkest part of the shadows, letting my power cloak me. Totally invisible as I was, I still felt nervous.
I could see them in the clearing beside me, scarcely 200 meters away. They were talking, but I couldn't hear the words. I think Mike must have been giving Morgan lessons in elemental control.
Morgan. My heart wrenched at the sight of her. She looked no less beautiful than the last time I'd seen her. I watched her dance with the sword and the air, her graceful body moving in perfect unison with the element. Her lean muscles carried her effortlessly over the ground and the sword (which looked remarkably similar to my own, albeit smaller) moved as thought it were part of her in her slender-fingered hand. Mike said something praising, and I caught the words "second time" used in his sentence. She must have practiced this before. No wonder, her skill was incredible. I was enchanted by her, and scarcely noticed that I had let the cloaking spell drop.
Until I skidded in a patch of forest mud and nearly came crashing to the ground, seizing a branch to keep myself from falling. It snapped loudly, and all three heads turned in my direction.
Morgan's eyes locked on mine for a split second, my storm grey to her aquamarine blue. I saw something blaze in her eyes for a moment, something almost like recognition.
Then I rapidly cloaked myself again and took off back into the trees at full speed, not slowing for an instant, leaping and dodging any obstacle that got in my way, leaving the glade behind in seconds.
That had been close.
Far too close.
I'd have to find somewhere else to hide until nightfall. And pray that no-one realised that I was actually here.
Otherwise, I'd never get out of here.