"We can't let them, Keishara!" Orist shouted. "If they leave-"
"They're probably already gone," I sighed, looking at the letter sadly. I looked to him. "Perhaps you could appeal to the goddesses for them."
"They wouldn't listen to me when I appealed for our daughter. What makes you think they will now?"
I held up the letter. "Because they are going to sacrifice themselves for the safety of both of our races," I said.
He looked up at the altar in our bedchambers. "I suppose I can try."
We stood at the border of the colony and the human realm. I looked back sadly. All the elves were assembled and watching us.
"Are you sure you want to come with me?" I whispered.
Elwin took my hand. "Yes."
I took a deep breath. "Good bye," I said to the elves and we walked forward.
I felt a strange sensation sweep through me. I frowned at the forest and looked around.
"Elwin, where are we?" I asked.
"I don't know," he said slowly. He turned. "I feel like something is behind us, though."
"Maybe it's a predator," I said.
"If that's so, we need to leave. We-We need to get to your father."
I swallowed thickly but nodded. We continued forward. It was night and the moon was blocked by clouds. It made of safer travel. I hoped Theodore wasn't on the prowl for the elven realm yet. He'd never find it, though. Now that Elwin left without permission, even he won't be able to find it.
We came to the edge of the village and I had to resist the urge to run towards our cottage. I could see smoke through the chimney. Someone was in there. Elwin held up his hand and walked forward on his silent feet.
He glanced through the back window and nodded, beckoning for me to lead the way in. I went around the side that didn't face the village. I knocked three times on the door.
"Who is it?" I heard my papa's frightened voice say.
"It's me, Papa," I whispered.
"C-Camila?" he breathed. The door was thrown open and he pulled me inside. Elwin slipped in before he closed it. "Oh Camila!" he cried. He wrapped in a tight hug. "I was so worried about you!"
"I'm sorry, Papa," I whispered, crying and hugging him. "But I'm back now."
He frowned at me. "But why? Why are you back? You should have stayed away!" His eyes landed on Elwin and he took a step back. "Are you here to kill me?"
"No," he said quickly. "My name is Elwin Morro." He looked to me and I nodded. "I am Camila's husband."
My papa's jaw dropped. "Wait. What?"
"Sit down," I said. "I'll make some tea while Elwin explains."
"And we came back," Elwin finished an hour later.
My papa sighed. "Oh, I'm so happy to see you, Camila, and it's wonderful to meet my son-in-law, but it's dangerous here. Theodore... he's furious."
"I know," I said in a small voice.
"What's a son-in-law?" Elwin asked with a frown.
"It's what you are to my papa," I answered. "I'm his daughter and you are my husband. If Water Drop were still alive, I would be her daughter-in-law."
"I understand now," he said.
The sun was rising.
"What are you going to do?" my father asked.
"Give myself to Theodore," I sighed.
Elwin broke the cup he was holding, glaring at the table top. I shook my head and swept up the broken shards.
"It's not forever, El," I reminded him.
"I know," he mumbled. "I still hate it, though. He'll-"
I showed him the ring Elder Winterblade gave me. "I have a feeling this will keep me safe," I said. I smiled and kissed him. "Besides, I have you and Papa." I turned to my papa. "While I'm with Theodore, Elwin will explain what to do once you find out where Theodore is keeping me."
"How will we know?" my father asked with a frown. "I know for a fact he won't tell anyone."
I pointed to the mark of the goddesses on my hand. "Elwin and I can communicate through these," I explained. "If he keeps me in his house, I'll touch it once. If he keeps me in a prison, I'll touch it twice."
My papa sighed. "I don't-"
Someone pounded on our door and I jumped. I stared at it in fear.
"Elwin," I whispered. "Hide."
He went to my papa's room but ran back. He kissed me deeply and I held him as tight as I could, crying.
"Stay safe," he breathed. "Please stay safe."
"I will," I promised.
I wiped my tears away and nodded once to my papa.
"It's time to go to the woods, Gerald," Theodore said darkly.
My papa opened the door. "There's no point."
He stepped to the side so Theodore could see me. Theodore's eyes widened.
"Camila?" he breathed. "You're safe!"
He pulled me into a tight hug and I rolled my eyes.
"You're not fooling anyone," I snapped.
He glared at me and grabbed my wrist. "You're a foolish girl." He turned to my papa. "We'll be in touch, Gerald," he snapped.
He dragged me out of my house and I smiled reassuringly at my papa.
"Wait." Theodore stopped in the road and rounded on me. "How do I know it's really you?"
"Ask me a question only the real me would know, obviously," I spat.
"When was our first kiss?" he demanded.
"The first day we went on our walk," I answered and he smiled in satisfaction.
"It's so good to see you, my dear wife," he said, pulling me toward his house. "We have a lot to talk about."
I paced their home nervously, waiting to hear from Camila. Her father, Gerald, was watching me with a curious expression on his face.
"How long have you and my daughter been married?" he asked.
I stared at him. "Is now really the time to ask that?"
He shrugged. "We have nothing else to do until she contacts us."
I sighed. "We've been married for two weeks."
"Have you consummated your marriage?" he asked and I turned pink. He glared. "You better had been gentle with her. Someone left a message-"
"It was me," I interrupted, pacing again. "I sent both messages."
"Why didn't you tell me who you were in the letters?" he asked.
"If I had, it would've made it easier to find me," I answered. "When I sent the first one, I knew this... Theodore was a dangerous man. For him to hurt her on their first day of meeting...."
Gerald sighed. "I tried to talk her out of it."
I sat down. "You did?" He nodded. "And she still was going to go through with it?"
"Why? I don't understand! He hurt her then he defiled her!"
"Look around you, Elwin," he sighed. "We're poor. Theodore Jensen is from a rich family. He- Elwin, what's wrong?"
I fell to the floor, gripping my stomach and crying.
"He's hurting her," I cried.
"How do you know?" he asked, kneeling beside me and I threw up.
"She's my mate," I breathed, wiping my mouth. "If she feels an intense emotion like pain, I can feel it, too. Gerald, I think he's defiling - raping her again."
He put his head in his hands and yelled. "What are we going to do?" he sobbed.
I gasped. My arm went warm once. "He's keeping her in the house," I panted.