“Why did the Emperor hunt so fervently after that wolf?” Lady Electron asked.

“He’d heard a story from an old Gypsy storyteller in the market place, about a wolf that had captured the goddess Luna’s heart as it floated across the snow. She took it as her companion and laid a kiss upon his fur. They had a child that was perfect as the moons that falls in beams across the snow and as beautiful as the goddess but a wolf completely. When the Goddess’s wolf died she cast healing spell on her daughter’s blood so that she would never die. As a result the blood of the Luna wolf could heal any sickness or break any curse. And whoever eats her heart shall have eternal life and possess the heart of the goddess Luna. Naturally this got the Emperors attention and he held many searches to find the wolf but all have failed.”

Lady Electron nodded silently.

“Did he ever find out the wolf you brought him was fake?” She asked.

“The next day he was furious and I’m sure he’d found out but instead of sending his guards to kill me he sent them to kill the storyteller. But that has not ended his desire to test ever white wolf in Russia for magical powers.”

“Do you believe in magic Hunter?” Lady Electron asked.

“I think it’s a very foolish infestation of the mind.”

She raised her eyebrows at me.

“Then why do you humor him?”

“Because, opposing him would be fatal, and I am a hunter it is my life, I hunt whether it be to sustain myself or for some deranged notion of a magical wolf, or to find your dangerous lover.”

She opened her mouth to argue but I cut her off.

“While still on the subject of magic, I don’t believe in your cursed sleep, I think the only curse you’ve encountered is Dmitry, you don’t have to tell me of your past but just don’t expect me to believe you don’t have one.”  I said.

“Well that is a lot to assume.” Electron said pointedly.

“Why do you hide it?”

“This does not concern you.” She said sharply.

“If something interest me enough I can track where it has been, even through time.” I warned.

“Hunter, do not think that you may talk to me like this. Remember your place!” She ordered.

Her horse made a frantic noise and tried to bolt out from under her, she struggled with him until he came subsided into a nervous halt trotting in place.

I circled my horse back to her.

“Lady Electron we are in the middle of a barren desert of snow, miles from the nearest civilization, we have no places save that what we hold in the snow. You cannot convince me to trust what I know to be lies and that is all you’ve been telling since your arrival to the palace.”

Electron fixed me with a hard stare.

“Hunter.” She said I could taste the disgust in her words. “I have never once lied to you, so believe me when I say; things will not end well if Emperor Saber finds Dmitry first.”

I watched her closely, now she was the one who wore the mask, a cold porcelain face of clam.

“Why? What will happen?” I asked.

“Hunter, tell me, how shall I repay your services with gold or with answers?” She asked steering her horse into a trot.

“Answers, I care not for gold.” I replied. She looked at me over her shoulder visibly confused.

“I think Emperor Saber would disagree with that statement.” She said quickly covering her confusion with a coy smile.  

“Emperor Saber knows nothing of me.” I countered.

“Then I’ll pay you when Dmitry is in my arms.” She said.

I pushed my horse into a gallop, pushing through the tense silence that followed her words and racing across the snow with no direction to guide us.

However, it wasn't long until a dark shadow came into view, a dark stain across the snowy landscape in the distance it was either a village or a forest. If the latter it would be no use to us, so I hoped for a village though I despised small crowded places.  

As we drew closer to the unknown destination I could make out the dim yellow glint of lanterns, welcoming beacons of the unknown village. That was shirking from the cold in a basin surrounded by small inclines composed by wafting snow. But it was unprotected from the midnight wilderness; the only shelter provided to the villagers came from the small, rugged brick cottages of the village itself.

The End

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