Drown, snort, suitcase
The water rushed over her head, and the clutching hands around her ankles dragged her deeper into the forest pool. She fought, but it didn’t do any good – the creatures were at home in the water, and much more powerful than she was. When her vision began to blur and her lungs began to override her determination to hold her breath for as long as possible, she was sure she was going to drown.
Then someone grabbed her hair, pulling her up while speaking words of power. The creatures below her shrieked, but let their prey go, and retreated into the depths. She was hauled out, first by hair and then her arms, and she lay on the bank, snorting and gasping. When the burn in her lungs subsided, and she saw who her rescuer was, she though perhaps it might have been better to let the little water demons take her.
“Oh, it’s you.” she said.
“What, no words of gratitude?” the man who was not a man said, an impish smile playing over his lips.
“As you’re the reason I’m out here on the run, no, I will not be thanking you for anything,” she replied, wringing water out of her hair, and getting to her knees, fully prepared to march into the forest. Her hand was on her suitcase but his voice stopped her.
“I heard you met my brother.”
She turned to face him, shock and anger vying for supremacy on her face. “And?” she demanded.
“I hoped you’d tell me how that went,” he said.
“Well, you hoped wrong,” she said.
“Did he find it?” the forest prince pressed, going so far as to grab her arm.
She pulled out of his grip. He whispered the words of power, compelling her to stay, and she stopped, just out of force of habit. She had spent so long trying to hide that his words had no effect on her that she still went through the pretense without thinking.
“I want you to tell me what happened,” he said sternly.
She turned to face him once again, and raised a brow. “How do you know he didn’t tell me not to say anything?”
“Because you would be in excruciating pain right now,” he said. She shrugged.
“He didn’t ask me to say anything,” she said.
“So what what happened?”
“Nothing happened,” she said. “He came, and asked where you were, and I told him I didn’t know, and that was that.”
He gazed at her, doubt in his eyes as to whether he though she was lying or telling the truth. “Where are you going?”
“Far away from here,” she hefted the case and held it close to her chest. “Far away from you, and your family, and this forest, and this whole mess.”
“And what do you think that will get you with what you’re carrying?” he asked, smiling slyly.
So, should I continue? 😀