UnexpectedAs soon as I saw who it was I felt my face become redder then red. Lance kneeled beside me and touched my head. Immediately I felt the pain subside. I looked at him wonderingly, “Lance? I thought Elisha said you left.”
Lance laughed, “How long did you expect me to be away? I had to come and say welcome back.”
I laughed too, “How ridiculous did I look this time?”
“Hmmm… your gown flying, hair disheveled, eyes wide with fright, it was funnier than last time. I had to stop laughing before I came out from the shadows.”
“But I could have died.” I stated.
Lance shook his head, “You aren’t due to die until much later.”
I squinted into Lance’s face, “Oh so you know when I am supposed to die.”
Lance nodded, “Yes, it’s sometime after you rule the world with some lucky fellow. Who knows, it could be thousands of years later.”
Immediately I thought of Hurricane, “Rule the world?”
“Yes, and I thought that time had come when you ran off with your handsome Hurricane.”
I glared at him maliciously, “You heard my conversation with Elisha?”
Lance took my face gently in his hands, “Do not be mad. I was only curious about what you thought of the whole adventure.” He whispered. Then he dropped his hands suddenly and stood up awkwardly, “Anyways, Elisha was so mad he told me to knock some sense into you. I told him that you were so naive that you fell for Hurricane’s hypnotizing charms the first time without questioning his motives.”
I turned tomato red and fiddled with a piece of my dress. I was ashamed. I should have known that Hurricane did not have pure motives. Lance was silent for a while and then suddenly burst out, “Oh! I only meant that he’d heard the prophesies about you and wanted to be powerful.”
I just rolled my eyes and made my way over to where Tashina stood waiting, “He’s already powerful.” I muttered, than I added louder, “It is getting dark, we should get going.”
Lance was at my side lifting me into my saddle before I could blink. As he lifted me he spoke quietly into my ear. His breath caressed my cheek, “It is good to have you out of harm’s way, Willow.” I could feel his voice vibrating through his firm chest. It felt funny.
We rode back home without saying much. Tashina was bugging me about the way Lance held me so close when he lifted me. Lance heard us and laughed nervously while he actually flushed slightly. That was the first time I had seen Lance embarrassed and it made me laugh. I asked if Lance had heard Bavol’s story about his father. Lance read my mind immediately, “You think that I might have been that man in forest, do you not?”
I nodded innocently.
Lance laughed, “Willow, there are many people besides me that have red hair.”
“But the lion!”
Lance paused, “There was a lion?” His eyes narrowed, “Bavol told me it was a bear.” Suddenly he sighed and shook his head, “That boy is always afraid of insulting me. I should’ve known there was more reason than just my red hair for why he suspected me to be that man. Never mind that, Bavol will be embarrassed if I ask him about it.”
Life went on as normal at the castle although I talked more often with Lance. He teased me about Hurricane relentlessly but he also warned me to be very careful, Hurricane was sure to come back for me. I found myself feeling anxious for that day when he would. Whenever the sky darkened I felt a thrill of excitement and nervousness run through me. But it never was Hurricane. Elisha continued with his flirtations and I found myself somewhat annoyed with him. I often compared him to Hurricane, not a fair comparison.
Then the day arrived when he came back for me. It was a sunny day and I had my window open to my bedroom. I was painting a portrait of the Princess (it looked hideous) when suddenly there was a rush of wind that chilled me to the bone. I shivered and glanced casually at the window. Then I saw him standing there like an angel descended from heaven. “Oh!” I gasped as I spilt my paint on my dress.
Steph stared at Hurricane in horror. I didn’t know how she could; Hurricane was too beautiful for that. Steph stood slowly, “I guess I shall leave.” She rushed from the room like a scared child.
Hurricane merely glanced at her and then turned back to me, “I hear you have been anxious for my coming.” His voice was better then I remembered it. It was crystal clear ringing shrilly yet deeply through the room. It soaked through me and into my heart.
I tried to hide the painting while looking casual and pretending my heart wasn’t failing me, “Where did you hear that?”
Hurricane moved near me, “I know your feelings Willow. You want to accept my offer.”
I rolled up the still wet painting and threw it in the trash, “You are misled.”
Hurricane wrapped his arms around my waist. I froze. Then he whispered, his teeth grazing my ear, “Say yes, love.”
I pried Hurricane’s hand away and moved to the door, “Do not touch me and do not tempt me into saying yes.”
“Why should I have to tempt you if you know it is what you want?”
I turned the door knob but Hurricane’s hand was over mine in a flash, removing it gently, “Come away with me. Never look back… all your fears and responsibilities will be lost behind you.”
The words sounded so good. It took all my strength to keep from saying yes. Hurricane took my hand and led me to the window. He hummed softly making my mind spin. I tried to resist the voice but he led me like a herder leads his mindless sheep.
Just as I stepped on the window sill Lance burst into the room moving like an impossible flash across the floor. He had his arms around me in moments, ripping my hand from Hurricane’s. He threw me behind himself and turned, sword pointed at Hurricane’s throat. I hit the hard floor with a sickening smack! I gasped in terror as I saw Lance moving for his kill, “Oh no! Do not!”
But Hurricane was not silenced by the blade. He did a spiral, somehow twirling around Lance and landing firmly beside me. He drew his sword and lunged at Lance. Lance twisted away and dodged the blade. It sliced the curtain. Lance’s dodge looked more like a twirl, as defined and as graceful as the dancers in the town square. They both moved in almost invisible flashes. I could feel Hurricane’s wind swirling around himself and yanking me towards him. I pulled back, hanging on my bed pole for my life. Hurricane was spinning and slashing with deadly accuracy. Lance only barely managed to dodge the blows at times. It looked like a dance, the way their feet moved together. There was a defensive move for every offensive move. They spun, twirled and lunged gracefully. Sometimes they were posed in impossible positions that accented their talent and inhumanness.
The enraged Wind Being accidentally blew Lance’s long hair out of his loose pony tail. I gasped at how beautiful his red hair was swirling with tide of the air. The sun shone through the window setting Lance’s hair on fire. Each strand looked as though it had the sun’s rays somehow trapped in it. I was mesmerized and I thought Lance to be more beautiful then Hurricane for a moment. But then Hurricane’s turquoise eyes found mine and I forgot that thought.
Hurricane disarmed Lance of his sword seconds later and without missing a beat, swung for him. Lance dove and rolled over my bed hitting the ground without a sound. Hurricane sliced my mattress and then growled in frustration as he realized he missed. He leapt after Lance, barely touching the double bed as he flew over. Lance moved back around the end of the bed and picked up his sword in one movement. Hurricane came at him, his eyes glinted a hideous, and death defying violet.
Lance stepped to the side and batted at Hurricane’s sword growling like a cat ready to pounce on his prey. Then I realized that the growl had not come from Lance, it came from Merlin who stood behind me. Hurricane stiffened at the sound. Lance took that moment to lunge and slash the side of Hurricane’s leg. I screamed and quickly covered my mouth. The wind stopped and the room was still. Suddenly I realized that Hurricane was no longer in the middle of the room but at the window ready to flee. He gave me one last longing look and glided away. But before he could go too far, he was caught on the arm by the jagged teeth of Merlin. It was unusual for any animal or human to have the ability to catch a Wind Being like that. I stared with my mouth open.
For the first time I could see real fear in Hurricane’s eyes, “She wants me!” He gasped trying to defend himself, “Let her choose!”
Lance took his sword and started to carve a strange symbol into Hurricanes arm. I stared in amazement as purplish blood flowed from the marks. Lance stepped back and sneered, “It is impossible to give her that decision after you have influenced her mind so much. I will let her know your real intentions and then we shall see.” He turned to me, “Maybe we can knock some of that school girl stupidity out of her.”
I felt sick to my stomach as I heard Lance’s words cut through the air with a perplexing sharpness. I was very ashamed of my feelings for Hurricane but I could not stifle them. Lance would never understand.
Lance motioned for Merlin to let Hurricane go. As soon as he did, Hurricane disappeared into the open air. I glared sulkily at the floor, “You had no right to insult me so.”
Lance made a face, “No need to pout Miss Willow. He will be back.”
I turned my glare from the floor to his face which I had to lean far back to see, “I was trying to get away from him! He would not let me! Of course you would assume that I would fly into his arms immediately without resisting his fatal powers.”
“Powers? They are just simple charms dear. And yes, I do believe that you would fly into his arm immediately.”
“And? What is it to you if I do? Why do you care if I love him or not?!”
Lance narrowed his eyes, “Because it cannot be true love! Hurricane is a Wind Being; he cannot and will not feel the full extent of it.” He stepped forward and took hold of my hand. He leaned anxiously towards me, “Do you want to be hypnotized your whole life? Do you want to love him mindlessly just because he has a beautiful voice?” His voice was soft and gentle now, “I will not let such a thing happen to you. I will not let your life be wasted away.”
I took in a shaky breath, “Oh.”
Lance released my hand and made his way to the door, “Close your window.”
I did without a second thought. I was afraid now, the way Lance described what my life could be with Hurricane. It sounded terrible. I felt a tinge of disgust towards Hurricane but not enough to put my mind at peace about my decision. I did not want to be alone so I found Steph and we continued our painting session as though nothing had happened. That’s what I liked about Steph she never seemed to judge and she didn’t let problems hinder us from having fun.
Sabir had been out during the day, he had wanted to take a run and I had let him. When he found out that he had missed a fight then he became very angry and swore he was not going to leave me for a second. I tried to reason with him but he refused stubbornly.