I don’t know how or when I fell asleep but I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore and stiff neck. It was pitch black in the stall. The only bits of light that we got came from the candles that were in the hall, the fireflies that flew in and out of the windows of the barn, and the moon.
I stretched out my neck and managed to crack it relieving some more of the stiffness. I rubbed my neck relieved that some of the soreness was gone. Avin was still asleep on my lap, snoring quietly. Nothing really seemed to be a miss. I wonder what had woken me up. I doubted that I had just been woken up for a sore neck. I shuffled slowly out from under Avin’s head and shakily got to my feet. I stretched quickly before walking over to the stall door. I looked over the door and into the hallway. Candles were lit and going down the entire length of the hallway, some even hung from the ceiling by small metal chandeliers. Other than that the only other real form of light that he we had at night was the moon. Tonight it shone very brightly, illuminating whatever it could get at, both in the barn and outside.
Aquaphira was nowhere to be seen and neither was anyone else. I guess it wasn’t something from inside the barn that had woken me up. Was there something going on outside the barn then? It might be just the wind making weird noises as it went through the holes in the barn and played with the trees. I turned around to head back to Avin and Tray as I was still sleepy from earlier.
That’s when I heard the footsteps outside the barn. I froze in place. Those footsteps didn’t sound like anyone that I knew from the camp, I had memorized what they had sounded like ever since an incident that we had about a month. We had lost one of our building elves because he had opened the door at night to the wrong person. These steps though that were outside were too light to be anyone from the camp.
Cautiously, I vaulted over the stall door and quietly walked towards the sound. I slid the sword out of my left arm and into my hand. It felt good to have it in my hand, and I felt kind of bad because I hadn’t brought the sword out in a long time. I walked as quietly as I possibly could towards the main barn door where the footsteps seemed to have stopped but now a scratching noise had started up. As I reached the door I froze when I heard quick footsteps coming up from behind me. I whipped around towards the sound with my sword up, ready to strike if I needed to.
“Since when do you have a sword?!” a startled female voice asked in a hushed voice. I stepped back in surprise when I realized that it was Aquaphira that was behind me. Shit, the cat’s out of the bag. I sighed and dropped my sword back to my side.
“I’ve had it for a while,” I told Aquaphira in a reluctant whisper. I was trying to stay as quiet as possible so that we wouldn’t draw the attention of whoever was outside the barn.
“I knew it! You really are the Lucinda, the prince’s Lucinda!” Aquaphira murmured with wide eyes but kept bouncing around on her toes in excitement. “What happened to you? Why did you just disappear like that? We had all thought that you had died, even Zavin.”
“Look I don’t really know what happened to me, I don’t remember what had happen in the last two years. All I know is that I was stuck in this place called Earth as an infant and raised by a fairly nice woman and her son who had disappeared at some point during my stay,” I told Aquaphira in a rushed whisper. “I’m still trying to piece most of my memories back together but I do still have a lot of gaps.”
Aquaphira slowly lost the look of shock as I told her what I did know and she seemed to be more sympathetic and understanding.
“Alright,” Aquaphira told me quietly, seeming to back down, at least for the moment, about my memories. “Why keep it a secret though?”
I didn’t really think that I was keeping it a secret. I mean, I wasn’t blabbing to everyone about who I was but I wasn’t saying that I wasn’t the Lucinda that everyone had thought was dead. I didn’t know everything that was going on with the war or with me because of my memory gaps. But the one that was stopping me from really saying anything was this bad feeling I was getting every time I thought about doing it. It felt like something bad was going to happen to a lot of people if I started to talk about who I was, but I didn’t know what the bad thing was because of the memory gaps.
Another reason that I didn’t really want anyone to know that I was starting to remember things was because I felt like I should know something very important about this war. But I couldn’t for the life of me remember what was so important! I think that it may have something to do with that vision that I had a while back about a group of soldiers visiting my homeland…no…it was that one specific soldier, Maverick. He was the guy who smelled like rotting flesh. I’m pretty sure that whoever that actually was, had started the war and would probably know the reason that I was sent to Earth.
“There are people who, if they knew that I was alive, would like nothing more than to see me dead,” I told her in a dead serious tone thinking back on King Regalis for one. Aquaphira nodded silently and made the sign for zipping her lips shut. I mouthed my thanks to her when the noises stopped. Did the person leave, or was he standing right outside the door? I was hoping for the first but I had a bad feeling that it was actually the latter. I don’t really think there was a third option, unless we left the skylight open again. If that was true then whoever it was may already be inside the compound.
Aquaphira and I both jumped when there came soft knocking from the barn door that was directly behind me. He was knocking at the barn door? Could be a distraction, but then again he could just be a soldier looking for shelter for the night. We’ve had a couple of those situations happen before, but I hadn’t felt this on edge when it had happened the other couple times.
Something was a bit off about this person though. I could sense a lot of power coming from the other side of the door. Whether or not he was stronger than Aquaphira and me was still up for debate. The person knocked on the barn door again, but louder this time. Dammit, he was going to wake everyone in the barn up! I got frustrated and pulled the door open a crack, while hiding my sword behind my back, to see who was on the other side of the door.
I relaxed and let out the breath that I was holding in, but it quickly turned into a scowl when I saw none other than Mallon standing outside the barn door. I let the sword sink back into my skin before Mallon had the chance to see it. I pushed the door open the rest of the way so that Aquaphira could see who it was too. I could from the noise that she made that she wasn’t too pleased either, but Mallon was all smiles. He wasn’t even wounded, so it just made me all the angrier as to why he would be sneaking around the camp at night.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked him as I crossed my arms over my chest. I didn’t like the fact that Mallon had woke us up, in the middle of the night, just for a friendly chat. We had much more important things that needed tending to the next day that we needed to conserve energy to be able to do.
“Well, I’ve been out on the front for quite some time, so I thought that I should stop by and help out for a couple days,” Mallon replied nonchalantly. For someone who has said they were at the front he seems to be taking it very well, didn’t even look like there was a scratch on him. Mallon’s smile was starting to really creep me out it was just too happy to be real.
“Okay, but you can’t stay in here,” I told Mallon bluntly, gesturing to the healing barn that Aquaphira and I were standing in. “You’ll have to go stay in one of the other barns. Next time you might want announce yourself after you knock on the door instead of sneaking around the camp.”
I couldn’t help being snippy. Mallon had woken me up from my much needed sleep and now he was going to have to pay the consequences. Before Mallon could try to say anything else I slammed the door shut in his face. I groaned and turned around to face Aquaphira but she was already gone. Jeez, she’s really got to stop doing that. One of these days she was going to give me a heart attack with her appearing and disappearing in a matter of seconds without much notice.
I stumbled sleepily over to the stall where Avin and Tray were sleeping, and dropped to the ground between them. I fell back to sleep almost instantaneously. The black of sleep embracing me like an old friend. That is until the dreams started.