The Dark Muse

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Once they entered the Onyx Labyrinth, Ruhan nodded to her and went his own way. Daphne didn't mind. The time spent with him hunting the Caìt Sìth and losing Kaye to death, wasn't one of her greatest memories.

They'd already told their commander all she needed to know via the mind-link once they were close enough to do so. Now Daphne only needed to unpack and get her mind clear of all the bad stuff from her time in the Labyrinth proper. Especially if she were going to keep her thoughts away from her fellow Guardians – especially the ones that could get her killed.

The Onyx Labyrinth didn't allow her to go directly to her room. It made her do a detour through the gardens. Not that she really minded the fickle, living stone's game. She could keep from broadcasting her thoughts and get them in order while walking.

Brandon's blond hair sparkled in the artificial sun. Daphne's breath hitched in her throat; it almost hurt. She almost called out to him before remembering that he was the Duke and she was only a Guardian. Besides, a redheaded beauty with flawless milky white skin was at his side. She wore an ice-blue chiffon dress that barely touched the ground before floating behind her.

Jealousy made Daphne ground her teeth. The way Brandon was looking at the woman... She swallowed. Perhaps this was the princess, his betrothed. Daphne hadn't seen her the night of the engagement party. Though she had been with Brandon in this very garden that night... She supressed the memory of their kiss; the memory that had kept her alive after a Caìt Sìth had attacked her.

Brandon's carefree laughter made Daphne's head snap up. He sounded a bit insane. The woman's tinkling laughter joined his.

The laughing couple left the garden.

'Something's very wrong,' an Elf whimpered next to Daphne.

She turned and saw the servant's terrified eyes.

'What do you mean?' she demanded.

'Leannan Sìth shouldn't have power over other Fae,' the Elf said, her phosphorous green eyes big with fear.

'Leannan Sìth?'

'When I worked in the borough of the Unseelie, I saw many of her kind. She usually only uses her powers on artists – and always only humans. Her powers shouldn't be working on another Faery.' The Elf's pointy ears quivered.

'Do you know more about her?'

'No. Only that she introduced herself as Leanne before enthralling the Duke.'

'Did you tell anyone else?'


'Come with me. My commander should hear this from you.'

Daphne wasn't tired anymore. Her home was in danger – anyone who could exert influence over the Duke was a threat. And she knew that her commander needed to hear this from someone besides her – knowing her secret could make her commander think that this was jealousy talking.

'Commander?' Daphne asked as they entered the office.

They'd gotten there a lot faster with the Elf being able to manipulate the stone of the Onyx Labyrinth.

'Come in, Daphne.'

They entered the office properly, careful not to disturb the stacks of papers and books standing everywhere. On the wood table gleaming softly in the dim light, a sheathed katana winked at Daphne. Her fingers itched to touch the ancient Japanese sword.

'You said this was urgent?' her commander said as she materialised from the darkness of the room. Her eyes and hair still had darkness clinging to it.

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