Emma's POV

Light broke out on the sky above as we ventured through the forest. There were a lot of things that were weird about this place, including the fact that I had never caught sight of an animal here. In a forest as dense as this, even the thought of no animals seemed absurd. But then again this was no ordinary forest. One of the darkest of forces that existed was about to be reborn here, I couldn't blame every living thing with a survival instinct to get as far away from this place as possible.

I almost tripped over a thick root, lost in my thoughts. I eyed the thing with disdain and moved on. Who put a root in my way!

I caught up with Lucas who had been walking a few paces ahead of me all this time we were searching for Madison. Ever since we all agreed on this rescue plan he had been remote and detached. His temper had also been fluctuating so I stayed away when I thought he wanted to be alone. His brown hair shone in the sunlight, and I couldn't help notice how his skin was just the right shade of tan, not too dark and not to pale. I sometimes felt self-conscious when around him because everything about him; his sharp jaw lines and cheek bones, his eyes and even his perfectly arched eyebrows that defined his angles even more, were perfect. On the other hand, I didn't even have any concealer on to hide the dark circles under my eyes that I was sure were there.

"So we just walk around until we stumble over your sister?" He asked, his voice sounding resigned and bored. There was a force behind it though, one he was trying very hard to conceal.

"Okay seriously Lucas, what is going on with you?" I snapped, halting behind him. He whirled around, his face blank.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean your attitude. You've been acting weird all day since we decided on this plan. Look if you don't like it you can go back, I never forced you to come. It was your choice and I'm thankful you helped me so far but if you're going to be all moody I'd rather do this alone." I said, my tone even. His eyes turned unreadable. I sighed and pushed past him. I hadn't taken more than a few steps when he called out after me.

"Emma wait!"

I stopped and turned around to see him running up to me. His eyes were troubled and with one look at my questioning glance he started.

"Look you should know that I don't like this plan, but not because I'm a coward and rather follow in behind others but because I don't think I'm good enough to help you. I can't let the enemy see the real me because the real me isn't intimidating or scary. Some people, like Miles, don't need that because they have had years of training and they don't have to scare their enemies instead they can simply take them down. I'm not that good and so that is why I have been acting all ruthless and weird but I didn't like that side of me either and I just-" He broke off, his eyes landing on mine.

"Just what?" I whispered, taken a little aback by the emotion in his hazel eyes.

"I just don't know how to protect you." He finished and my heart clenched. I moved towards him, my hand cupping one side of his face.

"Lucas it's not your job to protect me, I can take care of myself. Don't ever try to change yourself in an attempt to be better than you think you are because there isn't a better version of you I can imagine. You don't need training or weapons; you just need faith. People win wars with hope, we just need to win my sister back."

He stared at me with such intensity, I almost stumbled back. And he thought he wasn't intimidating.

"It's No."

I blinked.

"What?"

"The answer to your question, it's No. I'm not attracted to Sam more than I'm attracted to you because honestly, I'm not attracted to Sam at all. Not after knowing you exist. Forget Sam, I don't think I want anyone else in the world like I want you." His last sentence was a whisper, more breath than voice. I gulped and couldn't look away from his eyes.

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