Mischief and Misdirection

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Daphne stealthily walked down a corridor, hugging the wall. She was certain that her quarry was somewhere in this deserted section. Breathing softly, she turned the corner.

A rabbit sat alone in the cavern, happily chewing giant cloves.

The Guardian glared at the dark brown rabbit, willing it to turn into the baboon she'd been chasing. But of course that didn't happen.

'Want some?' the rabbit asked, offering a bunch of cloves.

'No, thank you. Have you seen any baboons?'

'Not recently,' the rabbit replied before returning to its meal.

Daphne ground her teeth as she searched the cavern; finding no sign that a baboon had ever been there causing her foul mood to darken. Shadows danced and she stealthily moved closer.

Brandon stood in the garden they always met up in. He wore a bittersweet smile as she approached. The spicy scent of fire-lilies in full bloom nearly intoxicated her after the dusty corridors with hints of clover she'd left behind.

'I didn't think you'd come.'

Daphne watched him through narrowed eyes. Something was different about him, but she couldn't fight the pull to be near him. The simulated late afternoon sun made his hair shine golden. She could hear the sounds of a party somewhere outside of sight.

'Though,' he laughed bitterly, 'it wasn't like I could invite you.'

Confusion washed over her.

'I hear you got married? How's life treating you in the Verdure Court?'

She ignored his strange words. 'I don't understand. What are we doing here?'

'I had to see you again. You still wear your hair coiled at the nape of your neck,' he shook his head as he smiled fondly. 'Though I wish nothing but the best for you, I had to see you and know that you felt the same way.'

'I wish things could be as they were when we were young and innocent,' Daphne said wistfully as she watched a fire-lily bloom bravely against an onyx wall. Keeping her hair out of the way during fights also left her without a hiding place.

'For me, it isn't over,' Brandon said, grasping her hands. She felt a jolt go through her body.

'It has to be,' she answered softly, remembering clearly the day they said goodbye after the Dragon's Curse was broken. The Court, honour, and duty had to come before their own personal happiness. She pulled her hands out of his.

'I hoped that when you saw me things could be different.'

'We have so many memories and regrets. This would be a mistake,' she said trying not to show any of the nameless emotions swirling through her.

'I'm sorry. I'd hoped with the years that had passed...' he shrugged. 'I guess now that I'm turning thirty I'm losing my mind a little.'

Daphne looked up sharply. He'd only just turned twenty. This... She clenched her jaw. Walking through gaps in the veil separating time was a rare, yet well-known happenstance, in the Labyrinth.

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