Beauty Underneath

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Daphne woke to find that the earthquake in her dream was real

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Daphne woke to find that the earthquake in her dream was real. Dressing quickly in Guardian leather, she left her quarters. Faeries were running everywhere, scared out of their minds. The very stone that made the Labyrinth was shuddering as if in pain.

'Commander!' Daphne yelled through the static interfering in the Guardian mind-link. 'The Labyrinth is under attack!'

'Evacuate!' the Commander replied, her voice breaking up.

'You!' Daphne called two elves closer. 'Do you know what's happening?'

'Digmoles, Guardian.'

'They're digging their way through the living stone.'

'Soon the entire Labyrinth will collapse.'

She couldn't, wouldn't, believe that her home would be destroyed so easily.

A young Guardian rushed by fearfully.

'Henri!' she yelled when she recognised him.

He quickly came closer, his eyes darting everywhere.

'You three have to evacuate the Onyx Labyrinth.'

They nodded and left. She knew that they were grateful to have orders to follow. In a crisis it was always easier to follow than to lead; she hoped that Henri was ready for the challenge. She quickly made her way to princess Calliope's chambers, knowing that protocol would keep her there.

'Guardian!' the elf that had helped her so many times squeaked as she joined her.

'I'm glad to see you,' Daphne greeted. 'I need to get to the princess as quick as possible.'

'I'll try,' the elf said as she touched the wall blocking their way.

Shudders went through it and a narrow corridor appeared.

'That's the best I can do,' the elf said, 'any more pressure and it may collapse.'

They swiftly made their way through the surprisingly dank and sparkling tunnel.

Daphne had no idea where she was. The walls kept shuddering. Fine dust started to fill the air. She pulled up her mask, leaving only her eyes uncovered. The dust didn't seem to bother the elf as she led the way from one corridor to the next.

Muffled screams brought both of them to a stop.

'Someone's trapped inside the wall,' the elf said, pulling her hand away from the onyx stone in revulsion.

'Can you get them out?'

'Possibly. But it will take time.'

Daphne understood what the elf wasn't saying: saving the unknown trapped Fae might cost the princess time. Perhaps even her life.

'Do it.'

She knew the princess well enough to know that she wouldn't approve of them leaving anyone in danger to save her.

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