Chapter 40 - The Cellar

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I apologize in advance for some of the weird italics. For some reason, Wattpad is glitching and it is taking me forever to un italicize parts. So i've done what I can, but some are in italics when they shouldn't be. Sorry!!!

Kastali Dun

Claire's awareness faded in and out for hours on end, sending her into an abyss of unescapable imaginings. The dreams that accompanied this wakeful state were bizarre, as dreams often are when one is subjected to endless drifting. Some were distant memories, blurred by time, while others were near and crisp, like the crunching of dry leaves. 

At first, she dreamt of normal things like helping her mom feed the chickens, going to the state fair with her grandpa, and and throwing the baseball back and forth with her dad. Then her dreams took a turn.

She found herself in a familiar place, surrounded by lush green foliage, glowing golden lights, and blue mists. Her bare feet delighted in the softness of the mossy ground beneath her toes. This place was joyous. It was home. The last time she was here, she was deprived of its magic. Now she would stay.

She made her way through the blue mists of the forest, inhaling deeply, taking in every smell, every sound. The scent of moist, damp earth mixed with the fragrant flowers of honeysuckle and hibiscus tantalized her senses, but it was the smell of the wood she loved the most. She was inclined to touch one of the trees nearest her. She felt the energy of the great oak, its living essence thriving within.

She wanted to stay here forever.

"This is your home now," a musical voice said from behind her.

She turned and her eyes widened. "Queen Jade."

"We have been waiting for you, Claire..." The Sprite queen held her arms wide.

" have?"

"Of course. You bear the mark of our people—the mark of the Sprites. You are one of us."

"Then, I can stay?"

"You will stay. Forever. This is your home. Your place is here."

The thought left her warm all over. She wanted to live within the roots of the trees, to dwell among the unicorns and flowers. For a few moments, her mind drifted through peaceful thoughts. Then another thought occurred to her, a thought that filled with apprehension. "I cannot stay," she said. "I must return. My—my place is in Kastali Dun." She could not leave her friends behind. She glanced around the forest. Speaking of her friends...How had she gotten here?

"Well, that's too bad. I am afraid I cannot let you leave, my dear." Queen Jade's voice changed. It grew harsh and hostile. The Sprite Queen's face changed too, melting away and turning ugly. The morphing took mere seconds.

"You see? You can never leave. You will be mine forever, my dear." Kane stood before her now, red eyes glowing an awful shade of blood. His evil hiss sent fear shooting through her body, like needles in her bloodstream. How was he here? Like this? In her dreams?

"Ah, that is a wonderful question. You see, I managed to collect some of your...essence. You so wisely left behind your blood that night the Vodar injured you. My magic allows me to use it, to haunt your dreams, if I so desire. Come to me..."

"No!" she cried. "I will never be yours." She turned to run, but vice-like fingers closed around her forearm, restricting her progress. She battled, screaming and pulling against the sorcerer.

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