CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: Hello Goodbye

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: Hello Goodbye

Eáchan didn’t wait long to confront her.

After the meeting, Story went back to her rooms, accompanied by Adair, to finish the breakfast she’d abandoned in her haste that morning. She’d also promised to go swimming with Adair afterwards, and she was looking forward to it—if anything would help her sort out her feelings about Eirnin and calm her fears about facing Morrigann again, that would.

“Ailesit.” Eavon entered the room. “The Hunter is here to see you.” Eáchan swept around the handmaiden, flanked by another elf bearing the same ailach as the clan leader. He was dressed in a similar fashion to Eirnin and Eáchan and also kept his muddy brown hair cropped short.

I wonder if that’s a hunter clan thing?

“Leave us.” Eáchan didn’t even spare a glance at Eavon as she dismissed her from the room. She completely ignored Adair and fixed her icy gaze on Story. “I need to talk to you. Now.”

Story cocked an eyebrow and finished filling her plate with assorted fruits, rolls, and cheeses. “I don’t know how you were raised, but my daddy always taught me that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Eáchan’s brows furrowed together momentarily, and the elf at her side mouthed the word ‘flies’ with a questioning look on his face.

“Oh, right, no bugs here.” Story indicated the spread of food before her. “Hungry?”

“No, I am not.” The clan leader folded her arms across her chest and glared, not bothering to the hide the flickers of red annoyance in her eyes. “I need to talk to you. Please.”

Story could tell it took a lot out of her to say that last word, so with a flick of her head she indicated the doors leading to the balcony outside. Eáchan turned to the other elf and handed him her iron-tipped bow and quiver. “Eisrus, wait here.”

Story didn’t know if she should take that as a good or bad sign. On the one hand, with no weapons, Eáchan couldn’t fly into a murderous rage and kill her, but on the other, why had she felt the need to doff them? Perhaps it was some sort of strange protocol she didn’t know about? Just to be on the safe side, she pulled her knife out of its scabbard and passed it over to Adair, who took it from her solemnly. “Wait here please, sweetie. This won’t take long.”

Both elves were staring at the knife, and only when Story cleared her throat and walked outside did Eáchan break her gaze and follow.

Story sat down at the table for two and dug into her food. She never thought well on an empty stomach, and this wasn’t going to be good, she could tell. She only hoped it didn’t get too loud.

Eáchan stood facing the water, hands clasped at her back, completely formal in her bearing. Story kept eating, waiting for her to say something, as she’d been the one who’d barged into her room demanding they talk right this instant. Story wasn’t about to make it any easier on her.

“Have you and Eirnin bonded?”

Story’s hand froze halfway to her mouth, her cheese topped cracker forgotten. This was not the conversation she thought they would be having. “Excuse me?”

“Have you and Eirnin bonded?” Eáchan turned to look at her fully. “Don’t lie to me. I must know.”

“What? No! That’s crazy to even think that—we’ve only known each other a few weeks.”

Relief flickered across Eáchan’s face and eyes. “And do you promise not to bond with him, ever?”

Story felt her hackles rise. Just because she thought it was too soon to even begin thinking about that level of commitment with Eirnin, especially as she wasn’t even sure where things were going, she certainly was not about to promise to never even give them a chance.

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