Chapter 26

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Chapter Twenty-six

Kaine tightened the ropes he had placed around Hazel's wrists and ankles. It was becoming increasingly difficult to bind her with magic so he had to use the mundane way of restraining her.

"Please, m'lord, I have to take care of some private needs," said Hazel.

Kaine rolled his eyes. How many bathroom breaks can one person need in a day? He grunted and considered making her wait, but then remembered how badly that ended the last time he ignored her. She made a big mess in the cave and even though he made her clean it, there were no supplies to do it well. He had to sleep outside of the cave for several days before the stench cleared.

Wearily, Kaine untied her and then knelt to the ground to clear some runes from the dirt, breaking that section of the ward. The next thing he knew, he was lying flat on the ground with a welt growing on the back of his head and Hazel was running out of the cave, screaming for help.

Rubbing his head, Kaine stood up and tried to use his enchantment spell to bring her back, but she had already run out of range. He had to chase her by foot instead.

They were too far from Caer Llanwyn for anyone to hear Hazel's cries, but Kaine knew if she made it back there or if anyone found her in the forest she would lead them right back to him. He ran as quickly as he could. Luckily, she was weakened from donating her blood to his spells, and he was able to gain on her without much effort. He had nearly caught up to her when she turned back to look at him, terror in her eyes, and then suddenly disappeared.

When Kaine reached the spot where he had last seen her, he tripped over a large root and nearly fell into a ravine. Looking down to the creek below he could see that Hazel had not been so lucky. She lay unmoving at the bottom, half out of the water. He climbed down carefully, not sure if it was another trick. When he reached her, he could see that she was dead.

At first Kaine could only stand there frozen, his mind blank. Then his heart started racing and he got dizzy. This was bad: very, very bad.

The girl's death was not his fault; it was hers. If the foolish thing had not tried to run away, she would still be alive. Of course, the Mages Council would not see it that way if they found out. They would blame him, and he would be in even more trouble than he was already. It was not fair, he thought. He became angry. How could she do this to him? Not only was she messing up his plans, but now he had to figure out how to dispose of her body.

Kaine spent the rest of the day dragging Hazel's body out of the ravine and trying to bury it. He found a large, flat rock and used it to scoop out the dirt for a grave but after hours of hard work he had made only a small impression in the hard ground. He sat on a log with his head in his hands, exhausted and angry at the girl for doing this to him.

Night was falling and Kaine did not know what to do. There was no way he could bury the body before it got dark. He did not dare leave it until morning, either, in case some animal found it and dragged it away where he could not find it. He did not relish the idea of sitting up all night guarding a dead body, either.

Then Kaine had an idea. Maybe this catastrophe could be turned into something positive. He picked up the body and slung it over his shoulder, staggering under the weight. He walked back toward the Caer, stopping a few times along the way to rest. By the time he got close to the village, the houses were dark and everyone was in bed. Perfect.

Kaine dropped Hazel to the ground in a spot where she was sure to be found. He made a large cut on his arm and did a transformation spell on her body, making it look like it was him lying there. With any luck, the villagers would find it first thing in the morning and the search for him would be called off. He nearly chuckled out loud, thinking that Hazel had turned out to be far more useful dead than she was when she was alive.

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