Chapter Eighteen

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"Shade."

"Who's there?"

"Shade, it's us, your spirit guides. You must hurry! The Unseelie court moves to stop you. You must get to the fountains tomorrow and retrieve the magic waters quickly!"

"What then? What do I do with it? Where do I go? How do I get back to the Guildrin Caves?"

They smiled at her with their ethereal faces and smooth hair infinitely suspended in midair like there was a silent, unseen wind that blew just for them.

"You will know. Dylan is waiting for you. He needs you, Shade. You and only you can save him."

"Where is he?" Shade furrowed her brow at the sisters, worry permeating her thoughts.

"Just follow your path. It will take you straight to him. Remember, when all is dark, you are your own light. Don't forget the stones Ilarial gave you. They can make a path where none can be seen."

Shade looked at them, her face filled with confusion. Why was it they never made sense? Their faces left no hint of what exactly they meant. She shouted out to them, but her voice was gone. They shook their heads and smiled, waving a goodbye. Shade screamed to them but felt the gray and the darkness grow around her, obscuring them from her sight.

***

Shade woke with a start, her heart drumming in her chest. Her pillow was stuffed and wadded into a ball under her head as she lay on her stomach. She looked around the dark room. The moonlight was dim now, and dark gray misted across the room. It was probably near morning. She sat up on her elbows, looking toward Ursad, fast asleep on the small couch by the wall, gently breathing.

The short rays of dawn mixed with moonlight as the minutes ticked by. Stretching, she stood up and shuffled over to the open window. The streets were quiet; only the occasional person with baskets or a pushcart filled with fruit meandered about. The morning market was prepping itself for the needs of many. Shade breathed in and felt a sense of peace filling her with each inhalation. She turned and grabbed her bag before heading to the bathroom.

When she emerged, the soft sunlight filled the windows. She showered and brushed her long hair into a ponytail. With her fresh jeans on and a hoodie pulled over a t-shirt to keep the morning chill out, she pulled on socks and sneakers before tying the laces. Shoving everything back into her bag, she glanced at Ursad, still fast asleep on the couch. His soft snores told her that he was definitely out, making her grin and shake her head. She was ready to go, and he was out like a light. It was hard to be angry with him when he looked like that, innocent and peaceful. However, she wasn't ready to forgive what he had done.

She looked at the pile of maps on the small table next to the couch, scooping them up and placing them into her pack. Donning her cloak, she headed for the door but stopped. She turned and watched Ursad sleeping, dead to the world. Leaving her bag by the door, she approached him, staring at his rough face and soft eyelids. He seemed so calm and almost handsome, deep in sleep and dreaming.

She wondered what he saw behind his lids, in a world that was his alone. She hated to leave him like this, without a goodbye, but she had to go. His intentions weren't honest, and she couldn't tolerate that. Deep in her thoughts, she squeezed her eyes shut. Shade liked him but felt betrayed by his magic. It hurt that he'd done such things without her knowledge. He could've been so much more than just a friend. Flinging her eyelids open, she knew what she had to do. Bending down, she let her lips glide softly over his still very human-like ones. One lonely kiss for the road.

She stood back and saw that he hadn't stirred and remained oblivious. She silently wished him a goodbye as she left the room. At the door, she swung her pack onto her back and shut the door softly behind her. As it clicked, she never looked back again, but she'd forgiven him after all.

Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale #1) by Alexia Purdy (complete)Read this story for FREE!