A flash of tiny bright dots blinded Merryn from the cast spell. As she rubbed them, the coins in the enchanted pouch bulged on her hip.

A twinge of guilt surfaced for taking it from that dolt. Besides, the man still had his other coin bag. She clutched it giving it a squeeze, it stretched out and slimmed back down; compressing its contents.

The port and the book were at opposite ends of the city, hopefully, the map would have a few shortcuts marked on it. Paved jade streets and marble lined walls bled of status and wealth.

She found this city elegant by human standards, though it did nothing but remind her of how she didn't belong. This truth became magnified from the disdainful looks of the men and women who passed by. Each haughty face and glare were as subtle as a kick in the gut.

She frowned. It was bad enough having to learn the darker arts let alone be dumped into this human city. Couldn't blame the Elder Adapts, they were already pushed past their limit keeping everyone at home from succumbing to the dark-ones.

She breathed in a few times. It was hard calling him but had to be done.

"Feared Kage, pull the shadows and wrap them tight, with a kiss of the night," she whispered.

It took concentration to will the shadows to come. The coolness flowed over, starting at her feet. It spread to her torso, over her face and hair stopping as it reached her long ears.

With a flick of a hand, the pouch slipped into her vest where it vanished from sight. Majestic trees provided cool shade between the homes. She edged away from the light; the sun shafts would break the spell. She edged away and pressed to a wall weaving between the homes working her way forward.

Crouched down, she breathed slow and even. Soft pink petals floated to the ground and carpeted the streets. People sat under them, chatting and-ignorant.

The petals created a false sense of serenity to the city, it masked the evil here, contained in a fragile cage; the magics within weakening.

The shadows moved of their own; wavering up the sides up against the buildings. A thin tail lead back to the castle; it hugged the sides of the walls and buildings as it trickled back. The humans couldn't see them. It was not the shade or shadows that made her shiver. Was it still awake?

She worked her way towards the back-end of the city; the elite lived here in their white houses, decorated with paintings of the spirits. While most other houses had the spirit of water, this one had three fish heads encircling each other. Along the edges of the houses, the blue foamy waves crested over the doorway, offering peace and blessings to those who resided or visited.

She padded closer, her footsteps but of a whisper; her outline, but a shadow. The hidden spell absorbed the darkness around her wrapping her from view.

She stopped, crouching near the outer castle wall. That old woman had lied! A seer still patrolled the castle. This could be a problem as some could see those in shadow.

She padded forward in the alleyways and through the large gardens, hiding behind the various plants as needed. Crouched low as possible, she sprinted to the house ahead.

A group of overdressed women walked past. How could they breathe in those tight-ribbed girdles? She pulled in a breath and forced her breathing to quiet while she crouched against the wall. Come on, move your slow-moving frilly butts. As soon as they passed, she tiptoed closer to the castle.

The magic of The Hidden was fragile; she avoided the shafts of light. The only place still in shadow was a thin line of shadow along the wall right where the guards patrolled. The energy barrier it was a problem, as long as it was there it would be impossible to slip past the guards.

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