“The wolves are getting closer.”
Carissa stopped unsaddling her horse and peered around it. Two Reapers were pitching a tent, their back to her.
“Zorelle says one of the humans must not have taken the Y’thapa,” he continued.
Carissa removed the saddle and saddle blanket before stroking a brush over the horse’s coat. Maybe it was another human who hadn’t taken the Y’thapa. Or maybe she wasn’t as good at controlling her fear as she’d thought. She’d have to see Elon sooner rather than later, then. She needed his advice.
“Don’t worry,” the other replied. “I’m certain Zorelle has a plan. She always does, you know.”
Carissa began to unbridle the horse, her hands trembling as she did so. The exertion of the day and her hunger were getting to her. She had to find something to eat. But first on the agenda was seeing Elon.
Carissa barely stifled a gasp. What was it with these people? Was it really necessary to silently approach her from behind? She turned towards the servant. “Yes?”
It was the girl from last night—the one who’d given her the dress and applied makeup on her. But there wasn’t a spark of anger in the girl’s eyes. Her expression was as blank and clear as freshly fallen snow. “Mistress Zorelle has requested your presence at dinner.”
Which meant she’d have to delay her plan to see Elon. Carissa slapped on a smile. “Of course.”
The girl walked towards the large tent in the center of camp, Carissa following behind her. When they entered the tent, Carissa saw the set up was much the same as the night before—from the food to the waiting servants. She avoided eye contact with the servants as she seated herself.
“Welcome. Please help yourself.” Zorelle flicked her hands towards a servant, and he approached Carissa with an empty platter.
Carissa glanced at the rows of food-filled plates. Should she refuse to try some as she had last night?
She was most definitely hungry. Carissa resisted the urge to press her fist to her hollow stomach. “I’ll eat whatever you have, Zorelle.”
Zorelle laughed. “So mistrustful. Very well.” She gestured for the servant to fill her plate. After he’d done so and had set the plate before her, Zorelle dug into her food with relish.
Carissa’s stomach twisted with jealousy.
The servant piled a second plate, laden with identical foods, and placed it in front of Carissa.
Carissa picked up a slice of cheese and slipped it into her mouth. Its sharp flavor filled her mouth, its smooth texture a caress to her tongue. Only after she swallowed it did she realize it had a bitter aftertaste.
Carissa glanced up, saw Zorelle’s triumphant smile.
Her food had been drugged.