Three Days Later
A thin ribbon of gray streamed from the horizon into the sky, and Carissa’s breath caught. “Are those campfires?”
The group was slow to respond. After three days of traveling through bare, blackened forests, sleeping on dirt, and not having access to fresh water, she wasn’t surprised. They were all exhausted—even Elon, though not so much so that he’d ceased flirting with her.
They’d left in a hurry, when Viltus had been out hunting. Hopefully he would understand. And she could always visit with them on the way back.
Lyron was the first to respond to her question. He lifted his head, and surprise splashed across his features. Then a wide grin eclipsed all other emotions, and he urged his horse to go faster. “We’re almost there!”
His words roused the others back to life, and as if sensing their sudden eagerness, their horses quickened their pace.
Elon edged closer to her and rugged on her reigns, so that her horse slowed. “Use caution, love.”
What could Elon see ahead that they couldn’t? Was there danger along the way?
Elon smiled. “You’re staring at me—not that I’m surprised.”
Carissa arched her eyebrows. “You know why I’m looking at you.”
“Because I’m irresistibly attractive, of course.”
“No—I mean, yes, but that’s not—“ She sighed. “I just want to know what’s ahead.”
Elon’s gaze darted away from hers. “Lets just say we should probably catch up with the rest of the group.” And with that, he spurred his horse ahead.
Elon. What was she going to do with him?
As they neared, Carissa caught sight of wagons and tents above the treetops. But these tents weren’t like the ones at Viltus’ camp. These were tall and expertly constructed—almost like one would expect at a fair. The fabrics were brown and patched but appeared sturdy.
As they drew near enough to distinguish people walking amongst the tents, Lyron shouted, “I’m here! I came back! Mother, father!”
A few figures raced towards him, and unease prickled along her skin. They’d made it safely, but she knew Elon was never wrong. There was still danger afoot.
Carissa began to follow Lyron, but Elon’s shout stopped her.
She finally saw the danger he’d seen miles away: all the men along the border of the camp had their bows drawn and armed with arrows.
Three Days Later