“Please come with us,” Carissa said.
She could see the pity pouring into Dove’s eyes and was tempted to shake the woman. Elon wasn’t crazy; this was a matter of life of death. And yet Dove stood there, her polite smile barely showing her teeth, her hand patting Carissa’s shoulder as if she were the one out of her mind.
“Oh, that’s all right, dearie. I’m certain you and the King of Nysia will manage quite all right on your own. And I’ve got plenty of business here. I can’t just up and leave all of my clients.”
But Elon was worth leaving everything for. If she’d just give him a chance—
Elon slipped his hand into Carissa’s. “We should go, love.”
She followed his gaze to a group of men who were watching their departure. There was something dark looming in their eyes. In fact, they almost seemed hostile. Though Carissa couldn’t fathom why; what had she and Elon done?
Elon turned toward her. “Now.”
Carissa cast Dove one last beseeching glance, and Dove dipped her head, denying Carissa her gaze.
“You’d best be off, dearie. I’m sure you and your husband will have lots of fun adventures… wandering off into an Esmerian forest without supplies. And heading toward the most dangerous pass in the kingdom. Yes, lots of fun. I only wish I could join you.”
Elon tugged at her hand, and Carissa walked with him to the border of the forest, waving to the nightwomen who’d helped her. The women wave back—Renita flapping her hand enthusiastically and the redhead tossing her hand in what might have been a dismissal. Dove simply stared, something sorrowful and heavy in her gaze.
That woman probably thought they were marching off to their deaths. Why couldn’t Dove understand that the path she was on could only lead to destruction?
As they strode through the forest, walking over logs and weaving around trees, Carissa began to ask Elon where he’d found the previous supplies he’d left her and how he’d formed those protective circles around the campsites.
His replies were uncharacteristically terse, and as they ventured deeper into the forest, a dark mood seemed to overtake him. Soon, no amount of teasing or flirting on her part could coax a smile from him.
Carissa ventured to walk closer to Elon, wondering what danger lay ahead and how she could best pry the truth from him.