Danger, danger, everywhere. Ethan’s senses were ringing the alarm.

The slithering snake was not the only thing stalking their every step. On all sides of the pair, in all of the shadows, unseen eyes watched closely and waited with stubborn patience.

The energy he sensed was familiar. It was cunning and charming. Yet dark and consuming, like the Void. It was also extremely close.

Danger, danger, everywhere…but most especially over his left shoulder. And approaching fast.

Ethan turned just in time to see slanted eyes, their centers black like coal, peering from the inky shade falling from a tall, broad, and dessicated stump of what was once known as a tree.

“My prince,” the masculine voice was slick like silk and could be equally as seductively dangerous once it wrapped around one’s thoughts. “We searched for you everywhere.” The last word held a hint of untruth. “So surprised to find you…here…out in the open at such an hour.” There was a question hiding in that statement. What the shadowed entity wanted to say was : How is it that you are here out in the open at such as an hour?

Drek was his name and dark words were his given gift from the Void.

Ethan turned tightly on his heels and faced the masculine form standing in the shadow of the mighty stump, which was ashen and grey, in a hibernating slumber, awaiting the day of its resurrection.

Ethan did not fold his arms, but kept them to his sides, with the muscles in his arms and palms taut and ready to spring to defend Shay and himself against the slightest threat.

“I’m here,” Ethan spoke low and with power pulsing through the bass of his voice. His words and their tone were countering the seductive effect of Drek’s mystical incantations. Even a few words spoken by him were enough to seduce an army into surrender.

“So you are,” Drek spoke, pulling back the effect of his dark spell only by a hint. ” Both of you are.” The slanted eyes shifted ever so casually in Shay’s direction. “We thought we had lost her also. How wonderful that you are together. At last.” There was a smile creeping into his words. “So many wonderful things will rise from this union.”

The shadow of a strong leg motioned forward and, in a blink, Ethan stood in front of the shadow, blocking its view of Shay.

“One more step. One more word without my consent, and I will end you.” Ethan’s voice growled like gravel crushing beneath a heavy foot. “I am more powerful than you. Never forget that, servant.”

The rebuke and the force of its power physically stung. A sharp pang ripped down the length of Drek’s slim, athletic form, forcing him to retreat further into a sense of safety as he hid in the depths of the shadow.

The dark outline of full lips motioned to move then, remembering Ethan’s command, he merely nodded his understanding.

“Better,” Ethan’s eyes flashed silver then cooled to their usual ice blue gaze but he didn’t relax his stance. One lesson his adopted parents had taught him that he would always remember. Never let your guard down. A moment’s slip of that one rule of survival could mean a lifetime of regret. “Tell me why you are here. Keep your words silent and focused only within my frequency,” he instructed.

Great Prince, Drek communicated from his thoughts through the narrow mind connection that Ethan had opened between them, as you have spoken, I am your servant. I have been with you many years, since you first arrived in our castle, and will not abandon you now. I have come to continue in my allegiance to you. He silenced himself and awaited Ethan’s reply.

Lies and Deceit. Ethan was not fooled. But Drek had answers to questions that he and Shay needed for their journey. For now, Ethan would listen with attentive ears and a guarded mind. He would also unleash the fullness of his wrath the moment Drek became too much of a threat.

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Copyright Lenise Lee Pubn. All Rights Reserved.

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