The Beast Within

In a world where magic is outlawed and virtually extinct, Princess Fiamatta suddenly finds her world turned inside out by the traitorous word. From royalty, to fugitive, to leader of the rebels, Fia is forced to work with a handsome, arrogant magician she found locked away in a dungeon.

btw, this is my NaNoWriMo story so criticism is much appreciated! Thanks :)

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18. Act 17

We walked for most of the day, sticking to the forest and avoiding towns. During the course of the day the silence had broken into small talk about the scenery. It was obvious Logan enjoyed everything in the world outside the dungeon. It had been so long since he had seen it that everything seemed new. From birds, to trees, and the grass, he had a deep appreciation for all of it. I had never imagined being able to see this side of him amidst his cocky, arrogant smirks and obvious disregard for personal space.

            We stopped just before dusk and made camp for the night by the edge of a lake. I abandoned Logan at our camp for a copse that would offer a bit of privacy by the water. Excitedly, I peeled my torn dress off and slipped into the water. It was chilly like the night air, but my need to feel clean overpowered my discomfort. Once I was in the water, I felt instant relief. Silently I floated on my back, staring up at the stars as my mind wandered. I remembered my first time visiting a lake. It was when I was seven, visiting Irian for the first time. My father had decided to take me there for vacation. We stayed in a grand chateau on the lake. I remembered how excited I was to see the great body of water for the first time. It looked so calm, and the brilliant reflection of the sun on its crystal blue waters dazzled my young eyes. My excitement overwhelmed me and I would have gone racing into its depths if it had not been for my father. He stopped me, warning me about the dangers of drowning, and implored me to wait. As impossible as it was at that age to wait for anything, I distracted myself with exploring the Chateau until he was ready to go down to the lake with me. For the entire day, I enjoyed the water while my father taught me the basics of floating and swimming.

            The memory of that time warmed me on the inside, eradicating the cold of the water. But then, something else cold filled me instead. I had not, up until that point, been allowed to grieve for the loss of my father. Suddenly, I felt my grief consume me, like how light succumbs to heavy darkness. My tears trickled into the water, disappearing into its murky depths. I allowed myself to weep, to shake, and cry till I was nothing more than a hollow husk drifting among the waves. Time seemed to be suspended then, pausing for my grief as if nothing else mattered.

            I was only brought back upon hearing rustling in the bushes. With time now back in motion, I touched my feet to the silt bottom of the lake and hid my body so only my head showed. Logan emerged from the darkness with a small flame suspended in the palm of his hand. His eyes danced with the light as he watched me in the water.

            “You’ve been in there for over an hour, I assumed you had drowned,” he said, and had almost seemed surprised to be wrong.

            “Would you have preferred it that way?” I asked him, not really caring to banter with him. My morose tone caused him to raise an eyebrow.

            “No, I need you alive,” he said quietly. He walked to the edge of the grass, where it dropped slightly into the water. “What’s the matter?”

            I felt a twinge of surprise at the concern in his tone, but not enough to make me want to share with him. “Nothing, other than you spying on me when I’m naked.” I snap at him. A lewd smirk spreads across his lips at this.

            “If I truly wanted you naked, there would be much easier ways,” and then he added with a wink, “and much more fun too.”

            I scowl at him, and turn away bitterly. “Just leave me alone, go back to camp.”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw him stand. The smirk had disappeared and was replaced by a serious expression.

            “Come back soon.” Those were his only words before parting back to camp. I listened until his footsteps had faded away, before venturing back towards land. I put my dress back on and then looked it over. It definitely was not ideal for traveling. I decided that tomorrow, when we passed near a village I would send Logan in to trade my dress for some traveling clothes. With a goal for tomorrow secure in my mind I headed back to camp, leaving my grief behind in a watery grave.

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