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I place my hand around Nick’s wrist and—without waiting for him to respond—pull him after me. Seeking a better strategic position, I move up, over onto the nearest boulder. He follows right behind and I release my grip so I can move stealthily.
Belly-crawling across the smooth surface, I inch toward the edge of the rock, toward the sound that could be a million things. A million dark and nasties.
Whatever it is, I have to draw it away from my sisters.
As I lean forward, out over the edge to get a better view, I hold my breath. Surprise is a crucial advantage. Whatever is coming doesn’t know we’re here yet and I don’t want to give away our position until I’m ready.
I peer down, but can’t see anything in the inky space below. The shufflings stop. All but one. Then I hear a loud, Oof! Followed by a vehement, Shh!
“Sorry,“ a small voice says. “Not know we stopping.“
“Shhhh!“ Louder. And more irritated.
“If you no want Sillus—“
A loud smack, followed by an angry, “Shut. Up.“
Then a muffled, “Sorry,“ that sounds more like, “Rawry.“
I smile. Leaning out as far over the edge as possible, I can barely make out several shapes below in the faint glow. One gleams in the green light. Golden, metallic.
The golden maiden.
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