Chapter 16

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Maria flopped down on one of the beds. "This's wonderful!"

Aaron scowled and walked out of the room.

Maria looked perplexed. "Was it something I said?"

Glenn sat down next to her as Julia, Steve, and Brittany settled down to listen. "Oh, Maria, you can't tell me you don't see it!"

"See what?" Her head was cocked to the side.

Brittany and Julia snickered. Steve blushed. Glenn threw up his hands.

"He's jealous, Mia-chan!"

Maria giggled. "But why? There's no reason," she said, admiring the sunlight playing on the sheets.

Glenn sighed. "Well, for one, that elf you were talking to on the way here. And then the other young elf who kissed your hand. Aaron sees them as a threat."

Brittany nodded. "Glenn's right, Maria. You should know this. Aaron's just like the boys back in our time. Remember Tyler? And Greg?"

Maria twisted her mouth into a scowl. "Yeah. They were jealous of every male I came into contact with..."

Brittany smirked. "And Aaron's just the same."

Maria stood up. "I think I'm going to take a walk..."

Julia stared after her. "Twenty gold pieces says that she's going out to converse with elves and make Aaron jealous."

"You're on."

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Aaron sat by a beautiful cerulean lake that matched his eyes perfectly, his bare feet splayed in front of him. The sun shone on his hair, bringing out the white-blond tone. He sighed and threw his head back.

'Why am I acting like this? Maria's obviously a very pretty human - of course she's going to get attention from elves. Why shouldn't she? I have no reason to act like this.'

He waved his arms around in the fragrant grass, breathing deeply. This was an exquisite place. He had never seen elves before, had always heard that they were cold and haughty. But being here changed his perspective.

He stood up. It was going to be dark soon. He should probably head back to their room. As he started to walk, an elf stopped him. It was Liam.

"Where are you off to, Master Aaron?"

Aaron glared. "The room."

Liam fell into step with him. "You are angry with me." It was not a question.

Aaron blanched. Elves were perceptive. "No, I..."

Liam smiled. "It's alright, Master Aaron. I have studied humans. I know of their complex emotions and moodiness. I also know why you're upset with me."

Aaron said nothing.

"You are afraid I - or any elf here - shall capture the heart of the one you want so desperately for yourself. You are afraid she shall become enamored with one of my kind, and you will be forgotten. Well, let me tell you something, Master Aaron. Miss Maria is different from ordinary humans. For one, she is not of this time period. Yet, even still, she is one that has been blessed with honor, courage, and devotion. I can see it in her eyes - you are the one for her, and she knows that. She may stray, but she will always return to you. She will return to the one who has *claimed* her."

Aaron had been taking comfort in this speech, up until Liam's last words. "Uh, M-Master Liam...I-I am not the one who has...*claimed* her..."

Liam stopped. "What?"

Aaron nodded dejectedly. "She has been taken by my brother. He...raped...her."

Liam stared at Aaron for a while. Then he said, "Do you know what this means?"

Aaron shook his head.

"It means that you shall have to watch her very carefully. She will *always* return to the one who has claimed her. It's in her blood, and nothing can stop it..."

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Maria wandered around, scarlet cloak swinging around her ankles. She couldn't seem to find anything to keep her busy, and her mind kept returning to Aaron...and Alasdair.

'Do I love Aaron? Does he love me? Why do I keep thinking about Alasdair? Is Glenn right about why Aaron's acting like that? Am I ever going to stop thinking?' The questions went on and on, and she had no answers. Even the arrogant, sarcastic voice had no comments for her current predicament.

"Miss Maria, why are you here all alone?" a soft voice inquired.

Maria turned quickly, startled. It was the young elf from earlier, the one who had kissed her hand. Sebastian, his name was.

"Oh, hello, Sebastian. I was just...wandering around, you know."

"May I join you?"

"Of course."

They walked side-by-side for a short while, finally coming to a lake, the same lake Aaron had been at.

"Is something the matter, Miss Maria?" Sebastian asked. He stared at her with eyes of infinite beauty and wisdom.

She burst into tears.

"M-Miss Maria! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to-"

"I-It's not your fault, Sebastian! I-I just..." she shook her head and proceeded to tell him everything there was to tell, all about how she wasn't from this time period, Alasdair, Brittany...everything.

"Miss Maria...I know."

She looked up. "You know?"

He nodded. "Maria, elves are the keepers of every written prophecy in this world. There is one that states that two girls will come here from another world, ones who wield great power. They are the ones who will save my world from devastation. It goes on to say that one..."

"Yes?" Maria pressed him.

" do know that you are one of those girls, obviously. But..." it seemed like he was struggling.

"Go on, Seb," she said softly.

"The-the Holy Sword of Karath-Argon. The wielder possesses great strength and power. S-Summons the spirit of the Elvin King Karath-Argon. Then...then..." he looked up at her with luminous eyes.

"What is it, Sebastian?"

"...Maria, you will die."

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a/n: Lovely. Isn't this the happy little chapter? Thank you, Breanna, for reviewing, and I'm terribly sorry that I suck at updating. ^.^;