"Heard what," Danae asked blandly. Somehow, she had a feeling that very little could brighten her mood at the moment.

"Winona is leaving for Ferncrest tomorrow! Apparently she has a family gathering that's going to take up an entire week. Do you know what this means," Eliza demanded after seeing Danae's lack of enthusiasm. "It means that we're free for a week! No more Winona! Aren't you happy?"

Danae turned her head and tried not to snap at her friend. She clenched her fists and then unclenched them. "Of course I'm happy, Eliza. I'm just tired. That's all."

"Well then, you'll have plenty of time to rest tomorrow. Other than meal duties, we have nothing to do. I was thinking that we could sneak through the tunnel under the green wall and go to the marketplace. Winona hasn't let us leave in ages. I really need another pair of sandals. Mine are getting all worn out. I hope I have enough for a sturdy pair."

Danae resumed scrubbing the plates as Eliza went into great detail about how her sandals had gotten worn out to begin with. Eliza could be so bubbly sometimes. Sometimes too bubbly. Danae sighed and carefully pushed a strand of her own raven black hair off of her face with her arm, trying to avoid getting soap suds all over her. She did not succeed.

As Eliza chattered on, Danae began to dry the plates. She went to the towel rack to the left of the sink and grabbed a clean white towel. Just as she was about to place the first plate back on the shelf, she saw a flash of skin. Someone had run past the window. Danae ran to the window, towel and plate in hand. Eliza stopped speaking.

"Is anyone there," Danae called out. There was no answer. "Hello?"

Eliza gaped at her friend. "What are you doing," Eliza asked through soft laughter. "Am I really that boring to listen to?" Eliza grinned.

"No, I just-I thought I saw someone" Danae murmured under her breath.

"What was that Nae-Nae? I didn't quite catch that," Eliza said as fluttered her eyelids. Danae's expression changed. Eliza held up a tray to protect herself.

"I thought I told you never to call me that again! Eliza! Don't!" With that, she rushed to Eliza's side at the sink.

"Danae! Watch out!" It was too late. Danae didn't see the puddle of water waiting for her. She slipped and landed flat on her back. Her head fell hard on the floor. Danae ground her teeth and leaned on Eliza for support. When she stood, her head throbbed uncontrollably. Her back ached with much pain.

Eliza walked Danae back to her room and helped her onto her bed. "You rest now. Don't worry, Sweetie. I'll finish up in the kitchen for you. I'll bring you back some lunch when I'm done, alright?"

Danae nodded and shut her eyes. She rested. She could not will herself to sleep when it was before noon. She should be doing something useful. How could she be wasting time so carelessly? Danae opened her eyes.

She stared at the ceiling and drank in the familiar image. It was a maiden carrying a bucket of water on her head from the lake. The maiden was breathtaking with long hair that cascaded down her broad shoulders. Her body was not thin, but it had beautiful curves that Danae knew she would never have. The maiden stared clearly out into the distance and her gaze met Danae's. Everything seemed so simple. Just two maidens watching each other. Nothing more.

Danae had tried to share the image of the maiden with her friends and roommates, but when she pointed to the ceiling, they only laughed.

"What are you talking about? There's nothing there," Someone had said.

"Danae, I know you deserve a break, but I don't think Winona's going to believe this crazy act," another joked. Danae insisted until finally, they told her off.

"Danae, stop. We're sick of this. It's not funny anymore. Everyone's tired. Just let us be." So Danae stopped trying to share. She knew that the maiden might be hard to see on the all white ceiling, but not impossible.

And so when Danae was searching in the maiden's eyes for answers, she couldn't help but wonder how her friends couldn't see this someone who knew everything and only revealed herself when she though fit; someone so real.

There was a shuffling down the hall. Danae heard footsteps and speedily tried to hide herself under the sheet. She winced. Her back was still very much in pain. Danae took a deep breath and waited. The shuffling became louder as did the footsteps. Then they became softer and softer until Danae knew that the person was gone. Danae thanked her blessings. Had Winona caught her in bed during the day, she would have been done for. Danae couldn't take the chance again.

She stood up slowly and kept her back very straight. The pain seemed to alleviating and Danae twisted her shoulders one way and then the next in an attempt to activate her back muscles. It worked only slightly, but Danae knew she had no other options.

She pulled the sheet across the bed and smoothed out the wrinkles. Danae stepped back and saw a small wrinkle near the head of the bed. She bent down to straighten it out and caught a glimpse of something outside the window. It was white and curled up in the redwood bush cave.

Danae straightened out the lone wrinkle and carefully walked out to the garden, where her window opened up. Sure enough, the white bundle was still in the redwood bush, though it was barely visible.

Danae walked in through the side of bush and saw that the bundle was a piece of clothing. She crouched down and picked up the cloth in her hands. It was a long-sleeved shirt. It was in very nice condition. Why would anyone abandon such a high quality shirt? Then she saw it: a tear down the left sleeve. It was not permanently damaged, but it would never be the same.

Danae bent down to examine the shirt more closely when she felt hands come over her eyes and a knife put to her throat.

"Don't move," a rough male voice said into her ear. Danae froze.

AN: I know this isn't as long as I promised, but I really wanted to update. I'll try and start updating more often with longer chapters. Please R&R! I really appreciate it.