Chapter 3

Capture

Marjral was running out of steam when she heard humans running behind her. Turning around, she saw the girl who called herself Danae running from a man dressed in dark browns and greens. Probably to blend into the forest. But blending in doesn't mean he'll survive in these woods. Marjral grinned when she saw that the man didn't see her. Oo, fun. Looking around to see what was available, she formulated a plan. She buzzed off after the man.

A few minutes later, Marjral reached a spot ahead of Danae and the man chasing her. Calling upon the earth for assistance, she brought the trees to life. After seeing the branches move without wind, Marjral made them still for a few moments. Danae raced through the group of trees. Several of the trees moved roots to keep her from falling. The man ran after her but was quickly seized by branches. Danae looked behind her, hearing his screams. Eyes wide, she slowed to a stop. Seeing Marjral, she lost her tension.

"I thank you, Marjral of Faery!" she called, walking slowly towards where the pixie held her assassin hostage. Hearing a cat's mewing, she looked at the tree the sound came from. Capron pounced on her. Laughing, Danae let the cat slip into the hood of her cloak. "What do you ask in return for capturing the man hired to kill me?"

The pixie turned around, grinning as she thought of what she could get the human to do. "I ask that you tell me why you are fleeing and why this man is after you."

"That's two things, but they have the same answer. A few months ago, you would have known me as her Royal Highness, Princess Danae of Carbanen. That was before the prophet Tiresias came to our court. One day, Tiresias said, 'How strange it is, O King of Carbanen, that your death is seated next to you.' My mother would have sat next to my father that day, but she has been dead for five years now. I had been sitting where she would have since I was eight years old. Even so, my father and I have never been very close. He said nothing for a few weeks, but then I was moved into another smaller room. After another week, I was locked in a tower. But I had been reading about magic since I was very young, so I called upon the moon to save me. And when I woke up the next morning, I was in the forest outside the palace with a bag of things I might need. That was three weeks ago. I've been traveling through the forests ever since. I ask that you do not tell this to anyone. My father has offered a great reward to anyone who brings my head, and I rather like my head where it is."

A sudden noise in the trees behind Marjral brought Danae out of her story. She stormed over to the trees and grabbed Eric's ear. "What have you heard?" she asked, her voice deadly quiet.

"N-nothing, your Highness," said the terrified boy.

"Oh, really? If you haven't been listening, then how do you know I'm a princess?" The boy gulped. "How long have you been listening?"

"Since you started answering Marjral's questions."

Danae proceeded to say some very unladylike things, before storming further into the woods.