Preyuna opened the door. Light poured through the open doorway as it did before, but this time Eschia did not create a shadow.
Not even a ripple.
It was like she was a ghost or like she wasn’t even there.
Eschia shuddered. She looked down at her arms. Silver light surrounded them, but her arms were opaque. They were not see-through.
She touched them.
They were solid.
They were real.
I am real.
Preyuna walked through the open doorway and closed the door behind her.
Once again, the upstairs light was shut away. But the dungeon’s near darkness no longer intimidated Eschia.
It no longer mattered.
I am touched by Her Majesty’s light and it is all around me.
I am safe.
She kept her gaze fixed on Robin’s cell as she headed down the staircase.
Robin kept his eyes closed.
Soft inhale. Huffed out exhale. Breathing on endless repeat in the same pattern—soft in, hard out.
Exhaustion. Hunger. But he didn’t want to think about that.
Warm, tired, stiff, desperate to lie down in a real bed. He didn’t want to think about any of that either.
Soft inhale. Hard exhale. Over and over.
‘sellta? ‘sellta, you hear me?
Exhaustion. Hunger. Tired. Dizzy. Achey. Mouth dry.
‘sellta, please talk to me. Let me know you can freakin’ hear me, okay? ‘sellta, I’m here. Please hear me. I’m here. I’m freakin’ right here! Please. Please. Take me home. I wanna go home.
He winced as his hunger hit him like an iron spike in the gut. ‘sellta. ‘sellta…
Somewhere in the distance, two people had a hushed conversation. He couldn’t remember when they’d entered the scene. They were just suddenly Poof! there. Not that they fully mattered to him. He could tell by the sounds of their voices that neither one was Isellta.
‘sellta, please. Please co—
Another sharp jab of hunger.
His eyebrows quilted up. It’s gonna get a whole lot worse, ‘sellta. Please. Please get me outta here. I don’t wann—
Soft inhale. Hard exhale. Over and over through the hunger pangs.
‘sellta…I’m so tired. So hungry. Just wanna curl up on the stupid floor here. Wanna lay my head in your lap. Want you to stroke my hair and sing your stupid song to me.
‘sellta, my beautiful ‘sellta.
Darn it all! I just want you.
Why ain’t you comin’ to me? Don’t you hear me?
Tired. So tired, hungry. Miss you.
Dang it all! I freakin’ miss you. Just wanna run to you and show you who I really am. I want you to see me as I am now. ‘sellta, I wanna start all o’er again and make it better. Can’t we just make it better, ‘sellta? I love you. Just you, my ‘sellta.
So tired hungry.