He chuckled. “No. I abandoned that method a long time ago. This is much faster.” When he was done, he went back to his pack. “I didn’t bring anything to cook for dinner, but I did manage this.” He tossed a small plastic bag.
I somehow managed to catch it. “Marshmallows?”
“I heard Americans really love them for camping.”
“Not that I’ve done much camping, but you heard right.” I set the bag down. “So, a healthy dinner of beef jerky and marshmallows. Is that enough for you?”
He shrugged. “Don’t worry about me. I can go wolf and hunt my own food.”
My mouth dropped open. “You’d eat it raw? Something furry?”
“Yup. My wolf doesn’t mind too much.”
I shuddered. “Yuck.”
“You might like a furry, newly killed animal.”
I full on gagged. “Nope. Not going to happen.”
“Don’t knock it til—”
Suddenly Lucas and the campfire disappeared.
All I saw instead was the darkening forest. A massive tree stood in front of me, with a large knot in its center.
“Luc—” Before I could get out the words, hands with thin, cold fingers wrapped around my throat.
“Careful little one,” a deep voice said as the hands tightened just enough to terrify me. “Mustn’t move. Mustn’t speak. Or Gobble will take care of you.”
I froze as I realized what had happened.
This was a fey.
I’d been kidnapped by the fey.
A wolf howled in the distance, and I hoped that meant that Lucas would be here soon. If that was Lucas at all…
Please be Lucas.
The hands released me and I collapsed to the ground. I whirled to face the thing as I tried to catch my breath.
In the fading light, I could see the creature’s face—long and narrow with a pointy chin and thin lips. It stared with big, round eyes the lightest shade of blue I’d ever seen. The silver hair that fell in curls to its chin was tucked behind slightly pointed ears. His tall blue and green wings rippled behind him.
His aura was like a sapphire, glittering with silver speckles. Not quite as pretty as Cosette’s, but still beautiful.
“Little you looks tasty,” he said, flashing sharp fangs.
I scrabbled backward on the leaves, trying to put some distance between us.
Please don’t let him mean that literally. Maybe he meant tasty in that I was nice.
That was a possibility, wasn’t it?
The wolf howled again, this time closer, but I didn’t dare turn toward the sound.
He wore only a tattered loincloth. If he’d have been tiny—mouse-sized—I would’ve thought he was just a creepy little fairy.
No such luck. He was big. Lanky. Tall. He wasn’t thick with muscle, but he was completely lean. My throat throbbed where he’d grabbed me.
He crouched in front of me, bringing his face close to mine. I didn’t dare move out of fear that he’d strike out. Instead, I waited and watched. Hoping I could get cast a defensive spell faster than he could attack.
“What brings such a tasty treat to these parts?”
Oh God. He really did mean to eat me.
I swallowed. “I’m looking for white mages—”
“None in these parts. Not for a long time. Just underhill.”
He slurped his lips and my breaths started to rasp. If I didn’t calm down, I was going to start hyperventilating.
Fey didn’t eat people. Cosette had never—
Cosette. I’d almost forgotten. Time to play the only card I had. “I’m friends with a fey. You must’ve heard of her.”
A bright flash burst and suddenly the creature was tiny—or what I imagined was normal fairy size. It flitted around my head before hovering in front of my face. “You’re the witchy witch she likes.” His voice was high pitched now. A tiny squeaking thing.
Thank God. Cosette hadn’t let me down. I was going to owe her one, and whatever she wanted in return, I’d give it. “Yes. She said she’d tell your people I was coming and that I might need your help.”
The creature snarled. Somehow, even tiny, his teeth were terrifying. “Fey don’t help witches.”
I shoved my fear down. Showing it would only make me seem weak—like I was prey. “Cosette helps witches and she’s fey.” I said it before I realized the implications. I hoped I didn’t get her into too much trouble.