It was such an odd feeling. Danielle felt two feelings, actually, she realized. Like when she was little and would hide from her mother under the thin bed sheet. Now, of course, she knew her mother would have immediately seen the lumpiness beneath the cover and recognized her precocious daughter as the lump source. But then, Danielle could see her mother, oddly colored through the hues of the fabric, while remaining completely hidden. Or so she believed. While the memory of those moments of play and surprise often brought warmth and comfort to Danielle, here they seemed so terribly out of place.
She could see everyone in her rescue team very clearly. Anders was crouched low near the opening to the cell. He had already stealthily pulled his sword free. Freida stood slightly behind him with her dagger drawn. Bettina was walking unevenly towards her loved ones, her left hand clamped over her mouth as if to keep it from crying out to them; her right hand was clutching Lohxnahr’s left. The gargoyle that had become so dear to Danielle struggled to maintain his balance, as well as Bettina’s. Zarentil squatted in the middle of the chamber with his head bowed low. Danielle was grateful that Tiny sat right next to her. She patted him gently and realized he was strung very tight and absolutely alert.
But when Danielle looked at Paign and Gudrun, it was if she was playing hide and seek again with her mother, looking through a drab and colorless sheet. Not only were they both slightly out of focus, their movements were glacially slow. And it was clear that, unlike Danielle’s mother during their little hiding game, Paign and Gudrun were not yet aware of anyone else inside their prison.
So far, so good, she smiled to herself.
And that’s when everything went horribly wrong.
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