“Hmphf,” mumbled Danielle, mouth stuffed full of cheese and bread. So many bits of bread had fallen around her lap, it looked like she’d had a small snowstorm go over her.
Ercen and Kimar said nothing else while she ate. Kimar’s attention was directed towards the sky above, his amber eyes casting a slight glow, scanning the stars, back and forth. Danielle noticed the moon beginning to peak over the treetops. Ercen, she noticed, seemed amused at watching her consume her very late dinner with such vigor.
Finally full, Danielle put the leftovers on a flat rock. “Thanks. That’s the best cheese I’ve ever tasted!”
“Are you strong now?” asked Kimar.
“Huh?” replied a puzzled Danielle.
“Are you strong enough to go?” he clarified.
“Um, I guess so,” she replied, a great weariness washing over her. “If you mean, am I full…yeah. I am. But it’s really late. I’ve been gone for hours now. My folks are sure to be frantic, my mom, especially. I just want to go home and then go to bed. Do I really have to go with you in search of—of whatever…” Her voice trailed off.
“Child, we are going to your home. We must retrieve the Key of Kahrnahrgx at once.” Ercen answered with an urgency in her voice that snapped Danielle back from the drowsiness stealing over her.
“Your parents are in grave danger, Danielle,” grumbled the deep voice of Kimar. “If you are strong now, we must go at once.”
Reaching out his left hand to Ercen, Kimar took Danielle’s left hand in his right. As soon as Ercen completed the circle by taking Danielle’s other hand, they parted without a sound. A few leaves and pine needles floated down onto the small fire and the leftover food that was lying on a flat rock. A family of local mice enjoyed a delightful feast of leftover bread and fine-tasting cheese.
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