Flutters

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The wind suddenly became sharper on the edge of the rock.

"What do you mean by a box?" Ferry asked.

Raghnall's gaze remained fixed on the abyss in front of them where the starlight did not reach. It was as if he was looking for the answer there.

"It's a punishment," he said in a low, trembling voice. "They lock you in a stone box depending on how serious the deed you committed was ..."

Ferry couldn't believe it. "They lock you in a box? But that's barbaric. "

Ragnall did not answer. Ferry stepped closer to him. "What did you do so badly that they had to lock you in a box?"

"It was stupid. I was just a child. A stupid bet... It was Stöt, Leomh's right hand. I lost the bet and he told me to go to Lord Stephan's floor. He made me bring him something from there ... "

"What?"

"An object to prove I was there."

"What kind of object?"

"An object from the human world."

Ferry was getting more and more confused. "Why would Lord Stephan keep objects from the human world?"

Raghnall shrugged. "I don't know... I think he collects them. Or at least that is what they say in the fortress ..."

"And what did you take?" Ferry asked.

"That's exactly it. I didn't find anything. He probably keeps them hidden. But somehow, he found out I was there, even though he was gone on his wanderings. There was probably some special magic to know every time someone entered his rooms when he was away ... "

Ferry shuddered. "How long did you have to stay inside the box?"

Ragh didn't raise his eyes. He swallowed hard. "Not much. While the others rested. A few hours in the human world. But-- It was like I was buried alive," he said, shivering. "Without the light, we are dead in this world. We are made of light. We breathe light. Without it, it's like dying... It's like your whole life flows before your eyes, and you cling to every bit, thinking that maybe somehow, that will save you. But salvation does not come... You would stay there, consumed alive by the darkness, wanting everything to end... " 

Ferry slowly put his hand on his shoulder and Ragnall finally looked at him. "You don't have to be afraid, Ragh. As long as I'm here, no one will be locked in the darkroom. "

The young elf smiled at him. He stopped shivering. "Thank you, Prince Garrett," he said.

"Call me Ferry. My friends call me Ferry," he gently said.

Raghnall's frightened eyes glittered again. "We are friends now?" he asked.

Ferry smiled. "Yes, Ragh. We're friends now. "

***

The first lesson with Raghnall paid off the very next training session. Ferry was bolder, more self-controlled, and more focused on his movements. And, for the first time, he managed to defeat one of the Amalghams soldiers in the sword fight. One thing saddened him, though -- Matilda didn't show up for training. And neither did Sage.

After training, Ferry avoided lingering around the stables for fear of running into Oona. He would not know what to do or say after what had happened between them. It was hard for him to call what happened a kiss because, in his mind, a kiss, a real kiss meant two people had to take part in it. And he'd only been a tool she had practiced her kisses on. Her sweet, breathtaking kisses...

 Ferry quickly dismissed the thought because, every time he thought of her kisses, so passionate, but somehow calculated and daring, he felt a slight flutter in his stomach that he did not know, nor want to describe. So it was better to pretend nothing had happened.

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