30. Highclere, The Furnace House

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Lager pushes aside a huge Bush to reveal the volcano, which I hadn't realized in my drunken state we had been approaching.

"You guys live in a volcano?" I ask, very confused. "Are you nymphs?"

Lager smiles shaking his head. "If you're referring to the creatures from Greek myths, unfortunately no, we are not."

I look back at the volcano, when something catches my eye. At the base of it is a structure built into the side of the volcano. It must be the entrance. Now that I pay more attention, all along the side of the volcano is random places are huge Windows and balconies. It's very stunning, and I would have probably stared at it in awe for hours if I wasn't drunk.

"What are we waiting for? Let's go!" I exclaim, grabbing his hand and trying to tug him along. He walks forward at his own pace though and my relentless tugging does nothing. Finally, I  let go of his hand completely and surge forward, only to almost run into a brick wall.

I stare at it in confusion. How did that get there?

I turn to the right to go around it, but another wall appears in front of me. I look back and discover the first wall I had nearly run into has disappeared.

Frustrated, I try again to make a move towards the volcano,  but a wall yet again appears out of thin air. I hear a very soft chuckle and glare over at Lager.

"This is your doing." I accuse, crossing my arms and pouting. I thought friends were supposed to be nice. Why isn't he letting me go?

Then, an idea pops into my head.

"Darklings create illusions, right?"

"That is correct." Lager nods, watching me intently.

I smirk, before taking a step back and running straight for the wall, imagining how I would go through it like it was air, only that doesn't happen.

Instead I slam into the wall, which is very much solid and a bright light flashes behind my eyes as I crumble to the ground.

"Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch." I moan, rubbing my head.

"Idiot." I hear Lager mutter as he jogs over to me. He kneels down, pulling my arms away gently from my head. "Are you alright?"

I jerk my right hand out of his and try to slap him, but he dodges, grabbing it again in a firm grasp. "What was that for?"

I grunt, kicking my legs and struggling to break free.

"That was for calling me an Idiot! And letting me run into a solid wall! I thought it was an illusion!" I yell, still struggling.

"Can you-argh-stay still for-oomph-one second!?" He nearly growls at the end as I continue pushing his face away with my foot.

"Let. Me. Go!" I scream like a little girl. Finally he released his hold on me and I scramble away, baring my teeth at him like an animal. He sits back on his feet, rubbing his face with both hands in an exhausted way.

"Let it wear off soon, I beg you." He utters, looking up at the sky.

"Hey I'm down here." I retort, watching his golden eyes snap to me. "Now why weren't those walls illusions?"

"They were," he says, dusting his black shirt off. "Until they weren't."

"That doesn't make any sense, and I should know, I'm drunk." I whine.

You really don't know much about our kind, do you?" He asks, before sighing. "I'm Darkling High Commander for a reason you know. My abilities exceed those of the other Darklings. A regular Darkling can create illusions, just like I can, but something they cannot do that I can if I may wish to, is turn those illusions into a reality."

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