Chapter 6: Eyes on Us

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The night started to fall, and although the moon was bright, Rowan preferred not to travel without the advantage of daylight. We stopped at a modest inn by the roadside. Inside, it was warm and cozy, which was a pleasant change of environment after having sat on a saddle for hours with a cold wind whistling around our ears. The friendly woman behind the counter told us that she still had two adjacent rooms available and led us upstairs.

My room was small, but it contained all of the necessary items to guarantee a comfortable night: a single bed, a night stand with a candle, a chamber pot and a dressing table with a mirror hanging slightly askew above it. The owner also informed us that there was a separate bathroom in case we wanted to take a bath, but despite how delightful that sounded, I felt too exhausted for it. The only thing I wanted to do right now was to drop down on the bed and go to sleep.

Rowan must have read my thoughts, because he asked, "Do you want to eat something before going to bed?"

I shook my head. "No, I'm not hungry."

"All right. I'll be in the room next door if you need me." He left and closed the door behind him.

I sat down on the bed, unable to stop a satisfied moan from escaping my lips when my sore bottom touched the soft mattress. Closing my eyes, I fell back into the pillow and surrendered myself to the alluring oblivion of sleep.

***

A strange, thumping sound following a steady rhythm woke me. I had no idea how much time had passed, but I guessed only a few hours since the moon was still high in the sky, accompanied by thousands of stars. The noise came from the wall behind the bed and I shoved closer to it to listen for the source of the sounds. With my ear pressed against the wall, I could also hear people groaning at an increasing volume. One voice was rather high and most likely belonged to a woman; the other was lower and definitely male.

Oh no.

I scurried away from the wall and covered my ears, disgusted. Apparently, the rooms in this inn were not only hired to travelers who wanted a good night's sleep, but were also used for ... some other nightly activities. By the Light, how much longer would I have to endure this?

For the rest of the night, it seemed. One round of lovemaking was not enough for my passionate neighbors, because every time the noise finally stopped and I started to drift off to sleep, they resumed their physical activities. I punched my pillow in an act of utter frustration, cursing the people in the other room. Did they never get tired?

The first rays of sunlight already peeked above the horizon by the time the thumping was replaced at last by faint snoring. Overwhelmed with fatigue, I fell asleep.

The second time I awoke, I heard someone pounding on my door. "Kenna, wake up. I want to leave as early as possible," Rowan said, his voice sounding muffled through the door.

"I don't care what you want," I grumbled. I turned around and pulled the covers over my head to shut him out.

Too bad. "Kenna!"

"YES, I'm awake." I slowly sat up straight and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. "But I won't leave this place without having breakfast first, I'm warning you."

"No problem. Just get dressed already. I'll be waiting for you downstairs."

"Ugh." If he was planning on bossing me around for the rest of our journey, he would be very disappointed. 

My hand crept up to my cheek to feel the bruise I'd gotten yesterday. I winced a little when I touched it, but at least it was no longer swollen. I'd never been very good at healing magic—which made sense now that I knew I was a Dark Sorceress—so the discoloration would probably be visible for a few more days.

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