I tried to make sense out of it. Eavan had taken our blood to make a fake trail, but for who? I cast my mind back to those three days ago and wondered who would be looking for us. Quite a few Dark students probably. And maybe the Twilight cult had been following our movements as well. I wasn't sure how we had been moved form there to close to Dawnbridge in just a day. But of course I didn't know everything about the forest spirits, not by far. I glanced at Deirdre, slightly unsure what to think of this. And it looked like she did have some thoughts.
"You made yourself smell like us?"
Eavan nodded, moving her hand over the beak of the bird playfully. It snapped at her, but obviously not to really get her finger. It looked quite comfortable next to her and with us. It didn't find us worth being afraid for, or something.
"So, that's why you let it run over you instead of gathering it." Deirdre thought out loud for a moment. "But why hurt our hands an hold them together?"
Eavan suddenly shone of innocence so strongly that I immediately felt the charm. This was a sensitive subject, apparently, and Deirdre had asked the right question. When she spoke, I felt the charm so thickly that I knew something was wrong.
"Just to make it easier for me."
I had to force myself to blink and break some of the charm. "I don't believe you, stop the Charm, Eavan."
She looked hurt and, for just a moment, like a frail almost ugly creature. She was still her beautiful womanly self, but it was as if a thin film of filth was layered over her. It took me a moment to realise it was guilt, amplified by charm. That was how charm worked, you send out emotions by feeling them partly yourself. But as you had control, you could steer the effects it had on others and even change how they felt. It was a very tricky thing. Especially for me, as there was nothing material involved.
Deirdre glanced at me with a little proud smile that made me feel a lot better. "Eavan, tell us."
She moved her arm up and let the bird fly away. "Maeve won't like me doing this..."
She had our full attention.
"There are several reasons for it. The practical one was that I needed the both of you to feel... eh... good to make you sleep. There was no easier way than to connect you. As you both are very strongly entangled." Eavan took a deep breath after this, we both just looked at her with surprise.
"You could also call it the final test. It's very difficult for us to trust you."
Deirdre spoke softly. "Humans?"
Eavan nodded. "Yes. Blood doesn't lie. I'm not that good at charming but I can sense emotions very well. Especially through the blood or sex. And I didn't want to break your bond."
I blushed a little, a sideways glance confirmed Deirdre's cheeks were rosened as well. Eavan spoke more easily than we listened.
"You would have been left to your pursuers if you had any malice towards us. But you two have very little hatred inside of you. It's so rare, so beautiful for children so old." There was an edge to her voice, a hint of something deeper hidden that made me expect the next words.
"I love you both."
Being charmed by a nymph is one thing. Feeling her honest emotions intensely, send out through the chaos she felt, was something else. And then love. It wasn't infatuation, it was a deep love, appreciation of who we were. It was very unique to feel this, words would not have been able to express it any clearer than this. Even those four words she just spoke paled in comparison.
Eavan interrupted the glow. "I must go."
Before we could really respond she left us standing, a little confused, while she disappeared into the forest. There was just a remnant of sound as she headed deeper at great speed, but it faded quickly. I took a deep breath to clear my mind, body and soul. It was like a cold shower after the quick and intense changes of emotions of the past few minutes.
It was almost evening. If we hurried back we'd be barely on time for when they expected me. But did the Masters expect me to live still? It was something I was very tempted to find out. But we weren't going to sleep in the castle. I wasn't quite sure where yet, but the forest felt like a very valid option. But that was a worry for later.
We walked fast around the lake and into the forest, feeling a little jumpy but that was understandable. We followed the path until we got back to the edge of town. We went to the nearest entrance, which was on the wrong side of town for the Castle. but the fastest way for us. It was fairly crowded in the streets. But on foot we made really good progress. However, to my slight annoyance, twilight was set in the sky. Evening.
I didn't want to be late.
But I already was.