The three stood, hands linked. They moved slowly, carefully. One wrong move and they risked hitting the centre, and the violent backlash that would come from it.
No amateur mage could have managed such a precise use of magic, but these three were all veterans, experienced practitioners of their craft. Slowly they cut away all the pieces of the spell until only the centre remained. Then, they cut off their efforts and opened their eyes.
The snow had stopped everywhere save for a small area in the town square surrounding the ice sculpture of Lilly. They had done it.
“That went well,” Isaac noted.
“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t dispel all of it,” Zero stated. “I suppose they’ll have to get used to the sculpture.”
“It might be good for them,” Moira said. “An eternal snow surrounding a grand sculpture of a beautiful maiden. Travelers will come to see it.”
“Perhaps,” Zero said. He walked away from the two. “Rachel, we’re going home!”
“Ahh the underground,” Reginald said. “You know, I’ve never been there.”
“We have,” Lysara declared. “On this trip too. Right, Bon?” Bonnie ignored her, keeping her eyes ahead.
“W… will your aunt be mad if we don’t stop by?” Lilly asked. “Maybe we should stop by her place again… just to make her happy.”
“Aunt Elaine is very busy,” Twila said. “She won’t mind if we pass through without seeing her.”
“We should stop by,” Reginald said. “After all, I would dearly love to meet your family, Fair Twila.”
“Why?” Twila asked.
“We don’t have time anyway,” Axra argued. “The longer it takes us to find these things the more danger Lilly’s in.”
“I could stop by her place and visit for all of us,” Velvet suggested.
“That wouldn’t be helpful,” Bonnie said. She turned to Axra. “It’s getting late, your Highness. I suggest we make camp.”
“That okay with you, Twila?” Axra asked.
“We probably should,” Twila conceded.
The group found a clear space and quickly set up camp.
“Hey, Bon…” Lysara began.
“I’m going to find more firewood,” Bonnie said, excusing herself.
“What’s up with them?” Twila wondered.
“I… I wouldn’t know,” Lilly said. “How would I?”
“Okay, so you do know,” Axra observed. “Come on, out with it.”
“It… it’s complicated,” Lilly said. “And, you know, not my business.”
Bonnie took her time gathering wood. It was all about control. She just had to force herself to not react so strongly to Lysara’s attention. How was something that sounded so easy so damn difficult?
Bonnie froze. Lysara had followed her. “Bon, what’s the deal? I thought we were friends so why are you ignoring me?”
Bonnie looked over into Lysara’s golden coloured eyes. Eyes that sparkled and pleaded. She felt her face flush. “Bon, talk to me, please.”
Bonnie abruptly turned away. “I’m here as a soldier for my princess. Nothing more. Extra relationships… friendships… they aren’t part of my duty.”
“So, you don’t care about anything aside from duty?” Lysara asked. She’d positioned herself back in Bonnie’s line of sight.
Bonnie took a step back and looked to the side. “What else is there to care about?” The words sounded weak even to her.
“Bon, is that really true?” Lysara asked. “Why won’t you look at me?”
“Gods you’re persistent!” Bonnie declared, forcing herself to look directly at Lysara. “I don’t have time for friends, okay?”
“Sorry,” Lysara said, looking at the ground. “I’ll leave you alone.”
She walked sadly away and Bonnie felt a terrible pain in her chest, tears coming to her eyes. This was for the best, she told herself. But… she’d hurt Lysara and seeing the pain in the young bard’s eyes… Bonnie dropped to her knees and hid her face in her hands, hoping that no one else would come to find her.