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Serilda pressed a hand to the sides of her leather jerkin. She’d forgotten about the hunting gear. “You don’t like it?”
Gild’s response was a grunt, which she did not know how to interpret. “You know,” he said, “this would be easier if you could just …”
Serilda heard a finger snap.
Then, silence.
“Gild?” She reached for him, but her hand met empty space, then the back of the wardrobe.
A creak of a door was followed by a flood of light. Serilda threw up her arm to protect her eyes.
“Come on,” said Gild, reaching in and grabbing her arm. He tugged her out beside him. “Do you think you could try?”
“Try what?” she said, squinting as her eyes adjusted to the pink light filtering in through the windows. Twilight was approaching. “Doing your … thing?” She snapped her fingers in imitation.
“Exactly. You’ve got to learn sooner or later.”
“Do I, though?”
“Just try it. Meet me in the gatehouse.”
No sooner had he said it than he vanished.
Serilda glowered. “Show-off.” But her words were met by another howl, much closer than before. “Fine. No harm in trying.”
She squeezed her eyes shut and pictured the gatehouse above the drawbridge as clearly as she could. Then she raised her hand and gave a snap of her fingers.
And waited.
There was a change in the air, she was sure of it. The light filtering through her eyelids was different, dimmer.
She opened first one eye, and then the other.
Definitely not the gatehouse. Instead, Serilda had transported herself to what had been guardrooms before, but were now mostly for storage and—from the looks of the plain straw cots laid out along the floor—for housing some of the ghosts.
She held still a long moment, listening. When she heard no hounds and no footsteps, she approached the door and opened it a crack, peeking out into a small dining room with a long, narrow table and benches.
A face appeared on the other side of the door, inches from her own.
Serilda gasped and slammed the door shut, hurling herself backward.
She collided with a body that surely hadn’t been there before. Arms encircled her. She opened her mouth to scream.
“Shhh, it’s me!”
The scream caught in her throat.
Yanking herself away, she spun to see Gild beaming at her. “Sorry,” he said. “Didn’t mean to scare you.”
Pulse racing, she pointed at the closed door. “Was that you, too?”
“Yep. When you didn’t show up at the gatehouse, I thought maybe I’d try here. Gatehouse, guardhouse—so similar, right? It happened to me when I was first figuring out how to do this, too. So, it’s a start. And we were able to evade capture a while longer.”
Catching her breath, Serilda strained to listen again. She thought maybe she heard voices, but they were distant and might have been coming from the far-off courtyard for all she knew.
The courtyard. Where the dark ones who weren’t actively involved in hunting down the missing bride would now be gathered.
Where the servants would be gathered, finishing their preparations for the night.