Maybe he’d go and pick up a book: reading was the only thing that would soothe him when he had thought himself into this state.
Dylan sat on the edge of his bed, running one hand over the back of the other. He couldn’t relax. He couldn’t rid himself of the thought of Yalanda. He’d been waiting for this moment for so long: had pictured her so many ways. He’d known she’d be strange. That unseelie meant unlike. But still, he’d not known what that truly meant. It wasn’t even that her face differed: he’d seen many with that same kind of gaunt beauty. The eyes though. He’d never seen their like. The cool emptiness of them, like he was looking into shadows on water. She had been so silent, so cold. It had been like sitting opposite an absence.
All his plans of asking her what her homeland was like had dried up.
How were they meant to get along when he couldn’t even speak?
He got up and made his way over to the door. The palace was as silent as it always was in the early hours. He paused on the threshold, then wandered into the corridor. The twinkling blue globes that lit his wing were barely shining now: dulled to the level of twilight. Without a goal in mind, he moved quietly down the row of them and paused by a window. The scent of flowers from the garden gusted in around him and he breathed in deeply, trying to force out the panic in his chest. Maybe he’d go and pick up a book: reading was the only thing that would soothe him when he had thought himself into this state.
A noise made him turn. A figure stood at the end of the hallway, lit from behind by the golden glow of more globes. If he’d not been thinking about her for hours, he probably wouldn’t have recognised her from this distance. And if he hadn’t been thinking about her so fixedly for all that time, he certainly wouldn’t have done what he did next.
He moved very softly down the golden lit corridor. She was far up ahead, her white gown sweeping the floor behind her. Now and again, she’d stop and look to either side, though never behind her. It took him a while to realise she was scrutinising each door and side passage she came to. But what was she looking for? Was she lost? She didn’t seem panicked enough.
A nebulous suspicion of ‘something’ rooted in his chest. She might be here on ‘good faith’. But what did good faith really mean to a member of the unseelie court? They followed no rules, had no sense of morality. Why should agreements and trust have any place in their dealings? He sped up in time to see her duck into a narrower passage, one that lead towards the observatory. And his father’s study.
Dylan was striding now but was brought up short as his quarry finally seemed to realise his presence. She turned, the emerald light of a globe casting glimmering shapes over her shoulders and purple-black hair. He met those empty eyes which now seemed to be lit with a spark of defiance. Only when she glanced away did he remember
“Can I aid you in finding your way back to your room?” he asked, unable to keep the coldness out of his tone.
“I was searching for a library,” she replied in kind.
“I cannot sleep,” she tossed her head like a horse that didn’t want to be in its stable, “Reading often helps.” She met his gaze again. She looked restless and unsure, like she was standing on ground she didn’t quite trust. It was Dylan who dropped his eyes this time.
“Well…in that case, allow me to assist you.”