I’m so scared that I can hardly move. That almost hit my head! I slowly look up and see the arrow sticking out of the tree. At least I know that an animal wasn’t after me. So, who could have shot the arrow? Was it one of the hunters from the village that thought that I was an intruder? Why would they be this close to the lake and not further in the forest? It has to be someone else, but I don’t know anyone else who’d be out at this time. Now that I think about it, there’s only one person who’d try something like this.
“Aw, too bad I missed,” says a shadow from a behind the trees. The sun is lower so not much of the light is coming through the trees but I can still make out the outline of Maeren’s face and the last bits of light scattered across his hair. “Maybe I’ll get lucky next time.”
We’re deep enough in the forest to where no one would hear if something happened to him. He could have actually hurt me if he wasn’t careful. I pull the arrow out of the tree and examine it. It’s surprisingly well made so I doubt he made it.
“Relax, I was just practicing. And Tetyh did say we have a problem with unwanted things getting in so I was doing my part to help.”
“Whether you like it or not, the others want me around so you’ll have to get used to seeing this face you like to stare at so much,” I hope he can see my expression through the darkness.
“I’ll be sure to aim right between your eyes next time,” he says, walking towards me.
“Maybe your lessons with your father didn’t go that well,” I say, still holding the arrow in my hand. “You should learn how to focus,” I throw the arrow back at him. It goes so fast and close to his head but he manages to catch it.
“Leave my father out of this,” he points the arrow back at me, saying so.
He really doesn’t like it when I mention Emerta. Interesting.
“You should relax,” I mock. “Or everything he taught you will go right out of your head.”
He gives me a cold stare then he turns his head.
“…you’re so annoying.”
I pretend I don’t hear him. “Do you really not like me or is it because your father doesn’t like me and Mother? Come on, I think deep down you don’t dislike me as much as you think.”
He turns to look at me then looks down. I think he knows that I’m right. No one I met today seemed to have a problem with me and Denchi and Tetyh recognize how great I am to have around so there’s no reason for him to not feel the same way. He looks back up at me and squints his eyes.
“You talk too much, you’re arrogant, and your smart mouth makes me want to punch you in the face.”
“But you didn’t say you didn’t like me,” I mention.
He doesn’t say anything after that and there’s nothing but silence between us. Darkness is setting in more and I’m trying to remember what animals Mother told me are in this part of the forest at night.
“Whatever,” he says with a huff. “Don’t you need to get home? Something out here might actually come after you. I already saw something in the dark after you ran off. And I’m not going to bother saving you, I might even watch.”
“And just when I thought that we had just gotten a little closer,” I step closer and grab the arrow in his hands. “They’re supposed to come by in a few days and since your father will be there, you’ll tag along too, right? So, see you soon.”
I tighten my grip on the arrow and snap it in half.
“You all should really make these a little stronger. I can help with that too.” I walk on and follow this newfound path home.
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