The sun is shining upon this small stretch of Northwest. I’ve been dieting and exercising the whole week and I didn’t have a single headache. I haven’t checked my weight on the scale—according to the app I’m using, I’ll be three pound less in two years anyway—but I do feel lighter. Since the day promises to get better, after lunch, I’ll go out for a walk with Nero.
Allegra was already out of breath and looked at the steep climb with dread.
“To the right!” Julius pulled her out of the path and they fell on the ground and were swallowed by the tall grass. “Stay low.”
Heart pummeling against her ribcage, she kept her eyes on the brown dirt. “What is it?” Then she cleared her nose and the scent of the looters reached her nostrils. They were coming from the Royal Palace, but still on top of the hill. She was scared, but didn’t want her aura to show it. She forced her lungs to work and breathed in and out a few times before saying, “Did I tell you lately how thankful I am I got paired with an unseer?”
He squeezed her hand. “Of course you are.” If he had said out loud, “Good try,” it wouldn’t have been clearer.
The looters were descending, running toward them, but apart from the noise their shoes stomping on the ground made, no words were spoken. It was unsettling.
Julius pulled her closer to him. “They won’t find us.”
She smiled against his shirt at his attempt of calming her. A small pebble pocked her right tight and she focused on the discomfort rapidly morphing into pain. The ache grounded her in the moment and didn’t let her think of what would happen if the looters saw them.
“The grass is tall enough to cover us,” he whispered in her ear.
The sound of approaching steps made her heart skip several beats.