What's That Sound
This Isn't The 1800s
Your Average Girl
Don't Make Me Go
Dress-Up Game
Alone With the Enemy
Some Strange Magic
You Only Live Once
What Are You?
A Wrong Turn
A Deal's a Deal
The Secret Inside
Helicopter, Helicopter
Mind Your Manners
A Maze and Delight
The Lost Seed
A Secret Escape
Getting Hot Inside
Seriously, What The
Got a Bad Feeling
Let's Try Something
Breathing is Overrated
In the Meantime
Nice Day for a Drive
Can't Turn Back
A Secret Escape
We'd come to a larger part of the path, almost wide enough to be called a clearing, but the walls were some fifteen or twenty feet high and the shade between was still dark and cold. It was hard to make out what might have been lurking in the shadows between the leaves.

"My mother's animus," muttered Mercurius, finally dropping his hand from my mouth as a large serpent slithered out and across the path before disappearing into the leaves and branches beyond.

The fact that his mother's animus was a snake probably shouldn't have surprised me, considering the shape of the trimmed bushes back by the front door, but it occured to me then that he might have been related to the guy fighting Chance.

"Was that a relative?" I asked, then clarified, "The big guy in the fight."

Mercurius huffed, turning away. "Only by blood."

I didn't know what to make of that, and conversation lulled while I racked my mind for the proper response.

I could only breathe easy again when at last we exited the maze at the other size. As we did, Mercurius stopped and said, "I'll give you one piece of advice, and I suggest you take it. This maze is safe enough when you're with me, but be careful who else you follow in."

It wasn't like I really had any plans to wander onto his property by myself, but the fact that he seemed genuinely concerned surprised me.

Maybe there was more to Mercurius than I'd given him credit for.

* * *

As I lay awake that night, I thought about what Mercurius had said. He wouldn't tell me what he meant by the Seed, but maybe Chance would. After all, being a half-demon himself and having his own animus, he had to be pretty involved in the lore.

But the problem was, I didn't have any way to contact him. The only places I'd seen him had been by accident.

Except for his house, that it. And I was pretty sure I could remember the way back on foot.

That's how I decided I was going to go find him. Trouble was, I already knew my parents were tracking my phone, so I was going to have to leave it home. Wandering around the dark streets at night was not exactly a comforting idea, but it was the only one I had. I didn't think I'd see Chance again if I just waited around. After all, he had been keeping his distance when we parted ways at Addi's.

Well, that was that. I was going to have to sneak out.

I'd never snuck out before, and as bad as I felt for doing it, I reminded myself that my parents had been the first to break trust. At least they could have talked to me about it before they went ahead and started tracking my every move through my phone. I couldn't be doing anything more wrong than that. It was just creepy.

Still, there was no speed slow enough to open the balcony door without the hinges creaking just loud enough to make me worry.

I was so tensed-up that when a familiar voice said from above, "Going out so late?" I nearly jumped out of my skin. My heart skipped so fast in my chest I could hardly breathe, even when I saw who it was.

Chance was perched on the edge of the rooftop deck, balanced with one leg dangling over.

Grinning, he said, "Shall I pull you up again?"

- - -

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© Hopeful Romantic ,
книга «Just a Kiss».