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work and sat down on the settee he had just settled himself on, with a view of not moving, apart from trips to the kitchen and bathroom, for the entirety of the evening. “You’re not working this evening.” She stated. “I know. Hence the TV control, bottles of beer, and bag of Doritos, all of which I plan on making good friends with this evening.” He replied pointing to each item on the coffee table as he spoke.
Rosa paused. “You should go out.” “Why?” Asked Lysa. “To get out the apartment. All you do is work and sleep. Go out for a change, go to a pub, meet people.” Said Rosa cheerfully. Lys rubbed his forehead. “Rosa, I work in a pub. I meet people all the time. I want to relax here tonight.”
“You need to have some fun!” Pointed out Rosa. “Working isn’t fun. Meeting customers isn’t fun! Going out and being on the other side of the bar and meeting people socially is fun! Go out Lysander, just this one evening. Please.” Lysander looked at her shrewdly. “Why are you suddenly pushing this?” “I’m worried that you’re working too hard and that you need to take a break to have fun.” Said Rosalind. “And...?”
Rosa sighed. “And Hayley’s coming over this evening and I would really rather we have the place to ourselves.” She admitted. “But I am worried about you.” She put her hand on his. “Please Lys, go someplace that isn’t this apartment, the supermarket or Col’s.” As he looked into his sister’s obsidian eyes, Lysander found himself nodding. “Ok Rosa. I’ll go out tonight. I’ll be back as late as I can. Not before half eleven anyway.” She hugged him. “Thanks Lysa.” “Don’t...” “Yeah I know.” She smiled fondly at him, before jumping up and heading to her bedroom to decide what to wear.
Thirty minutes later, Lysander had showered, shaved, styled his hair, was wearing clean clothes and walking down the road away from the flat he shared with his sister. He’d had a grumble to himself in the shower about having to go out, but by the time he had emerged from the bathroom to find Rosa shoving two “the Best” ready meals in the oven, while a bottle of red wine stood breathing on the side, he’d stopped. Now he was almost looking forward to his evening. Almost.
He knew one thing though. He wasn’t going to Col’s tonight if he wasn’t working, and so he walked past it without a second glance.
He walked past a couple of dives and dodgy looking pubs and clubs before ending up in front of a nondescript building that proclaimed itself to be the Plough. It didn’t look particularly welcoming, but it sounded busy, and the clientele he could see through the window looked more appealing than that of the other pubs and bars he’d passed. He pushed open the door and went inside.
It was dark, and noisy, but it looked ok, and so he found a spot at the bar. “What would you like?” Asked the barmaid, a weary smile on her face. Lys looked at the bottled beers he could see in the coolers. “Er, bottle of Heineken please.” “There you go love.” The barmaid said placing his beer on the bar and taking his money.
He lent back on the bar and took a look around. Most the seats were occupied, but his eyes settled on the pool tables. It had been ages since he’d played, and he wandered over to take a look at what was going on.
He stood watching the end of the current game, and once it had ended, one of the other spectators turned to him. “Fancy a game?” “Oh, it’s been a while since I last played.” He replied with a smile. “Doesn’t matter mate. It’s only for fun.” Said the man with a shrug. Lysa nodded. “Ok, why not.”
Lysander may have been out of practise, but he wasn’t as bad as he thought he would be.
After he had won his second game, he put the cue on the table. “Ok, that’s it for now. I’m going to get another drink, anyone want one?” “No, it’s fine thanks Lys.” Said his opponent. “Nah, I’m good.” Shouted another man from where he was setting up the table for a new game. With no one wanting one, he left the group to its next game and headed to the bar.
He was actually having fun. A lot of fun, and Rosa had been right, he had needed to. He could feel how much good it was doing him: he felt more relaxed than he had in months, and he had only been here a couple of hours.
He got his drink and looked back over at the pool tables. Two new games had started, but he didn’t feel like watching this time. Instead he made his way to an empty seat at a table and sat down.
He rubbed at the label on his beer bottle with his thumb. Yeah, he really should have done this sooner, rather than having to wait for Rosa to chuck him out of the flat because she wanted to spend some time there with Hayley. He took a sip of his beer and looked round at crowd watching the pool games, before turning his head to look the other way.
He found himself looking straight at probably the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. And she was looking right at him. As soon as she realised he had seen her looking at him, she glanced away, and he quickly did the same, continuing to watch her out the corner of his eye.
He saw her look at him again once she thought he wasn’t looking at her. He felt himself start to smile, as all his previous thoughts about not dating anyone in Flinton fled at the thought of perhaps asking her out on a date. Of course she could be staring at him because of his ears, or because she thought he was hideously ugly, but...if she wasn’t...
He stood up, picked up his beer and walked the short distance to her table. “Do you mind if I sit here?” She looked up at him, her dark eyes wide with shock, and something he couldn’t quite put his finger on, but was quickly suppressed. She shook her head. “No, please, sit.”
He did so, and turned to look at her. He’d been wrong. She wasn’t probably the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Her features themselves weren’t perfect: her mouth was slightly too full, her chin too narrow and her nose too prominent, but somehow the combination of them was perfect, especially when combined with her dusky skin and ebony hair.
He found himself casting around for something to say, and settled on the first thing to land on his tongue. “So, do you come here often?”
The realisation of what he had just said reached his brain as soon as he had finished saying it and he let out an embarrassed laugh. “I can’t believe I just said that. Of all the things I could say to start off a conversation, I had to say the most clichéd and overused line out there.”
He realised that she was laughing too. “Yes you did. But it is far from being the worst opening line I have ever heard, never mind the worst chat up up line that’s been used on me tonight.” “Oh really? Now you have me intrigued. What’s the worst pick up line you’ve heard tonight then?”
She sipped at her drink, before replying a wry smile on her face. “This guy came up to me, stood right next to me and said ‘if I said you have a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?’” Lysander laughed. “Seriously? He said that?” She nodded. “Yup.” “Did he really think it would work?” She laughed. “Well, he seemed very confident when he came up to me, so I would say yes, he did.”
Lys shook his head.. “I really can’t believe that. Oh well, it makes my opening line look like Shakespeare in comparison.” “Oh I wouldn’t go that far...” Said Celeste with a wicked smile on her face.
Lysander let out a snort. “Fine then. I suppose at least I didn't ask you if you were around here.” “True. Although, I think that that is a question I could legitimately ask you since, judging from your accent, you’re not from around here. It sounds almost...” She paused, her fingers caressing the stem of her wine glass. “Northern.”
Lysander let out another laugh. “Northern? No, I’ve never been north of Riverblossom Hills in my life.” He missed the look of relief that crossed her features at these words. “No, I’m originally from Veronaville, but, apart from three years at college, I’ve been travelling around since I was sixteen. I guess my accent’s got a little muddled along the way.”
Celeste nodded. “That’ll be it then. So, if you don’t mind me asking, why have you been travelling since you were sixteen?” Lysander took a swig of his drink as he thought about how to answer. He had no intention of going into the events that had occurred the night before he had left home, but he also didn’t want to not answer her question. “I don’t mind you asking. It’s difficult to explain, but all my siblings and I, we...had this compulsion to leave home, to hit the open road and see where we ended up.” Celeste nodded. “You don’t have to tell me the reason you left if you don’t want to.”
He shot her a smile. “It’s fine, like I say, we all felt compelled to leave, so we did. We all bundled into the car one day and left. We travelled together for a while, but, I guess it was inevitable that we ended up going our separate ways. Hero decided to seek put a new life in a different dimension, last I heard from Sebastian, he was at Acadamie Le Tour, as for Portia, well she’s Portia. Rosalind, my twin, and I have stuck together though.”
“And you’ve kept travelling?” He nodded. “Yup. Moving from town to town, never staying in one place longer than a couple of months. Just me and Rosa and Spot, our dog, stopping only when we need money.” “Why do you keep going?” She asked.
He looked at her. “I’ve never found a reason to stay anywhere longer than a few months. Nowhere has ever felt like home, you know?” He explained, giving his standard answer, but as he did so, he realised that in this girl he might find that reason. Rosa looked like she wanted to stay with Hayley, and he wouldn’t mind staying with this girl, and seeing what would happen. And he didn’t even know her name.
“So,” he said, “what about you? Are you from Flinton?” “Oh good god, no.” She replied. “I’m from a little village, further down the country. I guess I ended up here just as you have: I was travelling and ran out of money, so I ended up getting a job here. I’ve just never left.”
He nodded. “Yeah, makes sense. I’m getting the feeling that this town is the sort of place you end up when you have no where else to go. I’m sorry, I don’t even know your name.” “Celeste Harris.” She said smiling. “Hi Celeste, I’m Lysander Doran.”
Her smile vanished and the colour drained from her face as he spoke. “Are you alright?” He asked concerned.
She didn’t hear him. “I have to go.” She blurted out standing up suddenly. “What? Why?” Confusion flooded his features as he watched her bolt for the door. He was out of his seat only a few seconds after the door had closed behind her.
Outside Celeste was walking quickly away from the pub, heading for a circuitous route home. She’d known he was at least part elf: his ears and brow were dead giveaways, and they were one of the reasons she had been looking at him, but she’d never thought he was a Doran. Even when he had said he was from Veronaville, she hadn’t clicked. And because he was a Doran, she had to get away from him: it was too dangerous for her to be near him. Hell, it was dangerous for her to be in the same town as a Doran.
She chewed at her lip as she walked, It should turn out ok in the end, even if there were Dorans in town: Lysander had said they never stayed long anywhere, so hopefully in a few weeks they would be gone, and she would be able to start to relax again. Even as she thought this, Celeste felt a pang. She’d been enjoying talking to him a lot. She’d liked his sense of humour, and the way he’d smiled, and his twinkly sky-blue eyes. But he was a Doran.
“Celeste, please, wait!” She heard Lysander calling her and turned to face him. “Please, leave me alone!” She shouted back, before turning on her heel and setting off even quicker.
“Please, at least tell me why you are suddenly running from me.” Shouted back Lysander, setting off after her. “You’re a Doran.” She said, quickening her pace. “Celeste?” Lys lengthened his stride to try to catch her.
Hearing his footsteps quicken, Celeste broke into a run.
“Please, Lysander, just leave me alone.” Shouted Celeste over her shoulder. “Not without an explanation!” Replied Lysa. Celeste turned slightly. “I can’t give you that! I’m sorry, I really am.”
As she tried to turn back so she was running in a straight line again, the toe of her boot, caught on an uneven paving slab, and she went sprawling. There was a sickening crack and she let out a scream as she fell.
A dozen or so paces behind her, Lysa faltered, as he watched her fall, before rushing over to her.
“Please, leave me.” Sobbed Celeste as he approached her, and he looked at her in astonishment. Here she was, in obvious pain, and the first thing on her mind, was telling him to go. He shook his head grimly and replied “No. You’re hurt, I’m not leaving you like this.” “Just call an ambulance or something and go. Please.” She begged, but Lysander was already crouching down and looking at her ankle.
“Shush.” He said as he concentrated on it, seeing past the material of her jeans leg, through her flesh to the broken bones beneath. “Lysander...” She started again. “Shush.” He said again, and this time she fell silent.
Lysander held out his hands, hovering just above her leg and doubled his concentration, moving them in slow, but precise movements. As he did so, he could see the bones move back to their proper alignments and start to knit back together.
Celeste gasped at the sudden warmth flooding through her leg, and the fact that the pain was ebbing away.
After a minute or so, Lysander sat down, crossed his legs and looked at her. “There, all better now.” Celeste flexed the joint experimentally and looked at him in amazement. “How did you do that?” Lysander shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s something I’ve always been able to do.” He ran his hand through his hair. “Look, if you want to run, I won’t stop you .” He let out a little laugh. “I’m too tired to chase you now.”
Celeste pulled her knees up to her chest and made no move to run, even though her head was telling her to do just that. “I don’t think that would show much gratitude.” She said eventually. He gave a small smile. “You wouldn’t have tripped if I hadn’t been chasing you. Look, please tell me, why were you running?”
She swallowed and looked down at the pavement. He’d healed her broken ankle, an explanation was the least she owed him. “You’re a Doran.”
“So you said, but I don’t see how that’s relevant.” Said Lysander confused. “You’ll...bring them here. They’ll come looking for you.” Lysander looked at her nonplussed. “Who?”
“The elves from the North Forest.”
“But why...?” He glimpsed something before he could finish asking why she was so afraid of the elves, and lent forward. He brushed aside a lock of her hair, to reveal a delicately pointed ear. He sat back. “You’re a half-breed, like me.” He stated.
She nodded. “Yes. My mother is an elf, not that I’ve ever met her, my father was human.” “Was?” She paused. “He was killed by an elf from the North Forest.” Lysa was silent for a moment. “I’m sorry.” He said eventually, looking down at the pavement. “I had no idea.”
She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, a man standing on the other side of the road shouted “Love, are you alright? Is he bothering you?” Both of them looked up to realise that a small crowd had spilled out of the nightclub opposite and were now watching what was going on. Lysander looked back at Celeste, to see what her answer would be. One word from her, and things could get very nasty for him by the looks of it.
She shook her head, and forced a smile onto her face. “No, it’s fine. I tripped and am a bit shaken. He’s making sure I’m alright. In fact, I think I should be able to stand now.” “You sure love?” Shouted the man again. “Positive.” She replied as she started to get to her feet.
Lysander stood up, and offered her a hand which she took, much to his surprise. “We have to discuss this.” He said quietly “What is there to discuss?” She asked. “We can’t leave it at that.” Pointed out Lys. “I have questions, not about your family,” he added quickly, “but about why you are so afraid of my family.”
“I’ve told you.” He shook his head. “No you haven’t, not really. Why are you so sure the elves will be looking for me, for instance.”
Celeste nodded. “Perhaps you’re right, but we can’t discuss this on in public, and...I’m not inviting you back to my place.” “I wouldn’t expect you to. We’ll go to mine. My sister’s there, so it will save me from having to explain to her too.” Celeste nodded again. “Ok, fine. We’ll go to your place.”
They set off once more, but this time it was side by side at a walking pace, not as a chase. ‘Oh, Rosa is going to be so mad at me.’ Thought Lysander as they passed the arcade.
As they got nearer to the flat, they ended up walking through an even more derelict and run down area than they had. Lysander was absurdly gratified to notice that Celeste had, unconsciously moved closer to him. ‘That’s great Lys,’ he thought, ‘the girl’s scared half to death by the very mention of your name, and you’re happy because your manly ego is being stroked by the fact that she has moved closer to you, as if for protection.’
As he led the way to the stairs of the block of flats, Celeste asked “you live here?” “Yes,” he said over his shoulder, “it’s all we could afford when we arrived here.” As he continued to the stairs, he missed the pained expression that passed over her face.
“I warn you,” said Lysa as they got to the top of the stairs, “my sister’s probably not going to be happy. She’s got a date over and...” He trailed off. “Oh. I’m sorry.” Said Celeste quietly. “Don’t be.” He answered. “She needs to hear what you have to say as much as I do.”
Lysander put his key in the lock, took a deep breath and pushed the door open. “Rosa!” He called as he walked through the door. “Ros...oh.” His eyes alighted on the tangled forms of his sister and Hayley on the couch. He averted his eyes and coughed. “Sorry Rosa, we have to talk.”
Rosa untangled herself from her girlfriend, and strode across the room, pulling her top down as she did so. She grabbed her brother’s arm and pulled him into the alcove between the kitchen and bathroom. “What are you doing back so early. You promised.” Her coal black eyes flashed with uncharacteristic anger as she spoke.
“Rosa, I’m sorry.” He put his hand on her arm. “You know I wouldn’t have come home early if I didn’t have a good reason.” She said and did nothing in response to this. “Look,” he continued, “I met this girl...”
Rosa looked over his shoulder to see Celeste framed in the doorway. “Then go back to her place.” she hissed. “It’s not like that.” He hissed back, forcing his mind away from thoughts that were like that. “When I told her my name, she freaked out and ran.”
Rosa scratched at her arm. “Why’d ‘Lysander‘ make her run?” “Not ‘Lysander.’ ‘Doran.’ She’s a half-breed like us, and I think we need to talk to her.” Rosa’s eyes were troubled as she once again looked towards the girl standing in the door. “You think she knows something about the elves?” She whispered. Lysa nodded. “Yes.”
“I really am sorry to disturb your date with Hayley.” He said. “I know you are. And...I think maybe it’s time Hayley heard about our family anyway.” Replied Rosa quietly. Her brother looked at her sharply. “Rosa are you sure? It’s not something we can share with just anyone you know.”
Anger flooded her features again. “Hayley’s not ‘just anyone’ Lysa.”
“Bad choice of words.” Apologised Lysander. “What I meant, is our family history isn't something to share lightly. It could cause her to run.”
Rosa looked him square in the eye. “I know, but it won’t.” She smiled. “I think she loves me Lysa, so she won’t run. If she does, then she doesn't love me after all, but she won’t because she does.” She said with conviction. Lys nodded. “Ok then. We’ll ask her if she wants to stay, and we’ll see what Celeste has to say.”
Lysa glanced over at Hayley as he finished his sentence to find she was looking at him intently. He swallowed nervously; he didn’t know why, but her looking at him like that was starting to make him feel uneasy. Something must have shown on his face, because her frown relaxed and she flashed him a brilliant smile. ‘Perhaps she’s just miffed that I’ve returned early,’ he thought. ‘I would be too.’
The twins walked towards their two guests. “Hayley.” Said Rosa as she continued onto the couch and sat down. “We have to have a family conference.” “Oh, I’ll go then.” Said the glamorous blonde, making to get up from the couch. “No, don’t. Unless you want to that is, because there are things you need to know about my family if we are to have any sort of long term relationship. Things I should perhaps have told you before.” Said Rosa. “The thing is... The thing is...” She looked at her twin for help as she struggled to find the words.
“The thing is, there are things in our past that are...unpleasant.” Said Lysa. “Things that might make it dangerous for you to be with Rosa, but they are things you need to know.”
Hayley turned to look at Rosa. “Rosa, it doesn't matter what you tell me tonight. It won’t change the way I feel about you.” Rosa’s face relaxed into a smile. “Good. Because I don’t want you to go anywhere.” She leant forward to kiss Hayley.
Lysander coughed as he walked over, moved the wine glasses and sat on the coffee table, waving a hand at the other chair for Celeste to sit on.
Hayley and Rosa stopped kissing, and Rosa looked at Lysander, wanting him to start the conversation. He took the cue. “Hayley, we’re not exactly like most families. We obviously have alien blood, Rosa’s skin and eyes are a dead giveaway on that front, but we also have elven blood.” “You’re elves?” Asked the blonde, suspiciously.
“Half-breeds.” Confirmed Lysander. “And, that is something that is...frowned upon by the elves of the North Forest.” Celeste snorted. “Understatement of the year Lysander.” “Yes.” Agreed Lys.
“The elves of the North Forest hate half-breeds like us with a passion.” He explained further. “They’re often abandoned and left to die by their parents. If they’re lucky they’re found and brought up by adoptive parents.”
“That’s...awful.” Said Hayley. “Is that why you could be dangerous to me Rosa? Because you’re hated by these elves.” Rosa nodded. “But there is more to it than even that Hayley.” She said quietly. “What do you mean? What more can there be?” “A lot.” Rosa looked at her brother again.
“Our family has been running from them for generations now. We seem to have become a thorn in their side and they seem determined to wipe us out. Rosa and I have already survived one attempt they made on our lives, the night before we left home, and we know our mom ran from them when she was teenager too.“ Said Lys. He looked at Celeste, who had been studying the floor intently while she had listened to him. “I want to hear what you have to say now Celeste, since I think it’s become bigger than we realise.”
Celeste looked up, met his eyes and nodded. “The elves of the North Forest are obsessed with your family. There was a family living in my village called the Dolans. They were human, but one night a group of elves turned up an slaughtered them, mistaking them for descendants of Carli Doran. Then they came looking for my father and I.” Celeste paused at the memory. “Why you?” Asked Hayley quietly.
“I’m a half breed too.” Admitted Celeste reluctantly. “Dad managed to buy me enough time to get away, but they killed him. That’s the point, that’s why I reacted as I did.” She said looking straight back at Lysander. “The elves come looking for the Dorans, but they go after any half breed they come across. I’m not safe if I’m around you.”
Lysander looked at her, his expression pained. “I’m sorry Celeste.” He whispered. She shook her head sadly, touched by the look in his eyes. “It’s not really your fault. You can’t help being a Doran, nor can you help the elves reactions.”
A thought seemed to suddenly occur to Rosa, and she looked at Celeste. “But Lysander and I are protected by wards. Mom set them before we left home. The elves can’t find us.” “Wards are finite.” Replied Celeste. “If they’re not continually renewed, they break down completely, or expire after a set time period.”
Rosa looked at her brother aghast, only to find he was looking at her with a grim look on her face. “Lysa, our wards could be gone! We could be unprotected!” He just continued to look at her with a steady gaze. Realisation dawned on her features. “You knew?”
“I guessed.” He confirmed. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they went when we left university.” Celeste nodded, looking thoughtful. “That would make sense. It’s an important milestone, right where you became adults.”
Rosa looked distraught. “We’ve been unprotected the last three years?” She asked breathlessly. Lysa nodded. “I think so.” “B.but...” Rosa started to hyperventilate, but before Lysander could get up off his perch and go to her, Hayley put her arm around her.”
“It’s ok Rosa. Nothing bad has happened in that time, and there's no guarantee anything bad will happen now. We’ll just have to take things one day at a time.” “We?” Asked Rosa hesitantly. “You don’t want to leave me?” “I keep telling you, nothing can change how I feel about you.” Replied Hayley.
Lysander couldn’t suppress the smile that pulled at his mouth at the tender look his sister gave her girlfriend. Rosa really did care for Hayley, that much was obvious and it seemed as if those feelings were reciprocated. He snuck a glance out the corner of his eye at Celeste and sighed quietly over what might have been.
Celeste got up from her chair. “I should go. I don’t think I can tell you any more.” “I’ll walk with you as far as the pub.” Said Lysa, getting up too. Celeste hesitated before nodding. She didn’t like the idea of walking through the neighbourhood on her own, and she was feeling more and more ashamed about her earlier reaction on hearing his surname. There was another reason too, niggling away at the back of her mind, but she pushed it away: she liked him, and wanted to spend a bit more time with him. “I’ll be back in a bit Rosa.” Said Lys, but his sister didn’t hear him.
Lysander and Celeste walked in silence through the worst bits of the neighbourhood, Celeste again staying close to Lys, but this time he was too preoccupied thinking about what Celeste had said to enjoy it. He was the first to break their silence as they emerged onto a nicer street. “I’m sorry. I can remember the fear I felt that night Oberon’s thugs came to try to kill me and my siblings, the panic when Sebastian said they were outside and we stood there wondering what to do, how we were going to get away. It’s never occurred to me that there are others who have gone through the same. That maybe they weren't as lucky as us, and that they didn’t get away.”
Celeste shook her head. “I’m the one who should be apologising. I completely over-reacted when I heard your surname. You and your family never asked for this persecution, and you certainly aren’t to blame for my father or anyone else's deaths. The ones who are to blame are the elves. I shouldn’t have run like I did, I’m sorry.” “I know you are, and I do understand your reaction, honest.” The two of them lapsed into silence again, but the slight awkwardness that had been present before had gone.
When they reached the Plough, they stopped and Lys looked at her. “I said I’d see you as far as here. Are you ok walking on your own home?” She nodded. “Yes, I'll be fine. Thanks.”
Lysander opened his mouth, then closed it again before blurting out “maybe we should exchange numbers so we can keep in contact and, I don’t know, warn each other if we hear about any elves around here.” It sounded preposterous to his ears, and he was surprised when she nodded and got her mobile phone out of her back pocket.
After they had programmed each other’s numbers into their phones, Lysa said “you know, in other circumstances I’d be asking for your number with a mind to ask you on a date.” Celeste gave a small smile. “In other circumstances I’d be giving you my number in the hope you would call and ask me on that date.” “Damn these circumstances.” Muttered Lys. “Agreed.”
They stood looking at each other for a long moment before Celeste looked away. “I really should go, it’s getting really late.” “Bye Celeste.” “Goodbye Lysander.” She turned, and walked away with a heavy heart, as he watched her go, his heart equally as heavy.
While Lys and Celeste were saying goodbye, Rosalind was kissing Hayley goodnight. “Are you sure knowing what you now do about my family doesn’t make you want to leave me?” “I’m sure.” Replied the blonde. “Rosa, nothing I could find out could ever change how I really feel about you. I have to go, I’ll call you tomorrow.” Rosa nodded. “Speak to you tomorrow. I love you.” “I know.” Hayley smiled, and headed for the stairs.
She made it to the ground floor before she raised an eyebrow. The old crone had been right: the girl was a half breed, not an alien, and as a bonus, she was a Doran. Hayley scratched the tip of her ear. The crone was going to be very happy to hear what she had found out.
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