Bethany stared in fascinated wonder as the Centaurs led her past a dark stream. Twelve ornate lamps stood sentinel to the chuckling water on a path made of mossy rocks. In the light, she swore she could hear mournful feminine voices singing.
The big centaur noticed the direction of her gaze. “Take a lesson from them.”
“Those were the Twelve Dancing Princesses. When they entered the Dryad’s forest without permission, the local Dryad’s Garden turned them into lamps to warn other humans away.”
Bethany gulped. “What about me?”
“That is for the Council of the Elders to decide.”
Fear trickled down her back. She hadn’t come here on purpose. The Princesses had defied their father, and evidently the Dryad’s Garden, to visit here, but Bethany had stumbled across it by mistake. They wouldn’t punish her for that, would they?
Looking into the scowling face of her escort, her hope drained away. Bethany’s gaze drifted up into the night sky, framed by pale white branches of dead trees. They looked like skeletal fingers desperately seeking sustenance. She shivered.
“This place is creepy.”
“This is the Sacred Grove. Do not stray from my side.”
“Why?” Bethany crowded closer.“The Dryads’ response will be swift and deadly.”
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