“Brahm,” I repeat, knowing my thoughts are nonsensical.
The marquis nods, his dark eyes on mine.
“Are we going to walk?” I ask weakly.
As if shaking himself, he moves with a start, leading me into the woods.
Creatures watch us from the brambles. I can see their glowing eyes from the corner of my vision, but every time I turn, they’re gone.
“What are they?” I finally ask, uneasy.
Brahm smiles. “Faunaweavers. They’re shy.”
“But they exist? I’m not losing my mind?”
He chuckles. “They exist. If you’re patient, and you stop trying to find them, they’ll come out.”
He flashes me a questioning look. “Define unnerving.”
He laughs again. “I’ve never heard them described that way, no.”
We walk, eventually finding ourselves surrounded by the roses that grow wild in the wood, so different from the ones I tend in the conservatory. Raspberries grow amongst them here as well, their fruit hanging red on the canes, now ripe.
I gesture toward the berries. “I suppose if I eat one, I’ll lose my mind?”
“How have you been avoiding the effects of our food thus far?”
I glance at him, unable to shake these strange suspicions. “A concoction.”
He doesn’t so much as flinch. “A smart thing to keep close in Faerie.”
“Do you have it with you?”
He raises a dark eyebrow. “Do you trust me?”
Humor lights his eyes. “Then I don’t suggest you eat one.”
We continue, and I begin to wish I had worn boots the day I came into the woods. Tiny rocks and sticks jab into my slippers, making it uncomfortable to walk. I’m about to suggest we turn around when a wooden bench appears right in the path. It’s simply there, waiting to be sat upon.
“I swear that wasn’t there a moment ago,” I say.
“You must have wished for it.”
“I did?” I say dumbly.
Brahm nods. “The woods are a strange place. They take pity on those they favor.”
“And they…favor me?”