I know many of you are going to have to go back and read to remind yourselves about this story. Don't worry. I had to do that as well.

"I love you. I love you. I send this message through my fingers and into his, up his arm and into his heart. Hear me. I love you. And I'm sorry to leave you."
Jenny Downham,Before I Die

Chapter 17

They arrived at a moist, dark cave and the male quickly began to look for wood to make a fire. This was no ordinary cave, though. This cave was the place meant for Artemis's downfall. The place she will find eternal rest or torment. This depended on the mood of her predators. The small fire illuminated the cave and the woman took off her hood and smiled at the man before her.

"You really think she's gonna come?" the man asked. He still donned the hood. The only thing that could be seen was his huge, ugly nose poking out from under the hood.

"Of course she is. She has to. She hates my guts and she also knows what I'm capable of," the woman smiled. This woman, believe it or not, was Elise. Her smile seemed twice as beautiful as before. It was as if prison had changed her. Dark ruhk fluttered around her and she reached out to touch one. Her black hair was mounted on top of her head in a messy style and her eyes were wild. Despite her untidy look, she spoke in an organized and calm manner. In prison, she embraced the darkness that found her. It found her all alone, in the deepest parts of the prison. It comforted her and gave her purpose – to kill the cause of her initial misery. The darkness tempted her and told her to take her revenge further. Why kill Artemis only, when there are so many other individuals who needed to be killed?

"She knows civilian lives are at stake and she is going to try to play the hero. Well, unknown to her, she is going to get her ass shut down by yours truly," Elise smiled again. "It's her fault though. She stupidly convinced Kouen to put me in jail instead of executing me."

~.~

Shadows danced on the ceiling above her as she lay awake. Kouen had previously stepped out in order to deal with a few legal matters. Artemis knew what she had to do. She threw the sheets off her and it landed on the floor in a messy, white pile. She grabbed her shoes and shoved her feet in them with haste. Luckily, she found a small bag in the room and she started shoving items in it. Some may have questioned if she lost her mind. Her fever was milder and she physically felt better. However, emotionally, she felt torn. Tears rolled down her cheeks and it blurred her vision. She had to stop to wipe them from her eyes. Why all this spontaneous sadness? She had to leave. Yes, she had to leave Kouen, Alma, and all the other friends she had made and this was heart wrenching. She then hurriedly made the bed an put everything in its place. After closing the flap of her small bag, she took her journal in her hand. Looking at it for a long time, she contemplated on whether she should leave it. She opened it and wrote a short paragraph. Closing it, she placed it on her night stand and headed to the window to look for an opportunity to jump.

~.~

"Prince Kouen!" Alma burst into his office. She would never do this in normal circumstances. However, desperate times called for desperate measures. Kouen got up immediately and rushed towards her. "Arty… Arty's… She's gone," she panted.

"What? What do you mean she's gone?" Kouen questioned.

"I went up to her room to see if she was okay and the room is empty. The window is open and my gut is telling me that she is nowhere in the palace," Alma replied sadly.

Kouen called for his guards and immediately organized a search party. He didn't trust 'gut feelings'. He needed cold hard facts. Fast.

~.~

Arty kept her head low as she made her way through the streets of Kou. She had her hair covered so that no one would notice her. However, the tears that blurred her vision could cause her to bump into some one. That was where the trouble would start. People would then recognize her. She had to wipe her face constantly. Despite the horrible events, the sky was very clear. The moon shone very brightly as it hung in the sky- unbothered. The stars twinkled with a knowing light. Nature probably did not want to sympathize with her. She knew where Elise was and she needed to take responsibility for what she had caused. It took her a few hours, but she managed to hitch a carriage and was on her way out of the Kou. She had calculated the amount of time it would take for the news of her absence to reach the gates of Kou. Passing without much trouble, it seemed as if she was right on time. Artemis continued to look up to the sky. Soon, she will board a ship and be out of this place and into Elise's domain. Yes, she knew Elise was out for revenge. That incident in the prison revealed everything to her. Innocent people would be hurt if she did not cooperate with Elise's demands. Most importantly, Kouen could be hurt. No matter how strong he was, Artemis could not accept the notion of Kouen fighting her battles. Of course it sounds cliché, but she'd rather it did than someone died because of careless decisions. She would be the one to kill Elise. Artemis started this and she would be the one to end it. These were her final thoughts before leaving the Kou territory.

~.~

"We have exhausted every available officer trying to look for Artemis," Koumei spoke to his brother. He cast his brother a doubtful and worried look. Kouen stood at the window and stared out in the open for a long while before replying.

"She's gone," he said quietly. The first woman who could trouble his thoughts was gone. The woman who had the potential to make necessary political changes in Kou was gone.

Koumei had never seen his brother like this. This was how he knew Artemis was special. He watched as Kouen turned around and walked out of his office. He passed a worried Kougyokou and an impassive Judal. In Kouen's mind, he planned to search every corner of the Kou territory for her.

~.~

Hello everyone. I am extremely sorry for not updating for a year. It has just been stressful. I got some really good criticism from someone. However, I am not able to correct these mistakes and that also contributed to my writer's block. I am also sorry for the really short chapter. I tried to get rid of my writer's block but it isn't working out.