Disclaimer: I don't own Hollow Hill Kingdom.

THE GAME BEGINS

"I feel so worthless."

A light, sweet whisper caught his attention. The young man's sharp, yellow eyes flashed over to where the young teen was standing, hands clasped to her breast, eyes staring blindly towards the horizon.

He propped himself up on the hard bench he was seated on, crossing his legs idly as his eyes gleamed unnaturally, reflecting the light of the setting sun. An eyebrow was elegantly arched as he expectantly waited for her to continue.

Strange. At this time, most would have been tucked safely into their beds, behind locked doors – not that they helped much.

"I can't even do anything by myself. Now that they know what's wrong with me, they sent me here. Away from them. From everything. So that I won't mess up their precious, perfect life."

A bitter chuckle from the sweet girl with porcelain features caused his attention to sharpen, his eyes dark and intense – a predator stalking his prey.

"And it isn't even my fault. It's not my fault the doctors diagnosed me with technophobia and agoraphobia. Like I chose to have them and be looked down on."

Ah. An interesting one.

He stood up gracefully, walking soundlessly to where the young lady stood, a small grin causing the edge of his lips to curl.

"Excuse me," he murmured quietly, stopping close behind her.

The girl jumped, turning around, mouth open to, he supposed, say something cutting, before her voice died in her throat, and her eyes accessed his choice of clothing.

"I… er… I'm sorry, I didn't see you."

A twitch of his mouth. A flash of sharpened teeth.

"No matter," he said graciously, stepping up to her side. "Enjoying the view?"

"Um… yeah," she stuttered, gazing up with a sort of fascination into his eyes. Hers were green, he'd noticed.

"It's very beautiful at sunset. Come here often?" He would pry a little, for she already captivated him.

"No-not really…" He noticed with interest the fiery blush spreading up her face – almost the same shade as her red hair.

"Pity," he murmured, never looking away from the young girl – his young girl. Already, possessiveness toward her had grown within him, and he was loath to see her depart.

"What's your name, m'lady?" Oh, but he'd gotten a shy one. He'd have to start slow. But then again, they always said the quiet ones were those who fought back the most.

Eagerness stirred in his blood. He forced it down.

The hunting and wooing would come soon. Patience.

"My- Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Selena, Selena Prince."

The fiery blush never did completely disappear, as she continued to stare into his hawk-like eyes, as though under a spell.

Come to me, little one…

"Selena..." he drawled slowly, tasting the word on his tongue. "A pleasure. I'm Marak."

He saw her eyes brighten with interest at the unusual name, her face redder than before.

That's it…

Whooping and laughing caught their attention, and the pair glanced away from each other, towards the group of young men, bare-chested, clambering out of the sea, dripping, each holding a surfboard.

"Amateurs," he smirked, motioning towards the group's red skin at the girl's look of confusion. "Obviously not from around these parts. They've gotten sunburned."

And no one from these parts would be out so close to nightfall.

He heard the girl beside him snicker lightly, and he smirked, letting his hand accidentally brush hers, where it hung, limp, by her side.

Except her.

A sharp intake of breath from her, and the man smiled, strange eyes glittering.

Yes, she would do nicely.

"And yourself? Do you live around these parts?" he asked, not needing to feign his interest.

"Yeah… At the old lodge up there." She made a vague motion with her hand.

Excellent.

That was all he needed.

The elegantly dressed gentleman smiled gallantly, brushing a whisper-soft kiss on the back of her smooth, pale hand.

"Until we meet again, m'dear," he murmured, voice smooth as silk, rich as chocolate as he watched her pupils dilate, a slightly confused expression marring her delicate features.

Turning around, his cloak swirled dramatically, before settling down again as he strode away, leaving the awestruck young woman gaping after him.

The bait has been set.

A sly smirk graced his lips, and his entrancing eyes seemed to glow strangely, almost other-worldly in the fading light of dusk.

Once again, he pictured the slight young lady, silky locks red as fire, a light smattering of freckles upon her pale face, her deep green eyes…

Yes, he thought with a satisfied smile. Young Selena will make a good Goblin Queen.

And with another swirl of robes, he vanished, leaving no evidence that he had ever been there.

Time was short. He had much to do.

After all, planning a wedding was no easy task.


Author's note: A fic I wrote in response a challenge. My very first Hollow Kingdom fic (: I hope you've enjoyed it! I'm thinking of whether I should expand this to create a full story after the challenge has ended… Tell me your views!