Well since today is my birthday and I was in a cheerful mood I had decided to grace all you who are reading this or are still reading this with a brand spanking new chapter. :)
This is the next chapter for Shadow of Darkness, in all honesty I have no idea where it will go after this but let's just hope it good :) thanks for all those who reviewed so far:

- Cheeseburgermonkey13
- Heavenly-Charm
- Blessed Yet Cursed
- Deltora quest fan 1
- Black Mitz
- Alyssa
- Koragirl

Now on with the story :)

RECAP:
'What are you doing? You don't have time for this! You can't waste anymore time here with this girl. Your mission is to eliminate the royal family not prance around a festival with this girl.' The angered voice of the Shadow Lord echoed around in Nic's mind. 'Yes master, I am sorry.' 'I will remove her if she gets in the way of my plans, just like the small group of travellers.' He mentally winced as the images of the travellers flashed through his mind, blood, screaming faces, fear filled eyes. He screwed his eyes shut hoping that the images would wash away, he felt that same feeling he had before he lashed out on the travellers creeping up his spine. 'I have to get out of here, before I lose it again' he though, he turned on his heel and ran, away from the feeling, away from the fear and towards his mission.

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Nic ran as fast as his legs would take him, running all the way back to the inn. He burst through the door forcing it off the hinges, his hands taking on a dark red glow. Dan awoken by the sudden commotion and ran to Nic's side.

"NIC, NIC! WHAT'S WRONG?" He yelled frantically.

"No-nothing is wrong, but we must be on our way. Quickly pack your things." He said shoving his hands in the pockets of his pants to shield them from Dan's gaze.

With a questioning look he ran to his bed and shoved all his belongings into his bag and rejoined Nic at the door. With that they were off, leaving the blazing lights of the festival behind them not realising the figure following them in the shadows.

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Leif was in a meeting listening to the monthly report about the events within Deltora, his mind oblivious to the words being said as his thoughts travelled to what Jasmine must be doing being stuck in the forge all the time. A sudden wave of warmth travelled through his body as he thought about his beloved and their unborn child. He was broken out of thoughts when a large hand was placed on his shoulder, he looked up to see friend Barda smiling at him, he returned his smile with one of his own.

"You really should pay attention to these meetings Lief." Barda said with a small smirk.

"Sorry Barda but my mind was somewhere else." Lief chuckled.

Just as Barda was about to answer he was interrupted by the sound of the doors crashing open. They both looked towards the doorway to see a out of breath guard leaning against the door frame to keep himself upright.

"King Lief there has been a terrible murder near the town of Parecole, a small group of travellers were slaughtered!" The guard panted out, still gaining trying to regain his breath.

"What? When did this happen?" Lief asked in shock.

"About 4 days ago, there was 6 travellers, three men, two women and a small child that were heading towards Parecole for the festival. Sadly they were killed not far to the east edge of town. The people require your help to discover the killer before he claims more victims." The guard explained.

Lief was alarmed at the news he had just received, after the defeat of the shadow lord there was a time of peace, now someone was trying to disturb that peace, he had to do something about it. But what of Jasmine he couldn't just leave her alone in her condition, what was he to do? Barda could see Lief struggling to think of what to do, he knew Lief's situation was a hard one.

"Let Lief think about a plan and we will have a meeting for it tomorrow." Barda told the guard who then nodded and left the two friends alone again.

"So Lief what do you plan on doing? It is quite a trip to Parecole."

Lief sighed, placing his head in his hands and tugged at his hair. "I don't know Barda, I can't let these people down and not do anything, I have to help them, but what about Jasmine I can't leave her here all alone while she is pregnant and with all those attacks that happened 5 months ago. I can't help but fear that if I leave that she will be in danger."

"Lief. Jasmine is a strong woman who can take care of herself, even if she is pregnant it doesn't mean she can't keep herself out of harm's way, we both know what she's capable of. Besides there are guards watching her down at the forge 24/7, no one is going to be able to get near her."

Lief looked up at Bard, he was absolutely right. For as long as Lief has known Jasmine she has always been witty and a very fast thinker as well as strong willed and outgoing. He knew she could take care of herself, but being pregnant makes Lief see her as fragile and helpless but Jasmine is the complete opposite of that. He decided he would talk to her about it later tonight and let her know what has been happening.

"Thanks Barda, I really needed to hear that." He said smiling up at his companion.

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after the talk with Barda, Lief decided it was time to return home. He was walking down the path towards the forge, the night giving his surroundings a calm and eerie feeling. He passed the guards that were now on the night duty and gave them a small nod as he continued on his way.

As he opened the gate to the forge he was met with the tantalising smell of Jasmines homemade food, Smiling he quickened his pace. He opened the front door and what waited for him caused a smile to grace his lips. There asleep on the couch was his little Jasmine, her gentle breaths were the only sound filling the empty house. He quietly moved across the room to rest at her side, he watched her, soaking in her features, her gentle skin and ebony hair giving her an angelic like appearance. Carefully as not to wake his sleeping beauty, he placed a blanket over her sleeping form and brushed a stray hair from her face as she snuggled further into the blanket. He will tell her later when she wakes up.

Lief walked into the small kitchen and found a homemade meal that Jasmine obviously made for him, he sat down at the table and began to dig in. After eating a fair share he cleaned the kitchen and went back to the couch.

"Jasmine, Jasmine it's time to get up." He whispered softly in her ear. This only caused her to bury herself deeper into the pillow and let out a soft grunt. Laughing at her reaction he decided to take a different approach, with a devious smile on his face he began to tickle her sides mercilessly.

That worked. She woke with a start glaring at Lief who had an innocent smile on his face, she playfully punched his arm and untangled herself from the blanket and proceeded to hug her husband.

"How was the meeting today? Sorry I feel asleep, must of been more tired then I realised."

"Don't worry about it, the meeting wasn't very good I got some bad news." He said with a sad expression.

Jasmine looked intensively at her husband. "Why what happened?"

"Well there was murder near the town of Parecole, a small group of travellers were slaughtered. The towns people need my help to figure out what happened." He said not meeting her eyes.

"That's terrible, well you need to go help them don't you." After hearing this his head shot up to look at his beloved.

"But - but I can't just leave you here." He said, blue clashing with emerald green.

She sighed and placed her hands over his. "Lief, I'll be fine, I was able to look after myself all those years in the Forest of Silence after all."

" Yes, but back then you weren't as...incapable as you are now." He said gesturing to her bulging stomach.

"That may be true, but there are many here that will protect us. There is no need to worry my love." She said with a gentle smile.

Realising that he had lost the argument, he let his gaze fall to his feet, not willing to meet the eyes of his beloved.

"but what...what if something happens and I lose you, I can't bare for that to happen." A lone tear slid down his cheek.

Jasmine placed her hands on either side of his face and brought his reluctant gaze back onto her, staring intently into his eyes.

"You won't lose me I promise, I'm in safe hands here. If it will put you at ease I will stay in the palace while you are gone." She said as she whipped away his tear.

Lief snaked his arms around her and pulled her close to him, placing a loving kiss to her forehead. " Thank you, my love. Now let's head to bed." Without warning he picked her up earning a squeak from Jasmine as he heads towards their bedroom.

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Nic and Dan had been travelling non-stop since they had left Parecole. They were running out of supplies and were in desperate need for a rest. Fatigue finally catching up to him, Nic stopped his breath ragged and shallow.

"I think (wheeze) we can (wheeze) rest here for now." He said as he grasped a tree for support.

As soon as Dan heard the word rest he happily collapsed to the ground, relived to be off his feet after walking for so long. As they regained their strength a figure loomed in the distance, unaware to the two. The figure walked closer maintaining undetected, reaching for the hood that shaded its features it walked into the view of the two resting. Realising that there was indeed someone there Nic jumped for his sword unsheathing it as Dan ran behind him, clutching onto his leg.

"Who are you?" Nic's voice boomed.

"Nic it's me." The mysterious figure said.

Confused Nic walked closer to the figure, who were they and how did they know him his identity was meant to be concealed. As he stood directly in front of the figure who was concealed, scrunching up his face to try and decipher their identity. The figure chuckled at his antics moved their hands up to the hood and pulled it back to allow him a view of their face. Nic was surprised to say the least at the person who was in front him.

"What are you doing here?" he asked his voice full of surprise.

"I decided that I wanted to come with you." The voice replied.

Nic walked closer to the person and clasped their hands in his own. "I can't allow that, it's not safe with me Tori." He said his gaze never leaving hers.

"I'm not some helpless little girl you know, I am capable of taking care of myself I have for a while now." She said with a sad expression.

Feeling horrible for assuming that he placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder and squeezed it softly. She moved her gaze from the floor to meet his, the intensity of his glare sending shivers down her spine.

"Alright, if you can prove that you are as capable as you say then you can accompany me and Dan for the rest of our journey." He said in a monotone voice.

Her head snapped up at hearing this and she smiled. "What do you want me to do?"

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Lief's woke early in the morning, he was headed towards Parecole with Barda and a couple of guards later on today and needed to get everything prepared. As he finished packing his pack he walked through the forge to the bedroom he shared with Jasmine, glancing at his sleeping beauty he smiled, god he was going to miss her.

It was time to leave, he grabbed his pack and proceeded to the front door, he stopped when he felt two slender arms wrap themselves around his chest.

"where you really going to leave without saying goodbye?" A soft voice asked.

He turned around and placed her hands in his own and smiled at her. " I would never think of it my love." He pulled her close and placed his lips on hers, they stayed like that for a while not wanting the moment to end. Finally Jasmine pulled away and smiled at him with half lidded eyes.

"You better get going, the faster you go the faster you can come back." She said pulling him into an embrace once again.

"I will be back as fast as I can." He mumbled into her hair, releasing her from his grip he opened the door and headed out into the blazing light of the midday sun.

"Come back safe." She said with a sad smile

"I will, I promise." He replied, he waved her goodbye and headed towards the palace where his journey to Parecole was about to begin.

Well that's all I have for now I know it's shorter than usual but still hope you all like it and stay in tune for more chapters, school holidays are approaching so I will have much more free time to write and update this story for all those who want to read it :)

Till next time my friends :)

-Finalfantasyfreaks13