"It is you that is going to be my guard?" Ido asked, his eyes shining with amusement, "The Emperor will not be happy."
I scowled at him, setting my bedroll down. "No one left was willing to be your guard. And why would Kygo not be happy? I am perfectly safe from you. I can compel you," I snapped my fingers, "like that."
Ido kept smiling amusedly, "I am not talking about your safety, Eona. I am talking about you sleeping with me tonight."
I scowled, crossing my arms. "I am not sleeping with you. I am sleeping beside you. Besides, Kygo has nothing to worry about. I do not desire you."
Smiling, he turned on his back. "We'll see about that."
I settled down on my bedroll, which was a little too close to Ido for my liking. But beggars – or in my case, guards – cannot be choosers. My gaze drifted to him. His eyes were set on the night sky, scrutinizing the stars.
"Have you seen the Hua of the stars, Eona?" Ido asked.
My eyebrows drew together. "I thought only living things had Hua."
Ido nodded. "Yes, but anything with energy has Hua as well. The Hua of these things are called Kin Hua. Their Hua is different from ours because—well, you'll see."
"How can I see their Hua?" I asked.
"First, you have to enter the energy world," Ido instructed, "Here, let's do it together."
I closed my eyes, slowing down my breathing. One, two, three. I felt the shift that meant I was in the energy world. I felt the elation of my dragon, but I could not join with her now. I opened my eyes and frowned. The stars still looked like stars.
"You will not see their Hua, yet," the shifting colors that was known as Ido said from beside me, "Now is the difficult part."
I nodded. "I am ready."
"To see Kin Hua, you have to use the same method that you use to enter the energy world." Ido said, "Except, since you are already in the energy world, it will be harder. It might take a few tries."
"Alright," I said. I slowed down my breathing. One, two, three. I opened my eyes. No, I was still in the energy world. I tried again, but the same thing occurred. Frustrated, I deepened my breath as much as I could, then forced my eyes open. Oops. I was out of the energy world, with Ido's earthly body next to mine. I saw a flash of silver in his eyes. He was still in the energy world.
Taking a deep breath, I eased myself into relaxation. When the world around me had become shifting colors, I took another deep breath, and eased myself into utter respite. It was taking all of my concentration, my entire being for this to happen. Slowly, I opened my eyes.
Swirling masses of colors stared back at me from the sky. Reds and blues and greens and oranges danced with each other, leaving an exquisite trail behind them. The colors were in perfect harmony, and I heard their song, sweet and high and tasting like raspberry. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
The sudden rush of excitement jolted me back into my earthly body. Squealing, I grabbed Ido's arm. "I saw them, Ido! I saw the Hua of the stars!"
Ido returned to the earthly world with a jerk. He sighed in annoyance, but he was smiling.
Suddenly, I felt strained. Fatigue from the day, plus the immense amount of energy needed to see the stars, caused my eyes to droop.
Ido smirked beside me. "Tired, already? We have to work on your Staminata pose."
"Oh, be quiet." I muttered, suppressing a yawn.
"Guards are not supposed sleep," Ido said, his smile taunting, "They are supposed to keep alert."
I yawned. "If you manage to escape your cuffs, I can still compel you. I'll feel you escaping in my sleep."
Ido smiled. "What a sweet dream that will be."
I did not have the energy for a comeback. With one last flutter of my eyes, I feel asleep.
The savage dragons came at me at once. I did not have Ido's protection, and both our dragons were gone.
"No," I murmured.
The Ox Dragon slashed his claws in the air. He missed only by a few inches. The Tiger Dragon did not. His nails dug in to my flesh, then dragged down, blood spilling over my body.
"No!" I said, turning.
Suddenly, Ido materialized in front of me. The dragons came for him all at once. They got closer and closer and closer…
"Ido, get away, go!" I called, my arms flailing about.
Ido smiled at me, his roguish, mischievous smile, and said, "Oh, Eona."
Those were his last words.
The dragons attacked, turning the handsome Ido into a bloody pulp. Bits and pieces of flesh flew about, the dragons obscuring my view. All this happened while I stood, unable to move, screaming my lungs out. "Ido! No, Ido!"
"Ido!" I cried. I needed to reach him.
Then he was gone. And I fell, the darkness enveloping me in its cold. There was nothing below me, and I as I free fell, the wind whistled in my ears.
"No!" I yelled, reaching for an anchor. I cannot fall; I cannot die! My arms connected with a something soft. My anchor. I pulled it close to me, holding on fast. I cannot let go, I cannot let go! The softness underneath me hardened, almost tensed, but I could care less. With a final murmur of "Ido", I buried my face in the soft anchor, letting sleep overtake me once again.
My eyes fluttered open to the sound of birdsong. Two strong arms held me. I burrowed in close, a hum escaping me. The smell of sweet vanilla and orange overtook my senses. Suddenly, I froze. I tilted my head up, and saw the sleeping figure of Ido.
Last night came back in a rush. In dream panic, I must've latched onto Ido. My cheeks heated up at the thought.
Making as less noise as I could, I tried to escape his arms. As I pulled back, Ido grumbled in his sleep, pulling me to his chest. Sighing, I nudged him. "Ido," I said.
"Hmm," he muttered, burrowing his head in my hair.
I silently groaned. I nudged him harder. "Ido!" His eyes shot open. The amber orbs blinked, then looked down. When he saw me, they looked as bewildered as I was embarrassed.
"Why," Ido calmly asked, "Am I embracing you?"
I mumbled something incoherent and pulled back. Ido's grip around me tightened. "Wait, I'm not complaining," he said.
I sighed. "Well, I am."
"No, you're not." He said, "You're enjoying this."
I scowled. "Ido, please. What if someone should see us?"
"Then they'd think you are a very lousy guard." He said.
I rolled my eyes, trying to repress a smile. "I am being serious."
"So am I." He smiled.
"I give up," I sighed.
He grinned, pulling me close. I listened intently to the others. They were breathing rhythmically, fast asleep. It was early morning, after all. We were not due to travel until noon. I resigned, resting against Ido's chest. It rose and fell steadily, and the smell of sweet vanilla and orange overtook my senses once again.
"See?" Ido whispered, "You do find me attractive."
I sighed, a smile spreading over my face. "Keep dreaming, Ido."
"I don't have to," I could almost hear the smile in his voice, "You do that for me."