Here is the first chapter of The Fate's Illusion, as promised! Now, if I stick to my general plan for this story, this is going to be the longest one yet-even longer than An Exquisite Pain.

All right, you should know the drill by now: this very short prologue takes place at a very important point in the story, but not necessarily near the end! Make of that what you will. ;)

So, I hope you enjoy it, and I know I say this in every single author's note, but thank you so much for reading!

Of all the idiotic things she had done in her life, this had to top them all. She'd become so accustomed to victory that she had completely dismissed the possibility of failure.

"Tom!" she yelled as she skidded down the pitch-black corridor, casting every spell she could think of. But nothing, it seemed, could illuminate the stifling darkness, and she was left blind.

Suddenly she slammed into someone with such force that she was winded, gasping for air as her eyes struggled to adjust.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" a sneering female voice crowed.

Danielle gulped and whirled around, attempting to run, but a pair of strong hands reached out and grabbed her by the shoulders. "My Lord!" the woman shouted. "Come have a look at this!" Danielle's wand was wrested out of her hand and she was thrown to the ground, feeling a wave of nausea as she landed hard on her stomach.

She lay on the floor for what felt like ages, silently cursing herself for the mess she had gotten herself and Tom into. He would search for her when he realized that she wasn't going to come back. Danielle knew she had to take the blame this time—everything had been her idea.

But now she had an added layer of guilt as well as fear. It wasn't just her who would suffer—it wasn't just her who would be forced to pay the price for her extreme stupidity.

This time, she wasn't the only one in danger.