"How long has it been?"
Heero didn’t even hesitate. "Two minutes, 34 seconds."
Wufei grunted. "He’s late again."
"He didn’t specify a time when he’d return."
The dark-haired warrior shrugged. "He said he’d return before two minutes of our time had passed. He was more than a minute off."
"We’re in no danger." Heero glanced at the surrounding wilderness briefly. "If they want their Sacrifice, they’ll have to fight. And Trowa should be back before any of them can get to us."
"You’re so careless with your own life." Wufei met the brown-haired soldier’s gaze, eyes almost cold. "It means more to the world than it does to just you. And what would happen to your Queen if you were to die?"
Heero frowned. "She can do without me."
"That’s not what I meant."
"I’m aware of that."
Silence. Wufei glanced at the cave beside them as if he was bored and looking for something new to concentrate on. The shadows from the trees seemed to lengthen as he watched.
"So I see." Heero stood slowly and faced the cave. "They’re not alone."
"What?" Wufei looked again. Three shadows were starting to gain shape, moving toward them. "What is this, a guided tour? We don’t accept sight-seers!"
"Calm down." Heero’s eyes shifted from Wufei to the cave and back again. "Whatever the reason, you can be sure that Trowa wouldn’t bring anyone into this who might become a liability."
"Hmm." Wufei frowned slightly. "I hope you’re right."
Both turned to watch as the shadowy figures stepped out of the passage and into the faint, early evening light…
Continued in Bane of Darkness