Aed Ruad was standing with the spy in front of the tavern. Aed Ruad was wearing a cloak to hide his wings and had pulled up the hood in order to hide his face. His eyes with yellow slits were too prominent even though the clouds overhead were gray and dense, loaded with snow.
"Please come here, m'lord," the spy said and guided him to the room where they would find the witch. When they reached the room, they found that she was already present over there, ready with clothes and other accessories.
She took one look at Aed Ruad and was impressed by how tall he was, but was intimidated by the yellow slit in his eyes. "Where is my silver?" she asked.
The spy dug his hands in his pocket. He took a bag out and counted ten silver coins before handing it to her as Aed Ruad watched her with an uncanny gaze. This morning he woke up early and took a good and long bath so that he didn't smell and rubbed a lot of lotion on his body to cloak his smell. He didn't want the werewolves to sniff his scent even before he could do the job.
"Thank you!" the witch replied as she grabbed the money in a fist and a wide grin appeared on her face. She pointed to a sack and said, "Your clothes are right there. Change into them and then I will further disguise you."
The spy nodded. They waited for the witch to go out, but she ambled to a chair at the table in the corner and sat down. When they stared at her, in a deadpanned she said, "What?"
The two men stiffened, but without speaking further they changed their clothes. The witch let out a low whistle when she saw Aed Ruad's black wings. They were massive and the man had a tough time controlling them while changing clothes in the small room. They tucked their old clothes in the same bag and were now adorning black pants and white shirts with black jackets—the dress the servants had to wear in Darla's party.
"You both look nice!" the witch said, admiring them and wondering how it would be to have them both together. She clenched her thighs. How much better it can be, she thought. Not only did she get paid for her witchery in the form of money but also in the form of two muscled bodies, which she would devour in the night. She sauntered to the sly first. She brushed her hand from top to bottom on his body. "Presvanje!" she chanted and the man's hair became sandy brown matching the color of his eyes.
The spy suppressed his gasp. It's not that Aed Ruad couldn't use his magic on them, it was just a way to get the trust of the witch. They would kill her anyway after the work was done. There was no point in leaving trails behind and this time they decided to go with just one person rather than employing the whole lot, like Siora did. Fool.
The witch came to Aed Ruad and brushed him from top to bottom, chanting the same words, but she took her time, as if feeling him, feeling his muscles. Aed Ruad continued to stand there like a statue. By the time she was finished, his black hair was salt and pepper, some wrinkles formed on his face and his eyes were black. "You look perfect!" she said and chuckled.
They exited the tavern with the witch, keeping a very low profile. In the morning there were very few men who were sitting and having breakfast or murmuring amongst themselves. No one paid attention to a young man and woman who looked like a couple and an older man, who seemed like he was a relative. The woman walked with them in the back alley and created a portal. When they stepped out of the portal, they were standing in front of a bridge. Right below it was a deep valley and right in front of them on the other side was a thick snow forest. The bridge looked like it was abandoned, but it looked sturdy and solid. There were vines growing on all sides and on the path with layers of snow accumulated everywhere.
"Where the hell are we?" said Aed Ruad. He whipped his head towards the witch, ready to kill her if she betrayed them.
"Relax," she chuckled. "This bridge was built by the dark witch who incidentally is our princess Iona now." She stepped on it and stopped to check if the vines reacted. "It was built to trap Prince Ileus and his mate, Anastasia." The vines didn't react. They were swaying in the cold breeze that swept across the valley with a ghostly noise. "This bridge was under a lot of spells, and so the prince and princess didn't use it when they wanted to enter the Draoidh. However, after they had crossed over the kingdom using another bridge, no one really bothered!" She waved her hands in the air and shrugged. "This bridge was forgotten. And so, it is lying abandoned." She smiled and gestured to them to step on it.
"How did you discover it?" asked the spy.
"Hmm… I have my ways," she replied and started walking over the bridge, keeping a close watch on the vines wondering if they still had the remnants of the magic the dark witch had cast on them. The witch was Lila's servant in Silver Vales, and after her death, she was staying as low as possible so that no one suspected her. The vines stayed the way they were and she knew that they didn't have any magic. Going through the main gates meant that the two men would have charred to ashes because the spells wouldn't have recognized them. She couldn't even cloak the men in her magic because then also the spells would have crawled inside her magic and killed her along with them. This was the safest way. She would encounter spells on the other side, but she knew that they would be easy enough to be tackled by her.
Aed Ruad followed the woman as he looked around. It was chilly and he pulled his cloak around him tightly. They reached the other side in less than twenty minutes. There were two stone pillars at the end of the bridge, between which magic sizzled. The witch chanted something under her breath and flung her hands forward. A whoosh of air passed over them whipping their hair wildly and the spells receded with a hiss. "Let's go," she said, proud of her work. As soon as the three entered, the magic resumed. "The main city is about one hour trek from here. I can create a portal and take you there, but that would be dangerous. There are too many Mozias to watch the netizens. I can't take the risk."
The snow forest proved to be tiring, but Aed Ruad didn't complain. His desire to kill Iona only increased with every step he took forward. Because of her betrayal, he was facing this situation.. Had she remained loyal to his mother, he would have still been the crown prince of Vilinski. As soon as they entered—