The Emperor’s New Handmaid

I sat up as the underbrush rustled. Creatures scattered; my friends leaving at the faintest scent of a human. I could hear the tread of his feet next. Woven sandals on the rotting leaves of autumns past.

He was close, closer than anyone had been able to get due to the curse for decades now.

I tilted my head, and my ears twitched, following the sound intently, tracking every small sound. Finally there was a flash of red robes. And there he was, coming through the foliage to my stone and the heart of the curse.

I knew what he was, who he was, instantly.