~Leaves of gold~ - Chapter 5

Lykawyn could not tell how many days had passed since she and Indil had entered Mirkwood. It was about a fortnight but she was not sure. Mirkwood was the same, with not the faintest change all these days: tall old trees, no broad daylight, still air. So, she was sort of unable to distinguish between different days.

The journey had been both unpleasant and pleasant, if this can be possible. It had been unpleasant because darkness and still air for many days can affect the mood of even an elf. Moreover, the food Indil had brought with her was not enough for both of them and although Lykawyn had brought with her a bow that she had made on her own, hunting was not easy. To this, contributed the fact that Indil insisted on not leaving the path they had taken before they reached a place she knew.

On the other hand, the journey was also proved interesting. During it, Lykawyn got to know Indil better and they, soon, became friends. She also learn to speak some elvish (until now she could only speak Westron) and the manners and customs of Silvan Elves. So, somebody could say that the journey was pleasant, even though she grew impatient to reach their destination.

"Are we reaching where the elves live?" she asked.

"Yes, we are." Indil replied. "Just a day's walk and we will be home."

She was still talking when a noise of hooves was heard in the distance, which, however, was getting closer and closer.

"What's that?" shouted Lykawyn alerted and she quickly drew her dagger from the sheath as she always used to, under similar circumstances.

"Don't panic!" Indil said, "They must be elves. I've never seen other than elves riding in this region. But only time will tell."

Lykawyn's fears were quite settled but she did not let go of the dagger. Meanwhile, Indil was leaning forward with an excited expression on her face. Suddenly -so suddenly that Lykawyn was startled- she waved her hands merrily and cried out: "Legolas! It's me, Indil! Hey, Legolas!"

The riders finally reached the path. The first rider was an elf, dressed in all green and brown, the fashion of the Mirkwood's elves. He was also wearing a cloak, his hood thrown back, while his blonde hair was floating in the wind of his speed. He stopped in front of them and the other riders did the same. Then, he dismounted and gave Indil a hug.

"Hello Indil" he said, his voice indicating that he was agreeably surprised. "I have almost believed that you were going to stay in Rivendell forever. It's been a year since you left."

Indil laughed. "Well, yes!" she said, "I intended to stay a little longer this time. But you see I'm home now!"

"Did you have a good time?" Legolas asked. Then, he noticed Lykawyn. "Er... the lady..." he started saying.

"Oh, I forgot..." Indil said, "Legolas, this is Lykawyn, a friend of mine. She is going to stay at my home, for the time being. Lykawyn, this is my cousin, prince Legolas."

Lykawyn gulped. "Nice to meet you, prince Legolas." she stumbled, hoping desperately that this was kind enough. Fortunately, the prince didn't seem offended or surprised or anything.

"Nice to meet you, Lykawyn." he said, "You can call me, Legolas. I hope I will see you soon again." He, then, turned to Indil "Now I have to go." he said "See you at the festival, Indil. You will surely come, won't you? Bring your friend there, as well." He mounted his horse again and he and the other riders went on their way. Soon they had disappeared into the woods as quickly as they had appeared.

"Why haven't you told me that you have a cousin who is a prince?" Lykawyn asked angrily.

"Should I have?" Indil asked unconcerned "Yes, Legolas a cousin of mine. My mother is king Thranduil's sister."

"I had no idea of how to talk to him" she retorted "And what is that festival?"

"Oh! In fact, it is a feast in the wood that it is held every first day of spring or autumn"

"Indil!" Lykawyn said impatiently "The first day of spring is tomorrow!"

Indil grinned. "That's right" she said, "We will both go, won't we?"

"Surely" Lykawyn whispered sarcastically.

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