Isabella stepped onto the bare stone of the way and shivered. Had it been so cold here before? She wrapped the blanket around herself tighter. And had it always been so quiet? It wasn’t just like a quiet day in the house. There were no electric hums. No birds chirping. Nothing but the sound of her breath and her heartbeat, the soft stick and unstick of her bare feet from the floor.
“Hello?” she asked, more to kill the silence than in expecting a reply. There was none, not even an echo. The white walls continued on almost past viewing, as if a light, misty haze obscured sight over distance. Here there were just the walls, the gate, and herself.
There had been a window next to the gate when they’d come in, but the wall was blank now. Maybe it needed to be turned on somehow? Not that it mattered right then. Aurora had explained it was just a view, a way to look over the state of a world without walking through. That wouldn’t help her now.
Though… hadn’t Aurora also said that the gates needed to be activated, too? That only a Councilor or an appointed envoy could make them function from world-side? That left a very interesting and very problematic question. It meant that someone had opened that gate in the cave. Someone who was working with whoever had captured Isabella. Unless they were wrong? Maybe someone on Galavaria had figured out how to open a gate themselves.
From all the things Aurora had told her, Isabella wasn’t at all sure that was a more comforting answer.
Looking back at the gate, Isabella decided she had to act soon. She didn’t think anyone seen her come through, but there was no telling how long it would be before they came through for some other reason. There wasn’t exactly any place else to hide. So if she didn’t want to be caught, didn’t want to go back through and be in the same trap she was before, she only had one real choice.
She had to start walking.