Even fifteen years later, twenty-two years old and preparing for one of her father’s many parties, Lillianne slipped on the silver ring, and thought of her mysterious savior from all those years ago. But then, she pushed her to the back of her mind, and plastered on the well-practiced smile she always used when she was forced to spend extended periods of time with her father’s friends. She half wondered how many of them would try to convince her father to let them marry her tonight. She was sure it was going to be a number higher than she’d like. That was the worst part of being the only daughter of a very rich and very powerful man.
This particular night, she was only out on the floor for a matter of minutes when she received the shock of her life. She was talking and laughing with her second eldest brother’s fiancée when she heard behind her, “Well, well, well, Lillianne, just as special as always, and still under the protection of my ring.” Lillianne whipped around so fast that she probably could have taken someone out with her hair. It was her. The woman she had met in the closet. She looked just the same as she had then. Well, not just the same. She did look older, but not fifteen years older like she should have. When she saved Lillianne, she looked twenty-two or twenty-three years old, easily. But she did not look thirty-seven or thirty-eight years old now. She looked maybe twenty-six or twenty-seven at a stretch, but certainly no older than that. She realized that she must be just staring at the poor woman, but she could not think of anything else to do. She didn’t seem to be bothered by it at all. She continued to smile as she spoke. “I realize that the last time we met, I was incredibly rude, and I never introduced myself. My name is Wyli, and I have to say that it was an absolute pleasure to meet you.” She offered his hand, and on auto pilot, Lillianne reached out and shook it. Wyli held her hand, and turned it so that she could look closely at the ring, her ring, on Lillianne’s middle finger. “You’ve taken good care of it.”
“It’s my most prized possession.” She answered honestly. “Call me superstitious, but I genuinely believe it has kept me safe all these years.”
“Oh, I don’t think that’ superstitious at all.” She grinned at Lillianne in a knowing sort of way. “I think that ring has protected you in more ways than you know.” She let go of Lillianne’s hand and she let if fall back to her side. “If you’ll pardon me, I need to excuse myself for a moment.”
“Will I have to go another fifteen years before I see you again?”
“Oh, no, Lillianne. I think you’ll be seeing a lot of more of me in the future. I fear you’ll begin to get quite sick of me soon.”