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Maia looked across the square. Charles would be a long time and she could be back well before he finished. Eager to view the kittens, Maia followed her friend down the alley beside the house-shop. The sound of firm footstep following, reassured Maia that her father's friend was close behind.
A cold, clammy hand slipped silently around Maia's face and a thick cloth slid over her mouth and nose as a black cloak fell between the princess and her friend, Constance.
Terrifying thoughts flew through Maia's mind. I should have stayed with Mother!--This one plaguing impression would haunt her for weeks.
A myriad of brilliant colors flashed in her eyes, and she realized, too late, that everything was wrong! For a few moments, Maia struggled against the blackness that threatened to engulf her. The harder she fought, the tighter the cloth gripped her face. Before long, Maia could no longer struggle and knew nothing but darkness.
Minette turned as she heard a scuffle by the shop front. A man lay on the path, and people were gathering to see what had happened. She looked for Maia, but the crowd was too dense for the anxious mother to see the slight form of her daughter.