The sky swallowed the moon, taking its light away and leaving the stars the only thing left above them. Xue closed her eyes and counted to ten. When she opened them again the darkness was not as complete, but just as disturbing. The moon was never new here, there was no such thing as a night without its stolen glow.
Now in the starlight, all she could see were edges. Her friends had become silhouettes, their horses white-rimmed shadows, the world redone in pencil-thin lights. It reminded her of her bedroom as a child, when her parents had tucked her in and shut the door behind them. The closing click had seemed to flick a switch that turned everything familiar into something dangerous. Toys and clothes became huddled monsters, and the just-open closet a portal to a nightmare.
Had it just been the world by starlight? Or were there really dangers kept at bay by the light of the moon? If they didn’t find the Mountain King soon, they were going to find out.