Sedra prepared herself to creep down the path, but to her surprise the Traveler Queen walked as briskly as she herself did. In the corner of Sedra's eye, a much younger, dark-haired woman flickered, superimposed on the withered Queen's figure; when Sedra looked at her directly, the flicker disappeared.
They stopped before a large knothole in a gnarled tree. "You've asked my mother prettily," said Connin, "but you haven't spoken so to me."
Sedra bit back sarcasm and squared her shoulders. "Do you wish me to beg?"
"I wish for you to kiss me."
"Amma give me patience, boy, stop it!" said his mother.
"You must kiss me," he repeated. "Are you too proud to kiss a Traveler? You'd be the first princess among the many I've asked if so."