Reckless Magic (Page 51)

“Ok, so now I understand why I shouldn’t have interrupted the trial. But why didn’t you tell me all of this before? If I would have known this, I wouldn’t have gone to all of the trouble of exposing myself. And Dream Walking to? Why didn’t you tell me that was real?” I whispered quietly, rubbing my eyes to keep them open.

A million stars lit up the night sky; I pondered for a moment that although I was half way across the world this was the same sky I looked up to when I was home in the middle of America. The night was still cold, but the magic buzzing steadily through my veins kept my blood warm.

“I couldn’t tell you this before because I wasn’t sure if you would be able to hide it from Kiran. I was afraid that if he found any of this out that it wouldn’t matter if you came to Romania or not. I have been waiting for Kiran to discover you this entire semester and turn you over to his father, but I’m afraid I underestimated him,” Amory said with almost curiosity in his voice. “And the Dream Walking, I hoped it was harmless. I was afraid that if you knew too much, that if you protected yourself from Kiran too much, that would also make him suspicious.”

“What do you mean?” I asked through another wide yawn.

“I think that Kiran has always known, or at least he’s known for some time. I’m not sure how he would have recognized you, but after his reaction in the courtroom I am almost positive he is aware of your identity,” I perked up a little by Amory’s answer. If he knew this entire time, why didn’t he ever say anything to me? Does that mean he was trying to protect me this whole time?

“So he knew who I was, but didn’t tell his father? What does that mean?” I rubbed my eyes again, determined to keep them open.

“I think it means he had the same reaction to you that his father had with your mother. He’s obviously hoping for a different outcome,” Amory replied, laughing a little.

“Star-crossed,” I mumbled.

“What’s that?” Amory asked, although I was sure he heard me.

“Nothing,” I answered quickly. “If you were so afraid of Kiran finding out about me, then how come you had me enroll at Kingsley?” my questions would keep coming as long as I could stay awake. I finally had someone giving me answers, I was not about to give up now. But then I yawned again, and realized it was only a matter of time before I was able to fight my exhausted body.

“I never would have had you come to Kingsley had I known that Kiran would be attending. But by the time we got the call about his arrival, you were already on your way to school. I had intended to intercede, but I couldn’t get to you before your run in with Kiran in the lobby of the Administration building. After that I had to hope for the best and protect you as best as I could. Kiran’s interest in you however, made me a failure as it turns out,” I expected Amory to be disappointed in what he considered a failure, but he sounded more entertained than anything.

“Why do you think he never told his father?” I asked again, not entirely sure what to think of the whole story. I closed my eyes, promising myself that I would stay awake and listen even if my tired eyes were shut.

“You said it best Eden…. star-crossed,” and then I found the sweet surrender of sleep beneath a wide open Romanian sky.

Chapter Forty-Four

Eden…. Where are you?

Something stirred me from my unconsciousness. I fought wakening, and attempted to once again fall into the deep abyss of sleep.

Damn it. Eden, where are you?

A sharper, irritated memory lifted me once again from sleep’s grasp. The memory felt strange, like it wasn’t mine, and even stranger like it was stumbling through a wilderness. I rolled over, and concentrated fully on finding sleep again.

Sticks and rocks jabbed into my side, poking through my oversized sweatshirt. My cheek was wet and grimy from damp leaves that had become my pillow. Gross.

I sat up; realizing the memory that awoke me was not actually a memory but Avalon stumbling through the wilderness trying to find us. I rubbed my bleary eyes surprised by the light of morning. The forest was brightened by daylight, but it must have still been early morning because the sun was just barely shining from the peaks of the eastern mountain tops.

“Eden!” Avalon shouted through the trees. Apparently he got tired of waiting for me to figure out where his voice was coming from.

“Over here,” I struggled to shout back through a hoarse and scratchy morning voice. I cleared my throat and tried again, “Over here.”

I heard Avalon not far away, making his way noisily through the thick trees and underbrush. Someone was with him, although it was hard for me to determine the identity of their magic when I felt like I had just been run over by a bus. I was not sure how long I was asleep, but it wasn’t nearly long enough.

I stood up to brush the leaves and dirt off of me. My legs and back were incredibly sore and I heard several of my joints make a cracking noise as I fought to get to my feet. I didn’t have the patience to deal with tired muscles and aching bones this morning; I sent my magic surging through my body, heating my blood and relieving the tension in my exhausted appendages.

I felt instantly better, the magic did its job and my bones and muscles felt better than normal; I wasn’t sure if there was any hope for my external appearance however. I did my best to pick off the damp leaves and wipe away the dirt, but I began to think they had become a part of me. I reached my hand up to the top of my head in an attempt to deal with my hair, but after feeling around for a few seconds, brought it back down. There was no hope. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to shave it off when I returned to civility.

“Holy crap….” Avalon blurted out as he made his way over the top of the last hill that separated us. “What happened to you?” he confirmed my obvious suspicions.

“Ugh,” I grunted back, not knowing where to even begin.

“Good morning, Eden,” Jericho called in a very chipper voice, following close behind Avalon. I waved at him irritably, remembering I had been the one to tell Avalon to bring him and bent over to tug on my ruined clog.

“Where’s Amory?” Avalon asked and I looked around confused. I didn’t remember when he left, or if he left; I didn’t remember anything. I must have been sleeping hard.

“I don’t know,” I said, feeling out of it.

“What do you mean you don’t know?” Avalon demanded, his defenses suddenly on high alert.

“They wouldn’t take him without her,” Jericho, the voice of reason, chimed in.

“You don’t know that. They could be hoping she leads them to the rest of us,” Avalon retorted, irritated and anxious.

“If anything it would be the other way around and you know that,” Jericho rolled his eyes and walked over to shake my hand. “Your brother is such a drama queen,” he joked.

“Tell me about it,” I agreed sarcastically. “And no more talking about me like I’m not here.” I addressed both boys. “I’m as much a part of this thing as you two. From now on, I am always included and always informed,” I folded my arms as if to strengthen my point.

Avalon rolled his eyes and began a search of the premises. I let him without any intention of joining him. I took Jericho’s side in that I thought wherever Amory was, he was just fine.

“You look like you just came through hell,” Jericho, still at my side, remarked.

“I pretty much feel like it.” I remembered my stiff body before I used the healing power of magic and cringed.

“So, what are you doing here anyways? I thought you had been ordered to stay at home?” Jericho pried for an explanation; but I was not totally sure if I was emotionally ready to relive the last seventy two hours.

“I don’t even know where to begin,” I looked past Jericho at the breathtaking view of the Carpathian Mountains. The sunrise had painted the sky beautiful shades of pink and orange, and the soft light made the autumn hues of the trees brilliant.

“You better figure it out,” Avalon grunted grumpily, while continuing his sweep of the perimeter. “I want a full debriefing, and I want a good reason why I had to leave my mission in the goddamn middle of the night,” I let out a burst of laughter when I looked over at Jericho and watched him roll his eyes.

“Your brother thinks he’s Napoleon Bonaparte,” he shook his head and watched Avalon disdainfully.

“Seriously though, have you heard anything?” I asked a little more humbly. I was the reason Avalon had to leave his mission. What if they weren’t successful and it was all my fault?

“No. We haven’t heard anything,” Jericho responded in a meek voice. “They’ve been incommunicado since before we left them.”

“When will you find out?” I was more nervous now than I had ever been.

“Not sure. If all went as planned, hopefully soon,” Avalon stopped his busy work to join us. He bit his thumbnail anxiously.

“Jericho and I are going to find out exactly what happened right now,” Amory was suddenly involved in our conversation, making his way over the same rise that Avalon and Jericho had come by. He was carrying a cloth bag with him that smelled like a bakery. My stomach growled loudly and I realized that I hadn’t eaten in days.

“Is that breakfast?” I asked, barely able to restrain myself from pouncing on Amory and ripping the bag open to find out myself.

“I thought you might be hungry,” he gave me a timid smile and opened the cloth satchel to reveal several loaves of bread, apples and bottles of water.

I grabbed a loaf of bread and discovered that it was still warm; it must have just finished baking. Immediately I tore off a piece and shoved it into my mouth. I could not have been more unladylike, but I was having trouble caring. Jericho watched me devour a loaf of bread in seconds with his mouth slightly open.

“What?” I mumbled through a full mouth.

“Like I was saying,” Amory also watched me with an expression that was both disgusted and amused. “Jericho and I will return to the Citadel to check the progress of the mission. If they failed last night without you, then most likely Jericho and I will have to do what we can alone this morning. The executions won’t start until the afternoon, so we have a couple of hours yet to do the impossible. Did everyone go last night, are we alone?”

“We left Roxie and Fiona to run communications once the channels were open again,” Avalon responded still chewing on his thumbnail. His stance was wide; he was totally in his element.

“Good, that will be good. Ok, so we will clean up in Sibiu. What about Lilly Mason? Is she with the others or in a different part of the castle?” Amory asked the question that had been gnawing at my heart since the boys arrived.

“Lilly Mason was released yesterday,” Avalon said incredulously.

“She was!” I practically shouted; I almost didn’t believe it was possible.

“Ok, good,” Amory responded, more calmly than I had managed. “Avalon you will take Eden back home immediately. And under no circumstances is she allowed to make any decisions. Do you understand?” Amory looked directly into my eyes. “Your friend is safe; there are no more reasons not to listen. You will do exactly as Avalon says. Got it?” I nodded quickly, I had no intentions of ever stepping out of line again, although I couldn’t help but feel like my efforts were worth it now that Lilly was free.