Reckless Magic (Page 52)

“How do you want us to go? Timisoara?” Avalon asked as if he were a travel expert.

“No, it’s too exposed. You’re going to have to go the long way. I believe our most efficient but incognito option is to cross into Hungary, ditch the rental and take a bus or train into Austria, once in Austria utilize the trains. I think the Zurich airport will be your best bet to leave Europe undetected,” Avalon nodded along to Amory’s directions, but I felt completely lost. I tried to conjure up a picture of a European map in my head, but couldn’t trace the route mentally. I guessed I really would just have to trust Avalon. Oh boy.

“Do you want us to take our time?” Avalon asked all the right questions.

“No, get out of here as quickly as you can. The last thing we need is for you two to join the exiting traffic. Get home before the Festival is over,” More instructions I felt like I just barely understood. “Where are the cars?”

“Sighisoara,” Jericho answered.

“Good, good,” Amory paused for several moments and appeared to be going over things in his head. “Ok, I think that’s everything. We’ll see you at home,” Amory shook hands with Avalon and then Jericho and Avalon shook hands. The boys all began to walk back over the hill and I followed quickly behind them.

Once over the hill I saw that we were at the edge of the town they had just been talking about. The town of Sighisoara was spread out in a quaint and quiet cityscape that fanned over the smaller foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. The buildings were hundreds of years old and the still sleeping city had a very ancient world feel to it.

I kept pace with Avalon until we found the cars tucked away in the rustic village. Both vehicles were the classic Dacias that seemed to be the only style of car allowed in Romania. Avalon pulled out a set of keys and politely opened the passenger’s side door for me.

“Oh Eden, take this,” Amory walked over and handed me the cloth bag of food. I pulled out an apple and immediately took a bite. My grimy teeth were grateful for the natural cleansing the apple blessed them with. “There is a set of clothes at the bottom of the bag,” Amory kissed the top of my head before returning to the other rusted Dacia where Jericho was waiting.

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” I asked sarcastically. Amory grinned happily back. “Hey Amory,” I yelled quickly as he began to enter his car, he paused, looking up at me. “Thank you,” I said, full of emotion.

“One day, I hope you return the favor,” his smile turned sad and then he was in the car and Jericho was driving away, leaving us in their trail of heavy exhaust.

“Let’s go,” Avalon yelled impatiently at me.

I sat down on the worn upholstery and thought longingly of my yellow Land Rover. I would never take it for granted again. I continued to munch on my apple, feeling very much at peace. Avalon gunned the gas and took off through the winding, hilly streets of another beautiful Romanian city.

I decided that I would very much like to come back to Romania under different circumstances. I couldn’t help but be excited for the remaining leg of my journey. Compared to the last few days it sounded very relaxing. For my first trip to Europe, I felt like this was quite the crash course. At least for the second portion I would have company, and it sounded like Avalon knew where he is going. That would be a nice change.

“So Lilly was really released?” I asked, breaking the silence.

“I guess so. Apparently your boyfriend spoke on her behalf and she was given a second chance. They’re going to let her return to Kingsley and everything,” Avalon’s voice was skeptical and I had a hard time believing the news as well.

I sat back, admiring the scenery, once again silent. Kiran did save Lilly. I made him promise he would, but after the fact I wasn’t sure what to expect. Butterflies attacked my stomach as I remembered the emotion in his eyes during our farewell.

The depth of longing I felt for him didn’t seem possible for someone my age. My heart was gripped with clarity; completely full of adoration for the boy I could officially consider the love of my life. My magic was stirred with the memories of our energies mingled and wild together. My cheeks blushed at the thought of my mouth once again pressed against his.

Against all reason and circumstance we had found each other in a world torn apart by our very existence. In order to be together we would have to defy all odds, defy all logic, and defy all influence. I saw two battlefields in front of me; the one that pinned Kiran against me, and the one that we would have to forge in order to be together. I understood the purpose of the Resistance, but the battle I chose to fight would be the one that brought me closer to the man I loved with every fiber of my being.

Chapter Forty-Five

I stretched my arms and lifted my head off of the cold glass window. I yawned wide and shook my head, making the crick in my neck disappear. Looking out at the Austrian country side flying by, I smiled. Europe had captured my heart; if only I hadn’t been on the run to save my life.

Avalon seemed in deep thought as he too stared out of the train window in silence. Field, farm, field, farm, lake, field, farm, mountain…. Austria was breathtaking. Of course I said the same thing about Romania, and then again about the rustic beauty of Hungary. Austria was a different kind of beauty however. The clean and contemporary buildings and more modern farms made it clear that this was a different side of Europe.

I pulled my ivory cardigan closer around my waist; the train air was frigid and although I was grateful for the new set of clothes Amory picked out for me, they were obviously picked for convenience and practicality, and not necessarily style. A pair of baggy, brown work pants clearly meant for a man, a plaid red colored shirt and an ivory cardigan felt like the nicest clothes anyone had ever given me after what my cruise wear had been through. I also had had to retire my Nebraska sweatshirt; but I promised myself I would buy another one paying tribute to the Huskers when I returned home.

I wiped my fingers beneath my eyes, self-consciously. I remembered what I looked like when I was finally able to assess the damage in a Hungarian train station bathroom. I did the best I could to rinse out and wash my hair in the small sink; I at least had gotten it out of the hair tie and into a neat bun on the nape of my neck. It wasn’t pretty, but at least I didn’t look crazy anymore.

My face, arms and legs were covered in dirt and grime and I would definitely need a long, hot shower to feel completely clean, but I was much improved, although my legs needed a good shave.

My face took the longest to scrub clean; besides the dirt, I had to deal with a mess of makeup plastered to my face. Never again would I travel wearing non-waterproof mascara and black eyeliner. By the time I exited the small bathroom, my face was bright red and swollen from all of the scrubbing.

I sent a burst of magic through my body, heating my blood and awakening my senses. Avalon naturally felt the surge himself and sat up a little straighter. I smiled at him, hoping to draw him into conversation, but he stared past me in a dreamlike state. He was so worried about the outcome of the mission he could barely function. And even though he carried an international phone and glanced at it every other second, we hadn’t heard from anyone since we left Romania.

Avalon was skilled at international travel and clearly used to being followed. He had taken every precaution necessary to ensure we were alone. After ditching the Dacia on the Romania/Hungary border, he set it on fire, making sure any physical evidence we left behind would be destroyed. We then took a bus through most of Hungary, changing only once we were close to the Austrian border. Since Austria we had changed trains as often as we could while still moving in the general direction of Switzerland.

I couldn’t help but enjoy the trip however. Riding a European train was like truly riding in style. The glory of the Austrian Alps was like nothing I had ever experienced before; and I would gladly ride a train through them until I had every mountain memorized.

The game plan was to fly home from Zurich; who knew how many trains that meant before we were in the heart of Switzerland. Only Avalon was concerned about our timing though. I was too swept away with Europe to be in any hurry to leave.

Avalon’s phone buzzed gently and suddenly he sat up completely alert. I noticed the tension in his body and felt his anxiety as he opened the cell phone and answered quietly.

“Hello?” he asked softly, discretely.

“Oh, thank God,” I saw his body visibly relax and felt the apprehension turn to silent joy. “Is the package in the mail?” he asked, using code. I couldn’t help but laugh; he was like the obvious cliché for a 1950’s spy. Next thing you knew, we would be on our way to Russia to stop the Kremlin.

“What?” he asked, suddenly exasperated. “You can’t be serious! I’m not doing that. No way. I might as well send her to the London palace with instructions on how to find the rest of us. No way….” whatever he was so upset about, he had dropped all pretense of code. “No way….” he repeated over and over to whatever the other line was saying.

“Where?” he asked eventually, with a softer but more frustrated tone. The hostility in his voice was unmistakable. “How do we know it’s not a trap?” he listened a little longer, his magic growing stronger and stronger every second. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the humans could feel it for themselves. “What happens if you’re wrong?” Avalon listened longer, but did not seem appeased.

“If I do this, I want some type of insurance; some type of trade off…. We would have gotten her out of there even if he didn’t do anything. That doesn’t make him a hero; it just makes him look like an idiot!” Avalon stopped talking to get an earful from whoever was on the other line. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, totally engrossed in Avalon’s side of the conversation.

“Fine…. I said fine. I guess we’ll see you in Geneva,” Avalon snapped the phone shut and glared at me. I was almost too afraid to ask what that had been about.

“Geneva?” I asked tentatively.

“I guess so,” he mumbled.

“Switzerland?” I tried again.

Avalon nodded affirmatively.

“What happened to Zurich?” I finally asked bravely.

“We’ve been ordered,” Avalon paused and cleared his throat irritably, “asked.... if we would oblige the Crown Prince by joining him in Geneva,” he couldn’t even look at me, but turned to glare out the window.

“It’s not a trap Avalon,” I said quickly but quietly; my stomach filled with butterflies.

“I do not want to talk about it,” Avalon responded grumpily and I knew better than to push it.

A black sedan pulled up in front of the train station and Avalon took the initiative to approach. I followed behind, shouldering my backpack once again. A man exited the driver’s side to open the back door for us. Avalon stuck his head menacingly into the back seat before entering the car fully. I smiled apologetically to the driver and climbed in behind Avalon.

Avalon sat with arms folded and his back turned to me. I knew he was mad, but I also didn’t think I really deserved the silent treatment for the last eight hours. I elbowed him roughly in the kidneys before the driver had returned to his seat, but he didn’t respond.