The Silver Siren (Page 26)

Cirrus stood. “I’ll help you, Kambel.” Kambel visibly brightened and the two began to talk quietly.

The great entryway doors crashed open. “She’s escaped!”

I whirled around in my chair to see who had burst through the double doors of the Adept Hall. One of the captains of the guard. The reddish-blond hair could only belong to my friend Garit.

Garit’s face was ashen; his hands were clenched in fists displaying his anger at the situation that he now faced. But he stood tall and straight, his chest only slightly heaving from his haste to warn the others.

Pax stood up. “Who did?”

“The female prisoner they brought to the castle. She’s gone.”

My stomach dropped. Mona had been our only chance to find out where Tenya, Joss’s sister was. Now we would never find her—unless we found every Septori member and used the truth serum on them. I couldn’t help but sink dejectedly into the chair and feel the weight of the news press into my heart. Who would be the one to tell Joss?

Queen Lilyana stood up and raised her voice angrily, “What are you doing then? Send out a search party.”

“Commander Merryl has already done so,” Garit answered back.

Queen Lilyana turned and looked at Lorna. “Because the prisoner is a Denai, I would like the adepts’ help in the search. I have heard rumors of the Septori being spotted in the southern provinces. I want you to search south as well.”

Adept Lorna walked over to stand by Queen Lilyana. Lorna was a good foot taller than the young queen. “Of course, Your Majesty. I’ll personally look into this.”

She nodded her thanks and turned to me. “I am very sorry for all that you’ve been through. I can only hope that this will all be over with soon.”

Garit shifted his weight uncomfortably. “My Queen, we need to take you back to the palace quickly. We don’t know how she escaped or if there are others helping her. You are not safe here.”

He turned on his heel and left, ushering the queen out before him. I felt oddly offended that he hadn’t even acknowledged me. He must have seen me. When the doors closed with a click, the atmosphere in the room exploded.

“Lorna, we are not the bloodhounds for the queen’s army,” Breah huffed out. “They can’t expect us to help track down people whenever they ask. The prisoner is a Denai for goodness sake—one of us. Next thing you know, Queen Lilyana will change her mind about the Citadel and want us to track down all of the Denai in Calandry.”

Lorna spun around and pointed her finger at Breah. “It is exactly because the prisoner is a Denai that we will help. We will not endanger the weaker because one of our kind chose to use their gifts for evil. If this Denai kills any humans, the responsibility falls on us. All of us as, a race. We can’t afford for another genocide on our kind. Our race is already too weak—and growing weaker with each generation.”

Breah’s eyes went wide in shock and then squinted as she pointed heatedly at me. “She’s not growing weaker. In fact it seems like she is the only one that is growing stronger…and she’s not even one of us. Maybe the Raven is the only true Denai among us. Maybe he is the one that is in the right. Have you thought about that? If he did this to a mere human, what do you think he could do for the Denai?”

Lorna gasped, Kambel dropped the book he was holding, and Pax stiffened. Cirrus’s eyes bored into Breah’s with intensity. Breah took a step back, her skirt swishing against her legs and she looked at each of her fellow adepts in turn.

“Don’t tell me none of you have thought about it. I know you have, because I have. I only want what’s best for us. Best for the Denai race,” her voice quivered and her eyes were glassy with unshed tears. “She is not our future.” Her finger pointed at me. “That girl is not the savior of the Denai race. She is only the product of a greater Master Plan. We should simply consider that we might be wrong about the Septori. Maybe they are right.”

Lorna swallowed slowly and raised her hand in an attempt to calm Breah down. “Breah, this cult has kidnapped, tortured, and killed Denai children.”

Breah shook her head. “No, we don’t know that. We don’t know for certain. All we have is her word on that. She could be lying. Did you actually see the Denai killed—did you see their bodies?” I stopped breathing as her words rang through my head. Had I seen any bodies? No. But I’d heard Scar Lip and the others talk about how no one else survived.

“No, they’re dead. I heard the Septori say that some of them weren’t strong enough for the treatments.”

Breah kept shaking her head at me. “Liar! You aren’t a Denai. How can a mere girl without any gifts be strong enough for the treatments but not a powerful Denai? It doesn’t make sense.”

“No, it doesn’t. It probably never will. But I can tell you that I’m not just a girl without any gifts. I’m a Valdyrstal, a steel wolf. I have the blood of the Sinnendor Kings running in my veins, I was raised to rule our clan, and I’ve fought in a Kragh Aru tournament. I am who I am, and I am who I will become—which is…I don’t know what. A monster, a powerful Denai, or something else, But I am no mere girl.”

I stood to leave but I looked over my shoulder at the room that had now been divided. Kambel, Pax, and Lorna on one side of the room. Breah on the other and Cirrus who sat squarely in the middle, obviously not taking sides.

“You, on the other hand, dear Breah, are nothing more than a mere Denai.” I opened the door and closed it, but not before I heard an angry shriek in return.

I couldn’t help but smile.

Chapter 16

I had never felt more helpless than I did the next morning. I wandered the halls and peeked my head into the classrooms, my heart saddening at so many empty seats. No one had come out and stated it, but I knew deep down that these missing students hadn’t gotten anxious and gone home. The empty seats signified how many had been kidnapped in the middle of the night.

Like I had been.

A sour taste filled my mouth and I bit back the bile that wanted to rise to the surface. I’m stronger than this. I’m stronger than all of them. But I needed to do something useful until the adepts had news. Pax, Lorna, and Breah had all left that morning with a couple of the journeyman students. Hopefully, the next time I saw them they would know something.

Joss had fallen back into the routine of attending classes and studying. Kael had disappeared, and Hemi and Fanny were out in the city, quite taken with each other.

I didn’t want to attend classes like Joss, but I felt useless standing around. In my wanderings, I made my way back to the kitchen. I entered and tried to stay out of the way of the servers and kitchen staff. Having worked here, I knew how crazy it could get. I found myself pitching in, washing dishes. It was busy work and I let my mind wander.

I had probably been washing dishes for a few candle marks when strong hands wrapped around my waist and lifted me into the air.

“You’re back!” Donn yelled out happily. “I’ve missed you.”

I grunted from the strength of Donn’s awkward hug, but I put up with it until I was set gently back down on the ground. “Look at you. You’re skin and bones! Here, I bet you’re hungry. Come eat, come eat.” I was pulled into the side kitchen and Donn started to make me a plate full of eggs, sausage, and bread.