Toby led Wes through the forest until they reached a paved road. He looked up to the sky knowing they didn’t have much time until morning.
“How much farther?” Wes asked.
“My truck is up here.”
Wes shook his head wondering what a truck was. His question was answered when they finally reached the forest’s edge that was still cluttered by bits of rubbish. Wes looked at the squareish looking thing thinking it didn’t look better than the dump they had just left.
He got in as Toby got in on the other side and turned a key on the protruding column. He then moved another rod, and the smelly thing moved forward down the road.
“How much farther to her dwelling?” He asked as they started to pick up speed.
“She lives a couple of miles away.” Toby kept his eyes focused on the road as they continued to pick up speed.
The yellow markings of the road dashed by as the truck began to shake slightly. Wes gripped the small handle on the door and wondered if the thing would fly apart. He looked over at Toby several times and he showed no concern to his truck that sounded like it was going to either explode or break apart.
“Is it wise to drive this thing that fast?”
Wes saw Toby’s mouth curl into an amused smile.
“Scared?” He asked when the truck suddenly slowed, nearly throwing Wes out the large window.
“No, but questioning your ability to drive this thing.”
“Look, I got you here,” he said as they pulled up to a dark house that was slender with the roof extending nearly to the ground. Flowers grew everywhere and lights, not as brilliant as orillions, were placed along a winding path.
Wes pushed past Toby and went up to the door, but found it shattered into pieces. Inside was dark, and whatever happened, wasn’t good. He pulled a hand orillion from his pocket and flicked out his palm scepter with the other. His footsteps were soft, while Toby’s weren’t much quieter when he was tromping through the forest. Wes stopped.
“Stay here, you are too noisy.” He shoved the orilion between them as Toby glared at him.
“If something happened to Lyssa…” He shoved Wes out of the way and headed for a section of stairs that went up to a second level.
I want to be the one to save her! Not some Etherling!
Wes ran after Toby, but after checking the entire dwelling, there was obviously no one here. Wes stood looking at the shattered door. It could have been Izzet’s men, but he had used the portal in the museum, and would have noticed if they used it before him. Besides, they wouldn’t shatter the door and make what looked like a dramatic entrance. They would’ve taken Lyssa secretly, to not alert anyone. The more Wes looked around, the more animalistic it looked. But what else would have shattered the door with what looked like an explosion and draw the attention of other Etherlings living in the area?
With the orillion in front of him, Wes went back into the room filled with cabinets where a round table sat in the middle with chairs tipped on their sides beside it. The room was in disarray, and he should’ve examined this room first, but just in case Lyssa was here, he didn’t want Toby to find her first. He had envisioned finding her and rescuing her in some valiant way. And now, it wasn’t looking too promising.
He examined the floor closer, trying to find any clue that might tell him what or who had come for her. Besides the front door being shattered, this room had the most damage, and more likely were Lyssa was at when she was taken.
Burn marks, he didn’t notice before, scorched the floor in a straight line. Wes bent down and ran his fingers over it. He then looked up at the ceiling, and found the shadowing of the same burn marks of that on the floor.
Wes stood up and shoved his orilion into his pocket. Someone portaled directly here, and it was obvious from the telltale signs. But what perplexed Wes was who had the portal to do this. And portals usually don’t leave any traces—this one was more likely unstable. There was only the one portal in the museum, and the other hidden in the Arrinia forest. Etches, of course, were used, but even then, they didn’t always work. And to have such accuracy with any etch, you had to have someone of great knowledge to make one or be wealthy enough to buy one on the black market.
“Yeah, I’m here now, at Lyssa’s house—someone took her, Sean.”
Wes’s thoughts were interrupted by Toby who was taking to Sean by a device held up to his ear.
“What are you doing?” Wes demanded pulling it from his hand.
“What the hell are you doing?” He grabbed it back as Wes heard Sean’s voice telling him he’d be right there.
“We don’t need to bring in any other Fae or Etherling. This is dangerous, and Lyssa is in danger!”
“Sean can help us and he’s on his way here.” Toby flipped his device shut.
Wes wasn’t going to wait for Sean to let him tag along, and Toby, as told in Lizzi’s premonition, was still a danger of being captured by Izzet. He had no choice, Toby was going with him, and he hoped he could work the portal back to the museum.
Wes didn’t have anything to subdue or compel Toby to come with him. He’d have to play on his emotions.
“If we want to save Lyssa, Sean isn’t going to help us. I can work the portal and get us back to Fae. That’s where she’s probably at anyhow.”
“So, you have an idea who done this, who took her?”
Wes looked at Toby. “Not exactly, but rumors of the Everspell are sifting through Fae. The ones that know of it and its power want to have it for the pure magic. And they have the access and wealth to get the Everspell.” He stepped closer towards Toby. “Lyssa is in danger and the longer we stand here waiting for Sean, the harder it will be to find Lyssa, and even by then, it may be too late.” The thought of Lyssa being hurt or worse, made Wes’s insides sink, but he had to get toby to come with him.
“Yeah, but Sean knows her, and he helped us before.”
“Toby,” Wes said. “We must go. Sean is of no help right now. He’s only delaying us.”
If Toby wasn’t a possible puppet or an unused magic source of the Muse dynasty, Wes would had left him and portaled back to Fae.
Toby looked at Wes studying his eyes.
“Come on,” he pressed.
Just then, something knocked hard and loud on the glass door until it broke and glass shattered to the floor.
Wes pulled out his scepter as something large, hairy and carrying another Etherling in its massive, talon hands burst through the door half breaking it down and half trying to open it.
“Found Craig,” said the mog with his large eyes peering down at them.
“Toby!” The Etherling cried.
“It’s alright, Craig. Let him down Mike.” Toby took the Etherling Craig aside who looked confused and frightened at the same time. Toby spoke softly to him while he had the mog stand back.
Wes remembered him, and knew Merlin had put a forgetting spell on him so he’d have no memory of the Fae world. He looked pale and as if he was going to be sick. Wes guessed that either his memory of everything had surfaced or he was in shock of being captured by his pet mog.
Wes retracted his scepter and put it back into his pocket. He took in a deep breath as he now had two Etherlings and a mog to take back with him. He was to bring back Lyssa with him, and only Lyssa. But Lizzi’s premonitions didn’t forecast this. The future was always subject to change Lizzi told him.
Wes looked at the two Etherlings and mog. Lyssa was to be here for him to save, but she wasn’t. She was somewhere with someone, but who. Wes had to find her and for right now, the best he could hope for was that he wouldn’t get caught portaling back to Fae with them in tow.
“He would’ve used the museum’s portal, no, he might have used an etch.” Zaki walked quickly towards the museum. “Etches are temperamental, he wouldn’t have risked it, and probably wouldn’t even be able to get a hold of one.” He snickered.
“Come, gem,” Zaki said tugging Lizzi by the wrist like she was a child or a pet on a leash. “I want to check out the portal in the museum, and I want to be there when he comes back.”
“No,” Lizzi pulled back as Zaki turned with glaring eyes and wrapped his arm around her.
“Look,” his voice held a composed restraint to it, “it isn’t about who got to the Everspell first—it’s who has possession of it. And I don’t think your little Wes has the capability to secure it and keep it safe from all the wolves waiting for the one who risked their neck to go and get it to take it from them.”
Lizzi walked beside Zaki up the stairs and into the museum. It was dark and their footsteps echoed off the marble walls.
“First of all, the Everspell isn’t an it.” Lizzi stopped again, and this time, she shrugged Zaki’s hand away. “It’s a she, and her name is Lyssa. And Wes is perfectly capable of taking care of her—he loves her.”
And he is the Prince of Nerabeth—why this was important, Lizzi didn’t know, but her insides—her guts—and especially her premonition, told her he was.
Zaki chuckled. “Love,” he said, “love isn’t going to keep her safe from the monsters, demons, and maybe even a few angels from one of the last pure forms of magic. The Muse brothers created it, and the last remaining one wants it back. Once she has it, there is no stopping her.”
“But what are you going to do with it?” Lizzi asked, unexpectedly.
She was surprised at her own question. She didn’t give it any thought, but felt it was always there in the back of her thoughts but never put into words.
Zaki looked steadily at her in the dim light with unblinking eyes. Lizzi expected him to be angry at her or insulted, but he didn’t appear to be either.
“Gem, I am one of the last few remaining of my kind, and what I plan to do with the Everspell isn’t for a personal venture. There are things that no world should contain, and the Everspell is one of them.”
Lizzi shook her head wanting him to elaborate, but he didn’t. Zaki’s eyes spoke for him, and she saw it in them. Past the sometimes demonish glow, the curious way he looked at her, was a depth that she barely got a glimpse of, but wanted to see more. As if it had traveled through the air around them, Lizzi understood that this was greater than both of them and even the Fae world. The Everspell was something that didn’t belong anywhere, and Lyssa had it in her.
“What will happen…?” Lizzi let her words trail off as Zaki placed a finger to her lips to silence her.
“If we don’t move, someone will beat us to the only possible way our Wes got to the Etherworld. The incompetent sentries left the door unguarded for now, so let’s hurry and take advantage of the easy access, and get to the Banshee Portal before anyone else does.”
This couldn’t possibly be happening. But it was, and Isaac Snowbird even came to the Ball with an engagement ring. Still in shock, and letting her princess training take over, Megan had to get out of here.
“An autumn wedding would be perfect in Atlantis on the island of Meropsis. The beaches are absolutely beautiful there.” Stephanie was already planning the wedding, and was moving onto the honeymoon when Megan stood and excused herself a little too abruptly, but she had to get away from them to collect herself, and escape.
Megan went towards the bathroom, but then walked with several servants towards the back of the room and into the kitchen area. She thought someone would stop her as she stood out like an obnoxiously, bright stone among the black and white dressed servants.
It was a large, enclosed room full of noise and Fae walking every which way. No one paid attention to her as if princesses escaped this way all the time.
Megan made it to the back of the building where it opened up to a loading dock. She jumped down onto the street, and headed towards the lit-up museum that was two blocks away. She hadn’t planned on going to the Etherworld this way, but she also didn’t plan on her mother marrying her off to a complete stranger. She didn’t have time to think that over, she had to move quickly and get to the portal.
Megan didn’t have any spell vials with her, and maybe she wouldn’t need any. She hoped Elijah and Merlin wouldn’t intercept her as she now ran towards the illuminated museum.
“I’m not going to marry anyone!” She huffed under her breath, cursing her mother in her head.
“Stop Miss,” a voice said from the darkness just as Megan started to climb the museum’s steps.
The sentry looked at her as she saw two other sentries in the shadows. She smiled at him.
“I’m sorry, I was here earlier and I left my purse in the bathroom on our exclusive tour before the Ball.”
Breathe and keep focused.
With no spell to back her up, Megan was going to use her Banshee power as best she could—from within herself. She knew her mother could do it, so why couldn’t she.
“There was no tour earlier,” he turned to face the other two sentries for an explanation. They shrugged their shoulders and nodded their head.
“Yes, there was a tour earlier, and Princess Casperinia did leave something behind, or I guess it was yours as the bathroom story is adding up.” Megan turned to see Deravon smiling at her.
“Princess,” he said with a bow. “I’ll take over, and escort the Princess here to collect her purse.”
“But why didn’t you just have a servant come and get it?” The inquisitive sentry asked. “And aren’t you supposed to be over at the Ball as one of the sentries there?” He turned towards Deravon.
Megan rolled her eyes and crossed her arms as she let out a huff and then glared at the questioning sentry. “First of all, you have no right to question me, and second of all, my servants like to steal things so I don’t think I’d let them come and get my purse which has my personal belongings in it!” She let flames rise in her eyes, appearing mad towards the sentry even though she wasn’t. She just wanted to get to the portal. “And when I asked this stupid sentry to go and get it for me, he didn’t. I waited fifteen minutes, and he didn’t even budge!” She cocked her head to the side as the sentry slightly backed away. “So, I took it upon myself to go and retrieve it.” She ended her rant with a scowl.
“I apologize, Princess, but we have the duty of your safety in mind first.” Deravon gently pressed on her back to go up the stairs. “As you can see, we don’t want a spectacle or our services to Avalon tainted, especially tonight, understand?” Deravon guided Megan up the stairs and into the museum.
“What are you doing?” Megan asked as she didn’t wait for a response heading towards the portal room. “What were you, following me? Uhhg, I don’t even care—just leave me alone!”
“Wes is gone, and the portal was used.” Deravon’s voice echoed behind her.
“What?” She stopped and turned around.
“I know through Merlin that you once attempted to use the portal with success, and I was going to approach you about it when my little sentry-in-training went missing, and then I saw you exiting through the kitchen, so I thought I’d follow you.” Deravon gazed at her as he stepped closer. “I think Wes used it. My duty was to alert my superiors if anything suspicious happened in our security system, and it did, I didn’t report it. There are many things going on right now, and I have a feeling that the game has just begun.” He gave her a sly smile. “Your Banshee persuasion, I think, would’ve work on those two sentries, and you would’ve succeeded if I haven’t had interrupted. I didn’t even catch a hint of a spell vial being opened—your mother is the only one I know of that can do that.” He raised his eyebrows. “I guess you can too.”
“How…never mind, I have other issues right now.”
“Don’t we all? Come on Princess, to the portal room.”
Deravon didn’t give Megan a chance to reply, protest or even give an excuse as their footsteps echoed to the portal room.