Chapter Seventeen – continued
The morning was chilly, but adrenaline helped keep her warm. Abigail’s cloak flapped behind her as she raced behind James and Poppy, pushing Pear so they were out of the city limits by the time the city was fully awake. There was no telling how long it would be before Merike discovered her handmaiden was gone.
The cold air stung her cheeks. The reins bit into her hands, tightly knotted around them. Pear heaved under her, somehow feeling the same sense of urgency as her mistress. Abigail’s breath clouded in front of her mere moments before her face dashed through it.
After the engagement ball and all the merriment that had flooded through the city the night before, the streets were quiet. Abigail couldn’t help wincing a little as the sound of hoof beats echoed throughout, but it was more important they get as far away as possible in the shortest amount of time.
The sun was just clearing the horizon when they entered the forest on the outskirts of the city. Winding through it wasn’t the fastest way to The Spindle, but it would keep them hidden as it crept all the way to the border between the Glass Kingdom and The Spindle.
Once in the thick woods, the three riders slowed their horses to a trot and Abigail made her way beside James.
“How long do you think it’ll be before Merike discovers Poppy is gone?” Abigail asked.
On the other side of the prince, Poppy shook her head. “Not long, Lady Abigail. The princess does tend to sleep late, but she will call for me as soon as she wakes. James and I took a chance stopping to see if you would help us.”
James smiled at Abigail. “We really can’t thank you enough.”
Abigail pursed her lips. “Just hope your father doesn’t execute me for helping you run away.”
James’s eyes widened. “He wouldn’t! For one, it would mean he couldn’t count on Lawrence ever again, and we all know how much my father relies on yours to help keep cordial relations between us and the rest of the kingdoms. For another, my mother has forbidden him from executing anyone ever again.”
“Thank goodness the Queen has a good head on her shoulders,” Abigail muttered. “I suppose I should notify Camille. She can handle whatever happens in the city.”
James nodded. “That’s a great idea, Gail.” He turned to Poppy. “See? I told you it would all work out.”
Poppy inclined her head, her loose hair falling over her shoulders. “You know this family better than I do.”
Abigail sighed and lifted the sea glass hanging around her neck to her lips. She had no wish to see her cousin and the woman he was running away with go to mush next to her.
“Camille,” she hissed into the glass.
A moment later, a startled, “Abigail?” rang back through.
“Camille, I need your help.”
“Gail, why do you sound like your teeth are chattering? Are you well? Should I call for a physician? Wait. What do you need help with? Has Adrian hurt you?”
Abigail clutched the piece of glass and squeezed her eyes shut, trusting Pear for a moment.
“I’m out for a ride,” Abigail finally said. “If anyone asks. A long one.”
“Alright,” Camille said slowly. Then, more alarmed, “Why? Does this have anything to do with Adrian?”
“No. Not a thing.” Abigail glanced sideways at the prince and handmaiden riding along beside her. The chill air didn’t seem to be affecting them the same way it was her. They were chatting with smiles and warm looks. “Look, Camille, I need you to listen for a few minutes. I need your help. It has to do with James.”
“The Crown Prince?” Camille hissed in surprise. “What kind of trouble have you gotten yourself into, Gail?”
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