Chapter Seventeen – continued
“Shh! The prince has gotten me into trouble. Never mind, Camille. Please, just listen. Is anyone else awake?”
“Not a soul. It’s just me in the nice warm kitchen, where I thought I might find you since your bed was empty. Though I know you were home since it’s quite a mess.”
Abigail sighed. “Listen, please, Camille. James and the mermaid princess’s handmaiden, Poppy, came to see us early this morning. They need our help.” She glanced over at the couple, but neither seemed to be paying her any attention. “They’ve decided to run away. James does not wish to marry Merike and has instead fallen in love with Poppy.
“The mermaid princess isn’t who we all think she is. She’s power hungry and will use her marriage to James to claim both kingdoms for herself. It’s actually quite fortunate James fell in love with Poppy instead. We must keep the marriage from going through. I’m taking James and Poppy to Roderick Manor.”
“You’re taking them to the linked world?” Camille asked.
“Yes. The Rodericks can help protect them. Keep them from being dragged back here. They’ll have a chance at a normal life together, Camille, and we can try to keep the Glass Kingdom safe from Merike.”
“Since you’re with them, I suppose I’m the eyes and ears?” Camille asked, sounding oddly resigned. Abigail allowed herself a small smile. My, how their roles had been reversed! The girl who never left home riding off into adventure and the one who craved it stuck at home. Though Abigail was glad it was her sister with Muriel and Madeline and not her. Camille could handle herself better with them than she would ever be able to.
Abigail cleared her throat. “Yes, you are. As soon as the alarm is raised, please let me know. If you could keep tabs on everyone and everything…”
“Don’t worry, Gail. Andalissa and I will get on it right away.”
“No!” James and Abigail cried out at the same time.
“Camille, we can’t risk bringing the Murants in,” Abigail said, glancing at her vigorously nodding cousin. “It could be disaster for them. They must be innocent.”
Abigail heard her sister sigh. “Well, I suppose I could get myself into the castle. It’ll keep me away from Muriel and Madeline.”
Abigail closed her eyes and sighed. She hated to admit it, but Camille was turning out to be right about their stepsister. After watching Madeline watch her during the entire ball, it was clear the sweet, reserved sister was simply a charade.
“Don’t worry, Gail,” Camille said softly. “I’ll make sure neither has any idea where you are.”
“Thank you,” Abigail said softly.
“Now off with you. Get James and the mermaid to The Spindle as quickly as you can. I’ll take care of everything here.”
Abigail dropped the glass and turned to look at the couple. She smiled and nodded, her shoulders slumping a little as they smiled back at her.
“My prince,” Poppy said, looking up at the bright morning sunlight filtering through the treetops. “My mistress sleeps late, but, surely, she will wake soon. Your father’s men are swift, yes?”
James set his mouth in a grim line. “They are. It will take some time for them to ensure neither of us is in the castle anymore, and at most an hour before the border knights are alerted to keep watch for us.”
Abigail groaned. “You’ve roped me into a fool’s errand, James? Haven’t grown up, have you?”
James put a solemn hand over his heart. “Abigail, I would never willingly pull you into danger. Nor would I endanger the life and safety of the woman I love.” He reached into a pocket and pulled out a small, opalescent stone. “I, ah, may have snuck a peek at the engagement gifts.”
“Fae wish stones?” Poppy gasped.
“From Clarice and her sisters,” James confirmed.
“Well, then, that’ll do it,” Abigail said briskly. “Clarice is a strong fae. How, exactly, are you planning on using it?”
James grinned and held the stone up to his mouth. He whispered a few words before blowing it into dust. The shimmers lingered for only a moment before coalescing into a large oval right before the noses of their mounts touched it.
Abigail gasped as the shimmers made her bared skin tingle, but the ring of horseshoes on cobblestone nearly made her cry out.
Catch up on Sisters of String and Glass
Check out Queen of the Garden of Girls