Sisters of String and Glass, Part 131

Chapter Thirty-Two – continued

She gripped his hand tightly as he led her deeper into the castle. They wound their way up staircases and down hallways as she recognized the route to the royal wing. Trepidation filled her breast. Had something happened to the Queen?

But Adrian did not lead her to the Queen’s chambers, or even the King’s. He took her to one of the chambers that currently lay vacant.

It was quiet as Adrian slowly opened the door. Servants and women from the infirmary moved around, almost slow as molasses, their movements neat and tidy without hurry, but hushed in a way that put her on edge. It reminded her too much of the rooms she sat in, holding the hands of the dying.

Adrian led her past them as they bowed their heads in respect, but she caught the grim looks, the tightness around their lips and eyes. The fear returned, threatening to choke her.

The bedchamber was brightened only by the light streaming in through the wide open windows. The air carried the sea breeze, which had calmed hour by hour as the mermaid princess’s body cooled.

On the bed was a figure, lying very still. But Abigail recognized the stillness, the lack of breath. She’d seen it countless times since the battle with the sea witch had begun.

Her eyes strayed up to Adrian’s face, silently asking why he’d brought her to see a dead body.

Abigail was startled to see tears gathering in his eyes. He nodded solemnly to her, silently gesturing for her to approach the figure.

Alone, she walked, slowly with measured steps, her heart thumping as her fingers began to shake. She had no idea who lay on that bed, and it scared her.

A few steps away, her heart plummeted and she rushed for the bed. She stumbled to her knees beside it, her hands grasping for the covers, for the lifeless hand, for the face that would never look at her again.

They’d never had a close relationship, but, as hot tears streaked down her cheeks and her hands shook uncontrollably, Lawrence had still been her father.

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