Chapter Forty-One – continued
Camille rushed around the tower, following Kyanan and the other fae to what they said was the door. They looked like they knew where they were going; how, she had no idea. But, if they were headed for the door, she wanted to be there when her sister emerged. Adrian was busy with Madeline, Ephraim, and the Pearl King and Queen, though she knew he must long to grab Abigail into his arms.
“Here,” Kyanan whispered. “The stones speak to me. The door is here.”
The other woman closed her eyes and drew in a breath. “Yes,” she breathed. “There is a soft breeze, the slightest of freedom for the air to move.”
Camille’s brow twitched as she looked at the orange haired woman. There was something a little odd about her, a little stranger than all the other fae she had ever met. But both fae were staring intently at the wall, and she could feel the Olidan staff clustering behind her, eager to see Abigail safe and well. So she did, too, even if she felt foolish staring at a wall of stones.
Time seemed to crawl by. She knew her sister must have been weak and tired, and there was no telling how many steps Abigail had to navigate without falling. It was, after all, a tall tower and the window she had been standing at had been quite high, practically at the top.
Quickly, she whirled and waved to catch Helene’s attention. The woman had been speaking quietly with Geoffrey, worry flitting around her brows, but she hurried over as soon as she locked eyes with Camille.
“Yes, my Lady,” Helene said, dipping her head.
Camille sighed. “Helene…never mind. Abigail will be famished when she comes out. Will you-?”
“Of course, my Lady,” Helene said quickly, bobbing a curtsy before dashing off.
Camille shook her head, not at all sure of what she was going to do with the staff. But at least Abigail would be fed and in Adrian’s arms soon. Right now, that was all that mattered.
She felt a sudden itch. It was somewhere around her chest or abdomen. She couldn’t quite tell, and it would not be appropriate to start to scratch at herself with so many people around. But it was insistent and bothersome. It made her want to jump out of her skin. And run.
Camille had known that, one day, she would be the Countess Olidan, knew she’d take up the responsibilities of being a house close to the King of the Glass Kingdom. She just hadn’t expected it to happen so soon.
There was a sudden light, soft and pearlescent, difficult to see in the middle of the day with the sun shining brighter than it had in weeks, months. She’d lost track of how long the war had gone on for.
“The door,” Kyanan whispered. At some point, while Camille had been desperately trying not to itch, she had drifted to her side, the orange haired fae having flitted off. “It’s opening.”
Camille couldn’t hold in the gasp as the stones abruptly vanished, falling away into a depth that wasn’t there.
And there, framed by the remaining stones with a dark flight of stairs behind her, was Abigail. She was pale, her eyes luminescent in a face nearly white. Her body was shivering as she clutched the glass shoe to her chest, her teeth clattering even as she clenched them together. She looked far from a noble lady, far from the woman who would soon be Queen. She looked like a waif, vaporous and pale.
“Abigail,” Camille breathed, breaking away from Kyanan to catch her sister as she attempted to take a step and instead stumbled, though she still clutched at the shoe.
“Camille,” Abigail whispered, letting her head fall forward as dry sobs wracked her chest. “I was so terrified. They left me to die in there.”
“I know,” Camille whispered, gently extracting the glass shoe from Abigail and handing it back to Kyanan before clutching her sister to her. “You were supposed to be safe in the castle. I’m so sorry.”
Abigail snuggled into her sister and shook her head. “We couldn’t have known, couldn’t put the pieces together.”
Before Camille could respond, Adrian had spotted them.
“Abigail!” he shouted just before she was plucked from Camille’s arms and quickly wrapped up in his own. “You’re safe.”
Camille wasn’t quite sure if her heart was going to burst from the need to have her sister back in her arms or from the joy it gave her to see Abigail and Adrian reunited, but she stepped back all the same, wondering at the wetness on her cheeks, the wetness that suddenly clouded her vision.
But all was well.
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