Mine to Tarnish

Mine to Tarnish by Janeal Falor

Book: Mine to Tarnish by Janeal Falor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janeal Falor
house when we first met?” I remember putting my hand in his for the first time, trusting him.
    “ Partly. Also, I couldn't risk it with that law officer. He is going to remember us both. We're taught to always keep risk to the warlocks helping us to a minimum as much as we can.”
    No sense jeopardizing the only help you have more than necessary I suppose. “It sounds as if you've really thought this through.”
    “That's Mary for you,” Sherry says.
    Her voice makes me jump. I almost forgot the others are in the room with us still. They look on with intent eyes. Too intent. I focus on the repairing the breeches like it's had the majority of my attention the entire time. The hole I've been patching is almost finished. The work is familiar, even if the circumstances leave me wondering if everything else familiar is being proven foreign.

    Chapter Eight
    B eing underground all the time is difficult to become accustomed to. I think each day will be better than the last, but each day it feels as if the walls and ceiling are pressing in more and more, growing closer and closer. A week of it makes it seem as if there's barely room to move. It’s this thought that has me staring at the rock above me, wondering how much longer the tunnels will remain upright when Charles nudges my shoulder. “Are you doing all right?”
    “ Yes.”
    “ In truth?” He looks at me as if he really wants to know the answer.
    “ I am. Only, it’s stuffy here. I don’t know how you manage to live in caves all the time.”
    “ It’s not ideal, but the alternative is worse.”
    That’s certain. I’d rather be down here than with Nigel, even if it does collapse on us. Yet living here day-to-day makes that hard to remember.
    “Maybe we should sneak you out for a walk,” he says. “I think it’s been long enough to be safe. We’ll stay in the forest.”
    “ That sounds lovely.” More than lovely. I put my pack on.
    “ Over a week here and you still have to keep your pack close?”
    I shrug. “It’s all I have.”
    “True. Makes me think I should start carrying a pack with me.”
    “ At the very least, I’m ready to mend anything without running back to my room.”
    Together we head for the entrance. Halfway there, we meet Mary rushing through the hall, her features pulled tight. “They’re searching for Katherine in town. It won’t be long before they’re here.”
    Charles pulls me closer. “Are they using a spell?”
    “ Not yet, but we can’t be certain how long it will remain that way. There’s no indication yet whether or not they have found her ribbon. We have to go. Now.”
    Mary runs back through the hall. Charles and I chase after.
    As I run, gasping along, I think on how I should have never come and endangered all of them. I should have packed my ribbon. I should have stayed home. We wind our way through the hall, the pressure of it possibly collapsing outweighed by the warlocks’ imminent invasion.
    We reach the door to the outside. Mary already has it open but hasn’t moved the bush yet. She’s peering out between the branches.
    “They found us,” I say, dread winding through me.
    “ Have they?” Charles whispers at Mary.
    “ Shhh.” Mary backs up and softy closes the door. “The scouts are clearing the area. I don’t know how much longer we have left until they get here. We need to use another exit. Charles, you can escape with us or…”
    Her eyes shift to me even if she's too kind to say it. Or he can get caught with me.
    He doesn’t even hesitate. “I’ll see you when I can.”
    My heart bursts, with both guilt and relief.
    “Why do you always have to be so rash?” Despite Mary’s stern words and tone, she pulls him into a fierce hug. “Keep safe.”
    “ We will,” he says.
    They aren’t just looking in the area. Because of my ribbon, they’re coming directly to this hideout. And I’ve led them here. Without any questions asked or thoughts for anyone but myself. They are

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