I don't know how long I walked. The miles stretched on and on as I limped my way slowly along. Every time I saw headlights or heard the roar of an engine, I ducked behind the corner of a building or dove behind the closest telephone pole. I didn't know if the men were still out there searching for me.

It took me awhile to make it back to the magic shop, and when I got there I saw that the door had been smashed in. I made my way cautiously inside. The place was a mess. Every piece of glass in the room was broken. Items once neatly stacked on shelves now covered the floor. Ripped books lay piled around.

It must've taken a brutal streak of violence to tear the place up like this. As I stood in the middle of the wreckage, my thoughts turned to Luke. The last time I'd seen him, he was being tossed out the window.

Please, Goddess, let him be okay, let him be here, please, let him be alive. I prayed under my breath as I took the stairs two at a time.

I rushed into the main room, and there he was, sitting in a chair, with his head laid against his folded arms.

I was so happy to see him that I cried out his name. "Luke!"

He looked up and leaped out of the chair. We came together, our bodies slamming into a hard embrace that made me gasp in pain, but I ignored it.

"You're alive," I whispered.

He tightened his grip. "So are you."

We stayed like that, entwined in each other's arms, until he slowly pulled back and asked, "Where's Darla?

"I don't know. They still—" My voice broke. "They still have her."

He pulled me into his arms again. "How did you get away?"

"I jumped from the car."

He took a step back and looked me over. "Are you hurt?"

I held out my arms and turned them over, "I've got some cuts and bruises, and I twisted my ankle a bit, but I'm all right. Are you okay?"

"The railing stopped me from going over into the alley. I hit my head." He reached up, touched the side of his head, and winced. "I must have been unconscious for awhile. When I came to it was dark, and you were both gone." His voice was full of anguish now. "I didn't know where to start looking. I know people hate our kind, but I never imagined they would raid the house and try to kill us."

I had to clear my throat a few times before I could speak. "Those men weren't after you. They were after me."

"You recognized them?"

I had recognized two of the men. They were there the night my family was murdered. I nodded my head and turned away. I couldn't meet his eyes. I was the reason he'd almost died and why Darla was now in danger. "I'm so sorry. I should never have come," I whispered.

He came up behind me and rested a hand on my shoulder. "We need to find Darla."

I spun around. "Your family—people from your guild—can help us find her and bring her back."

"My guild, my family, everyone...they're all on the retreat. They're up in the mountains. It's remote. Cellphones don't work up there. Darla and I were the only ones who stayed back to watch the store. There's no one to help."

"But...you said your uncle would be gone for weeks. Does that mean no one will be back for weeks?" Panic filled my voice.

He nodded his head. "Darla's not dead. I'd know if she—" He stopped and took a deep breath. "They have her. We have to find her."

"How do we find her?"

"We don't. You do."

"I don't understand."

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