Chapter 21

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Last one!

I was the first one awake the next morning, as was to be expected. Ed was propped up against a tree with his head lolled to the side in what looked like it was going to hurt when he woke. Dirg's wings were covering his body as much as they could, trying to shield him unconsciously from the early morning light, and Shawn wasn't having a nightmare or holding more than my hand. I stood and stretched after extracting my hand from Shawn's. Sleeping without a pillow for two nights straight was giving me a crick in my neck, and I was sore from flying. I decided not to dwell on it and thanked God for the beautiful morning. I crept away as silently as I could to go relieve myself and found several berries and edible plants, gathering as much as I could. I rinsed them off at the stream and went back to where the three boys were still snoring away. I whistled tunelessly as I mixed the greens and had the wonderful idea to crush the berries to flavor the other vegetables. I noticed Dirg's eye half open and look at me sleepily. I grinned at him.

"Good morning, sunshine!" I greeted him enthusiastically.

He grunted and didn't move. Shawn jerked up from where he was laying at the sound of my voice, his eyes wide.

"Gosh! Don't scare me like that!"

Ed groaned as he awoke, reaching up to rub his neck. "Ow..."

Dirg didn't move. He was terrible at waking up, so I smiled his way and announced, "I made breakfast!"

He shot up at that and glared at the salad suspiciously. I rolled my eyes.

"No one can burn salad."

"Oh, if anyone could, you could," he grumbled.

I stared at him. "You just-"

"Talked? I know. I don't think there is a way I can get through today without talking."

I stood, the salad forgotten as our eyes locked. "What do you expect to happen today?"

He shook his head. "Were the berries red?"

"No," I huffed, annoyed that he didn't answer me.

"Purple?"

"I think I liked it better when you weren't talking," I stated irritably.

He smirked. "I still won't order you to do anything."

"Good."

I backed up so the boys could have easy access to the salad and sat against a tree. Shawn was the first to venture to eat my salad, probably because he had no prior experience with my inherited cooking tendencies. When he didn't seem to be dying, Ed took some, and Dirg stretched. He looked at it but didn't eat it. I watched him, trying to figure out what was wrong. He was tense, looking to the sky frequently, little lights swirling around his head. I frowned at that. He never lost control of his power; he would purposefully do that to intimidate people when he was angry but never accidentally.

He brushed himself off and turned to Ed. "At the rate we were going yesterday, we should be there in two hours."

Ed nodded, chewing a particularly fibrous plant.

"When we cross the barrier, I will black out, he will start screaming, and she will get dizzy. What do you wish to do?"

He chewed slowly and thought about it, his eyes flicking from Shawn to Dirg to me and back again. He finally swallowed. "Theo is at the border. He will catch Lucy. I should carry Shawn, and you can fly ahead so you wake up faster."

Dirg looked at me from the corner of his eye. "Can you carry Shawn and make sure Lucy doesn't crash at the same time?"

I tensed. "I don't need anyone to watch over me."

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