Chapter Thirty-One

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Dennis and I spent the morning in the farmers' market, where I tried to summon up the same magic I had used in the field the night before. I managed to bless a couple of the farmers, but the red sparks weren't very bright, and after a few minutes, I felt the energy drain out of me. Maybe I had been using too much magic lately, between the glamour and the spell in the field. I tried not to let it bother me, and I focused on enjoying the market and Dennis's company. At noon, we shared a meal of bread, olives, and goat cheese, sitting on the fountain in the middle of the market.

I sent Dennis home after lunch and returned to the cottage. I hoped Demeter wouldn't be back yet; there were some things I wanted to try out, but I needed to be alone. Luckily, the cottage was empty when I walked in. I shut the door firmly behind me and considered setting up a ward. Instead, I cast a spell around the cottage that would let me know if anyone was approaching. It wouldn't protect me the way a ward would, but it also wouldn't make Demeter suspicious if she came back to the house early.

Persephone had sent me to Greece to escape from Rochelle and Hecate, but she'd also wanted me to learn more about my power. "It's hard to learn when you are afraid," she'd pointed out. "In Greece, you will have nothing to fear."

I wasn't sure I agreed with her—I was terrified that someone would figure out that I was a fraud and alert Hecate—but I had to admit that for the moment, I wasn't in as much danger as I would have been at home. Ever since I'd declared to Red magic, I'd been too busy running and trying to defend myself to really figure anything out. I intended to change that, starting now. It was time I understood more about Red magic, and I wanted to start by determining the boundaries of my own power.

I fiddled with a small, pointed stone I'd picked up on my walk back to the house. It was almost prism-shaped, and it felt evenly balanced. It would do nicely for the work I had in mind. I removed my bag from my waist and pulled out a thin piece of red string. I tied the string around the rock and let it dangle between my first two fingers. The rock spun until the thread hung straight, and then it stopped moving. Perfect. I should be able to use it as a pendulum.

I crossed the room to the bookshelf and removed the old map. Sitting down at the edge of the hearth, I spread the map out on the floor in front of me. Justin and I had tried to figure out which region I controlled, and because I'd successfully averted the hurricane, I thought the Caribbean must be part of my territory. I wasn't sure where else, though, and before I could start working to balance chaos, I had to know where to concentrate my energies. I just hoped that my idea would work; I couldn't afford to waste an afternoon playing around.

Lifting the stone, I leaned forward and held my arm stiff. Once the stone hung still on the thread, I shifted my weight and gently began to move the pendulum over the spot that should have been the Caribbean islands. The stone started swinging in small, clockwise circles. I paused for a moment, and the circles became more precise. Good. It was working.

Trying to be patient, I moved south on the map, pausing every few inches. The stone kept swinging. As I circled the continent of South America, the stone slowed. I moved my hand back and cut across the land instead of going over the water, and the stone began swaying again. Meticulously, I traced the map. I was surprised that the stone didn't respond when I hugged the western border of South America. I moved my hand slowly out over the water, but the stone didn't start swaying again until I came close to the eastern border of Australia.

When I was done, I had a rough idea of the territory that was under my control, and I shuddered. It appeared that I had power over most of South and North America, part of Malaysia, and the eastern edge of Asia, including the island of Japan.

That was a lot more than Justin or I had thought. I felt a pang when I realized I couldn't tell him what I'd learned. I doubted if he'd ever talk to me again. Shaking my head, I steered my thoughts in another direction. I couldn't get bogged down worrying about Justin or anything back at home. Persephone had sent me here to figure out how to use my power, and I needed to focus on that.

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