"Astral what?" Calvin shakes his head in confusion.
Dalton's father, Nathaniel, leans forward to prop his elbows on his knees. "Astral projection." He repeats himself. I must admit, I am just as flustered and confused as everyone else is. "Most seers have the ability. I don't believe that young Rose even knows she was doing it."
"So she doesn't have visions?" Rachel asks and Nathaniel shakes his head again.
"No, she does." He tries again to explain. "From what you all have told me, she sees past and futures, but when she's seeing things in present time, those aren't visions. Those are her experiences while she is in her astral form. Her body stays behind, but she can interact with things within her projections."
Dalton stops his fast pacing in the back of the room, turning to speak for the first time in hours. "I didn't see her. Or hear her when she was talking to the witch."
"That's because she is still weak." Nathaniel tells him. "You have to learn to control it. Right now she goes on whims, not entirely under her control. She isn't strong enough in her ability yet to project herself into situations strong enough for others to see her, but the Caster can see her because she herself is a magical being." He sighs looking around the room. "I know the word magic is openly scoffed at, but the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can get young Rose back."
My own curiosity wins out over me. "How many of you are there?" I wonder aloud. As much as I hate to admit it, which is a great amount, Malcom was right. There is apparently a whole other world going on out there that none of us knew anything about. We thought we were the ones living in the shadows. But boy were we wrong.
"People like me?" He asks. "Legacies as you like to call us, there are plenty. Tons." He tells me. "Most remain hidden away, choosing to keep their talents a secret, for obvious reasons. It's hard enough to hold onto your own sanity when you see things that others can't even fathom, but it's even worse to be used for what you are."
Malcom looks away from the painting on the wall. "And yet you're here to volunteer." He muses. "Why?"
Nathaniel straightens his back, his resemblance to Dalton apparent in the hard set of his jaw. "I've seen...what the girl will mean to the world." He ducks his head, then looks up for Dalton. "I've also seen what she means for my family."
His wife, Victoria, lifts her big golden eyes to look around the room. "As different as we may be, we also know who the girl truly is, and we are faithful servants to our king." Both she and Nathaniel bow their heads, but not to me, instead, to Calvin.
He looks unsure of how to react, but everyone else's eyes swim to me, probably expecting me to be offended since I am the acting king, but I couldn't be further from it. I'm even relieved. When I took on this job, so many years ago, I did it to give life to the people I love, but I didn't at the time know what I was signing up for. I thought after being Hand of the King for so long that I understood the job, but the role of King is nothing to strive for. I could have never imagined the pressures or expectations.
It's one billion times more taxing than I thought it would be, especially without someone to share the load with.
My eyes betray my thoughts, seeking out Mathew where he stands with his sister on the far side of the room, his own big brown eyes finding mine. I look away just as quickly. I can't let my heart wander, not anymore. I won't survive another betrayal, and so I won't put myself in a position to be betrayed. As badly as I may want to.
"Do you believe you can help us find her?" I ask Nathaniel. The only matter of the heart I need to be worried about it getting Rose back to where she belongs. I can be a lone king, but I can't be a lone Papa Pedro. I need my Rosie.
Nathaniel wrings out his hands in his lap. "I'd have to be careful." He nods. "She's with casters, and who knows how many. I'd have to project my voice only. If anyone were to know she was talking to someone on the outside...it wouldn't be good."
The room falls cold under the implications of his words.
"Then be fucking careful." Dalton snaps. "But find her."
Rachel goes to him, giving him a look and he straightens his back and sighs, nodding an apology to both her and his father.
"How will you find her?" She asks and Victoria stands, running a hand over her long waterfall curls that sweep down her back.
"He'll need to know as much about her as he can to search her out in the astral plane." She explains.
Lance scoffs, kicking at the carpet. "Where do we even start?" He laughs, making everyone smile.
We go around the room, all listing off things about Rose. Her stubbornness, her heart, her fears, her loves. Her memory is so strong on everyone's mind that I can practically hear her giggle when she was a little girl and used to tease me about always wearing blue, or laughing just a few days ago about my awful taste in music when she dug through my things in my study.
Nathaniel smiles to himself as he closes his eyes. "Anything you all want me to tell her?"
"Just get her back." Dalton shuffles his feet. I've never seen him so uncomfortable in his whole life, and I have seen him in some bad ways. My heart strings tug. I should have seen this coming. "Please." He tacks on the end, glancing up under his lashes.
Nathaniel shakes his head once, his eyes heavy. His shoulders slump. "I won't be able to do anything but talk to her, and hopefully find something out about where she is and who she is with." He wants to be able to please his son.
Dalton's shoulders sink impossibly lower, but he nods. "Then do it." He says. "You find her, then leave the recovery mission to us." He's putting on a brave face, but we can all see through it. If we don't get her back, this will destroy him.
Victoria goes to him, taking tentative steps at first, but then she closes the gap. Putting her arms around him. I expect him to rear back, refuse her touch, but instead he slumps into it. I have to wonder while watching him what exactly happened between him and Rose. Maybe I'm even at fault for pushing the two together.
I can't fathom it though.
Rachel did stupid things in the name of love, and sometimes just because, but even though she says she would have, I'm not sure she would have done this for Calvin. He would for her though. Maybe I've been so busy always comparing her to her mother, I never saw that she is actually so similar to her father.
Still, I knew from the moment I introduced the two of them that something was going to grow there. They see the world through such similar eyes. They are opposite sides of the pendulum, but the two sides need one another to exist. Dalton and Rose need each other. Where one is weak, the other is strong, where one needs guidance, the other needs reassurance, where one needs freedom, the other needs to be reeled in. They are perfectly balanced and I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope that I would be right about my gut feeling of their rightness for one another, but now, waiting to find out if my girl is even still alive, I wish I'd never brought them together.
"She's going to be ok." Victoria whispers into Dalton's ear, brushing back his hair.
He shakes slightly, but then he nods, righting himself and looking down at the ground with so much anger that I expect the carpet to combust into flames. "She better be." He snarls at the ground, then looks up. "Either way, I'm tearing each and every one of them apart. Caster, Force, all of them."
Lance nods, stepping forward. "I'm with you." He lifts his chin, the first time I've seen either boy look at the other like they have any worth in the world.
"I'm helping." Calvin stands, his arms at his sides ending into two white knuckled fists, itching to get his hands on someone. I expect Rachel to object, but instead she hardens her own expression and nods in agreement.
"Are you ready, Nathaniel?" She asks and he nods.
"Good." I cross my arms, preparing myself for the worst, but hoping for the best. "Find our girl."