Chapter Thirty: Jasmine

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Jasmine:

"Follow me, Brae." Roxy's sharp brown eyes didn't blink as her voice poured out, smooth as honey.

Brae nodded blankly at her, his own eyes were glazed over. He walked after her, dumb and unresponsive to everything but her voice.

"You're not in Control anymore, Brae. I am. I want you to contact your father. You are going to tell him to hand over power of the Arcan Realm to you. Then you are going to give it to us. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?" Brae nodded again.

The scene before me became immersed in an unnatural white mist, filling my vision so that I couldn't see anything. When it cleared, moments later, I was somewhere else entirely. It was an office, stately and distinctly Helian. Two figures were sitting at a large desk. One of them was Roxy, the other I recognised vaguely as the Helian King.

"The Control worked?"

Now it was Roxy's turn to nod mutely. Under her desk, she twisted her hands anxiously, flames constantly flaring and being extinguished.

"Then everything is going to plan. Tomorrow, we can kill the puppets."

Roxy now looked even more agitated. "Grandfather, I've been thinking... Maybe it would be sensible to keep Brae alive, at least for a little while... He could be useful..."

The King let out a loud, startling laugh. "No, I don't think so, Roxanne. We're much safer with them dead - the Arcan in particular. I would have thought you'd be glad to be rid of him. You are still keen to do it yourself? You had no problem disposing of his friends..."

The mist returned, leaving me disorientated. When it cleared again I was back on the cliff from my previous dreams.

"Brae?" The voice was still as smooth as honey, but less measured than before. I thought I heard a feint quiver in it.

"Brae, walk towards the edge of the slope."

Brae gazed at her serenely before turning to carry out her order.

"No - Make him turn around. You should see his face as he goes over."

"B-Brae." There was a definite tremble that time. "Brae, I want you to turn around. I want you to look at me as you walk back."

I looked, immobilised, at the strong, flame haired girl stood in the centre of the circle of cloaked figures. As she issued her final order, I saw a small tear drop fall from her eye and roll down her cheek. At the last moment, she closed her eyes tightly and crumpled to the floor.

I woke in a sweat, the same as all of the other nights, but this time so many things were different.

'Control' I rolled the word around in my head for a moment. He had said it as though it ought to be capitalised. Was that what they were planning? Why they had invited the delegates here?

As I struggled to come to terms with the danger, my mind kept focusing on the tremor in Roxy's voice; the tears trickling down her cheek; her eventual collapse. Why the change? She had seemed to relish her task in the first dreams, why did she now seem so reluctant? She couldn't possibly care if he lived or died - she was a Helian.

I knew that I needed to tell the others straight away. It would be safer to talk now, while the rest of the palace was sleeping, than to try and find some privacy tomorrow morning.

I quickly got out of bed and walked over to where Imogen lay, still fast asleep. I shook her shoulder gently. "Hey Im, wake up. I've got something really important I need to tell you."

She mumbled and rolled over onto her other side. I sighed. So much for the gentle approach. I shook her with more force. "Im! Up! Now!" I hissed, cautious not to raise my voice too much.

She woke with a start. "What? Huh? What's going on?"

In the bed to her other side, Devon also stirred. "What's up, Jazz? Is something wrong?"

"I've had another dream, only it was different this time. We need to talk to the others."

"Can't it wait until-" Imogen stopped short at the pleading look on my face. "Oh, ok then. But you can wake Cameron up - he's not going to like it one bit!"

It took us nearly ten minutes to stir the boys. Their room was right next to ours and their door had, somewhat foolishly, been left unlocked. Brae woke up as soon as he heard it open and Brody didn't need too much encouragement, but, as Imogen had predicted, Cameron was beyond difficult. Even when we had final got him to stir, he kept closing his eyes again. Eventually, when he was propped up in bed and as awake as we were going to get him, I recounted what I had seen in my dream.

"Control? You're certain that's what he said?"

I nodded at Brae. "Yes, it sounded like a title - it's something extremely important." I had wasted no time in telling them what I had learnt about Control. I had decided not to mention Roxy's strange behaviour though. It was too confusing and it didn't seem like a good idea to give Brae any reason to trust her.

"Well what should we do?" Imogen asked, looking panicked. "I was already dead in Jazz's dream. I really don't want to die."

"Maybe we should leave now," Brody suggested, his face grave. "It's not safe here."

"And leave the Sephans and Brizans here defenceless? They're hardly going to leave off the back of Jazz's dreams." Brae looked at me kindly. "We all believe you because we know you so well, but there's no reason for them to."

The room fell silent as we were all lost in thought, until Cam's voice suddenly said from under his sheets, "Perhaps what we should really be questioning is why Jazz is having prophetic dreams all of a sudden. I mean, that's not normal, is it?" The silence that followed this was rather more awkward and I avoided meeting anyone's eyes. I couldn't tell them about the purple - I needed them to trust me.

"I have been wondering about that," Brae said at last. "It's not something I've ever heard of before. But it's no more fantastical than our power over the wind, or this Helian ability to Control. Jazz must just be special. And it's not something for us to worry about now. We'll talk to my Mum and Caleb about it when we get back - they'll know what's going on. In the mean time, we need to find a way of warning the Sephans and Brizans without mentioning it."

I sighed with relief eternally, relieved by Brae's faith in me. "What we need is to prove to them that this Control really exists," I suggested.

Brae looked a little more hopeful. "Yes, but how exactly?"

"Catch the Helians using it?" Imogen suggested.

He shook his head. "Far too dangerous. We would be giving them an opportunity to use it on us."

I racked my brains for something which might give us proof without putting us in danger. "Oh!" I had suddenly remembered the room filled with books which I had seen with Roxy a few days earlier. "I bet we could find a mention of it in a Helian book. They're bound to have that sort of thing hidden away in the restricted section of the palace. If it's an important Helian power they must have something written about it."

"But we can't all go off exploring that part of the palace - it would look too suspicious and would be dangerous if we got caught." Brae was ever the pragmatist.

"Well Im and I could sneak in there tomorrow morning, while you keep the Helians busy in your meetings. Everyone would be far too preoccupied to notice us and if we do get caught we'll claim to be lost." It had already worked once.

Brae was silent for a moment before nodding somewhat reluctantly. "Ok, I guess that could work. But be careful."

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