Chapter Ten: Frobisher's Alicorn

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Rainbows danced on the pavement.

I spun Éven's crystal from its cord and tried to make sense of what I had been through the previous night as the glass cast prisms on the concrete.

I couldn't stop thinking about him. His eyes, his mouth, his voice. I couldn't stop wondering what might have happened if he had really been there, and not just a projection. What might have happened if we'd touched?

I tried to force him out of my thoughts.

I was waiting for a bus to take me up to Hastings Museum, where Horseshoe had set up a temporary camp in town. I wanted to find out everything I could about the fey and Horseshoe, so that I could make up my own mind about who to trust. And I didn't want the first words out of my mouth to be about Éven. Our meeting was our secret, and I couldn't give myself away. So, I thought about rainbows.

Rainbows had been magic, once upon a time. They were snakes or bridges or signs from the gods. Now we knew they were only light refracted through raindrops or glass. Science told us that everything we knew was wrong.

But maybe that wasn't the whole story? Maybe rainbows really were magic, until science got its hands on them? Maybe science found a way to bottle rainbows and take the magic away? Maybe rainbows are still magic, but the magic is buried deeper than science can find?

There was nothing magical about the rainbows that my crystal was creating, because there was nothing magical about me. The crystal that brought Éven to me in the moonlight had become just a fancy Christmas tree decoration.

I had a feeling it wasn't meant to work in sunlight anyway. Éven was strictly a midnight sort of guy. Dark. Romantic. Mysterious. Intense.

His eyes.

His lips.

His touch.

A horn sounded. I looked up and saw Grace De Souza in a soft top sports car. She took off her sunglasses and waved to me.

"Need a ride, Ben?"

I palmed the crystal and slipped it into my pocket. "Are you heading to the museum?"

Grace nodded. "Hop in."

* * *

Dad loved to take me to museums. Mum said they were the one place I always behaved myself. I'd wander around in a wide-eyed daze while dad told me wild half-true stories about the past. Museums always brought together so much weirdness and wonder. Like giant pirate treasure chests full of extraordinary plunder.

The Hastings Museum had its own charm. The exhibitions included local smugglers' pistols and lanterns, tribal masks and drums brought back by colonial explorers, a worn-down collection of stuffed British birds, and a life-size plaster Iguanodon that's the unofficial town dinosaur. There's even an exhibition on Native Americans, because a guy born here a century before me had passed himself off as Native American. Now he's remembered as one of Hastings' favourite sons. Grey Owl was a fraud, but he told a good story.

Beyond the tepees and the tomahawks is my favourite part of the museum: a full-scale reproduction of the interior of an Indian palace, laid out like a courtyard, decorated with intricate carved dark wood panels of intertwining leaves and geometric lattices, edged with little faces of dogs, horses, monkeys, and fat smiling men.

The gallery overlooking the courtyard was lined with wooden cabinets full of art and treasure from all over the world, including Hawaiian ceremonial robes, feudal Japanese weapons, Indian pots and statues, and the heavy black doors of a Himalayan temple. It was an amazing place, not only for what it said about the world, but for all the stories of exploration and discovery that it conjured up in my mind.

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