Chapter Sixty-Six

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"Kevin," Guin said. Her mouth had gone dry and pasty, and the name stuck to her tongue. "Kevin O'Rian?"

The young man gave a curt nod. "Yeah, s'me."

Guin glanced sideways at Lorn, gauging is reaction. He looked calm enough on the outside, but Guin was learning this didn't mean much when it came to him.

She turned back to Kevin. "Okay. You said you've been waiting. We're here. You going to explain a few things or just stand there and glower?"

Kevin's lip twisted in a sneer. "Ain't you figured it out yet, clever clogs?"

Guin's hands tightened around the notebook. "Listen, Mate, don't push me , okay? I'm not in the mood to be pushed and—"

"Neither am I," Lorn concluded, fingering the pommel of his sword. "In fact, if you are who we believe you to be, I see no reason why I should not cut you down where you stand."

Kevin's took a step back and held up his hands. "You want me t'leave you two here, then?" he snapped. "I ain't gonna be threatened!"

"It's okay," Guin said, patting Lorn's shoulder. "He won't kill you unless you deserve it. Right, Lorn?"

"That remains to be seen," Lorn replied coolly.

Kevin's eyes darted between them for a minute, then settled on Guin again. "I'll tell you," he grumbled, shoving both hands back into his jacket pockets. "I'll tell you everythin'."

"Better get started, then," Guin said, crossing her arms and pressing the notebook against her chest. "Because I don't think we have much time."

Kevin's scowl deepened, and he nodded toward the book. "Abby give you that?"

Guin nodded.

Kevin ran thin, pale tongue over his lips and sniffed. "Was she—I mean..." He swallowed, as if something bitter had clogged his throat. "You spoke to 'er?"

Again, Guin nodded.

"She's your sister?" Lorn asked.

Kevin nodded, and his gaze dropped to the ground. "Was," he growled. "But that's later." He turned abruptly away and started back across the field. "C'mon," he barked over his shoulder. "We can't stay. This place ain't permanent. Nothin' here is."

After exchanging a brief, worried glance, Guin and Lorn trotted after him. When they'd caught up with his rapid, lanky stride, Guin asked, "What do you mean, it's not permanent? What is 'this place'?"

"That's what I'm gonna show you," Kevin replied.

Guin frowned and opened her mouth to say something scathing about extremely unhelpful and ambiguous gibberish, but was cut short when the ground dissolved beneath her feet.

In a blink, the world around them vanished into swirling gray mist, and Guin was falling. She flailed, spun, cried out—and landed with a thump on a hard surface. There was a bump and a groan to her right, and Guin swiveled her head to see Lorn lying face-first on the floor beside her.

She reached out and poked him. "You okay?"

Lorn heaved himself up on his elbows and winced. "I'll live, but I warn you, Guin, my patience is wearing thin."

"Yeah, mine too," Guin grumbled.

"Are you two gettin' up or should I jus' be off, then?" snapped a voice from above. "We don't 'ave forever, y'know."

Lorn's jaw clenched. Guin shook her head and gave him a warning look. He closed his eyes briefly, took a deep breath, and nodded. Alright. For now.

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