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chapter seven | tea, history, and an accidental key

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The Virieux children and the two extras were gravely silent for about two seconds, before a flurry of excitement and chaos erupted.

Sebastian started listing various myths and legends behind the Fall of Boeken, drowned out by Jean-Luc and Andrè yelling at Julienne, their voices overlapping too much to be coherent. Emmy stood in shock, blinking at the seemingly harmless bronze and glass in fascination.

Julienne finally clapped her hands over her ears, just as Emmy pulled the younger girl behind her back. The boys finally quieted, and Emmy nodded. "Could we please speak one at a time?"

"Listen," Jean-Luc started, authoritative and determined. "According to the stories my older sister told us--"

"The night she disappeared," added Andrè, a wry smile showcasing his dimples.

Jean-Luc ignored him. "If the necklace touched magic, it activated. Which means--"

"The bad guys can find us." Andrè nodded, eyes widened dramatically.

"--we might be targets. That is, unless she meant if a magical being touched the necklace and not a magical barrier, but we don't know." Jean-Luc studied the necklace around his sister's neck. "Opening it requires someone--

"--with magic."

"Will you stop that?!" Jean-Luc finally snapped at his brother, who chuckled in response to the desired outburst.

Sebastian blinked at them, shaking his head. "The day the capital of Dutkans fell, the majestic city of Boeken... that was twenty years ago. The soldiers dedicated to protecting the books of knowledge and power, or magic as you call it, disappeared a long time ago."

"Boeken is still overrun," Emmy added softly, glancing at her friend. "We don't know who they are. The people who know disappeared and everyone who whispers about the capital do it when we're not there to listen."

A sharp whistle resounded through the room, startling the children. When it continued, shrilly hammering into their minds, Emmy hurried over to the kettle and used on of the errant cloths to remove it from the heat.

"So, what do we do?" asked Sebastian when everyone relaxed again.

Jean-Luc narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. "What do you mean?"

"We have a necklace." Sebastian gestured at Julienne. "And we have people wanting it, who may or may not come searching for it. What do we do about it?"

Julienne shook her head. "Nothing. It should be fine."

"I don't think you understand," Sebastian started again, only to be cut off by the door banging open.

A furious wind swept into the room, ruffling hair and tugging at their clothing, before it was shut out behind the front door.

"I think a storm is coming," Michele announced as she turned around. Noticing the two extra children, she smiled at them warmly. "Hello. Sebastian and Emmy, right?"

There was a brief pause, as everyone recovered from the conversation they'd just had and the abrupt change of subject.

"Hello Mrs Virieux," Emmy greeted Michele properly, with an outstretched hand a sweet smile. "It's good to meet you."

"Hello," Michele gently shook the girl's hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you as well."

Sebastian nudged Emmy aside and swept into a bow, his orange hair standing on end. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mrs Virieux."

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