[ FIFTEEN ]

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chapter fifteen | so, more family members and i changed the title, combined with the efforts of my trusty partner in crime, and now i will endeavour to create a bit more chaos

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The plains faded behind Julienne in a blur of melting white and sprouting green, as Spring seemed to invade Winter though Summer was supposed to be ruling.

When they reached a road, Michele stopped the poor horse and dismounted.

"Stay on the horse, Lenni," Michele instructed, slinging a pack on her shoulder. "We're following this road to the next village."

Julienne watched her mother, then turned to look behind them. There was nothing but empty space.

"Where's Papa?"

Michele sighed. "I don't know, darling. We need to keep going."

Julienne tucked the dark curls behind her ears, looking down at the tired horse beneath her. She petted its mane and side.

"Mama?" She asked with doubt and confusion soaked in her words.

Michele glanced at Julienne. "Yes?"

"Why are we running away?"

Michele took Julienne's hand, squeezed it encouragingly. "We're trying to find a solution, Julienne. Not running away."

Julienne bit her lip, staring at the road in front of her. "It feels like we're running from trouble."

"But we're also running to a safe place, for the Library Pendant and for you." Michele took her hand back and adjusted the straps of her pack. "If you get rid of the necklace in a safe place, we get to go back home."

And then, because the suns were bright and the snow was gone and Summer caressed their skin, Michele told the ageless lie parents fall trap to.

"Everything will be just right."

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The snow white owl was sitting on Lise's porch when she returned from work, not bothering to hide as Lise warily returned its stare.

It just blinked in response to Lise, who decided to ignore it and enter her house.

The night spilled into the foyer, which was dark instead of being lit by candlelight, which it should've been by now.

"Alec?" called Lise, confused, one hand still holding the door open. "Andrè? Jean-Luc?"

The bird let out a 'hoot', startling Lise as it shuffled to sit on the windowsill.

"What is your problem?" snapped Lise, entering her house and leaving the bird. "Alec! Where are you?"

Nothing but silence answered her.

Silence, then a creak, and Lise was out the door in a second, the door slamming behind her as adrenaline pumped through her blood.

Glancing behind her, she didn't notice the figure until she ran into it.

She let out a surprised yelp, laughter causing her to shake her worries. Lise had only run into her husband, André at his side, finding the situation amusing.

Alec was holding her elbows steady, frowning down at her. He looked up, past her shoulder to the house, and then lay a hand on Andrè's shoulder.

"Where was your brother today?"

"Library with Sebastian," Andrè answered, unaware of the tension. "Can we have dinner now? I'm starving."

Alec widened his eyes at Lise, wordlessly communicating, and she straightened up.

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