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chapter eighteen | imprisonment is boring and some of us have a sense of humour at the totally wrong times

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They were locked in the same tower as before, though the skies were now darker than black ink and as clear as the stained windows found at Mireston Academy.

They'd been given no candle, and since there was no fireplace, there was no fire to provide any light or warmth. Emmy sat on one rug, surrounded by pillows, an extremely thick fur swallowing her whole.

Jean-Luc had the bed, a quilt to cover him, and the coat he'd worn to school the day he was taken. Yesterday, if his timing was accurate.

"Emmy?" He asked, deigning to speak to her, though he did not look in her direction. "What did you tell them?"

Emmy's eyes were closed, trying to sleep with no success. "I told them how long you'd been with us, what the necklace looked like, and where Julienne wanted to go."

Jean-Luc heaved a sigh, turning his head to look outside. "What do we do now?"

"Do you think he's my father?" Emmy asked instead of answering Jean-Luc's question. "I... my father back home loves me so much. It doesn't make sense."

"Blood doesn't make a family." Jean-Luc traced a finger on the cool glass of the window. "He looks a lot like you."

They were quiet after that, absorbed in the wonderings of their own mind and the never-ending list of questions that they didn't the answer to.

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"Anton," Madie hissed, leaning against the table. "They need to leave. Or I need to leave. This is the wrong place to be. I can't..."

Anton picked up the dropped bowl of stew, set it on the table, then pushed his wife towards the door. Plucking a coat from one of the pegs, he set it around her shoulders.

"Michele," Anton sighed, swinging the door open. "I should be back after I take her to my mother's. Lenni, please pass me the sword underneath the couch."

Julienne carefully readjusted her position, leaned over the edge of the couch with her head upside down, and reached for the hilt of the sword tucked in the small space between the couch and the floor.

"Anything I can do?" asked Michele, eyes swinging between Madie and Anton.

Madie looked apologetic. "I'm sorry, Michele. I'd love to help, but I just can't. Not with a baby on the way. It's not just my life I need to be concerned about anymore."

"I understand perfectly." Michele's smile was strained. "Lenni and I could leave."

Anton grabbed the sword from Julienne's outstretched hand. "Thanks, Lenni. And it's too late, Shelley. You stay, I'll be back soon, and then we'll... figure something out."

With that, Anton pushed his wife out the cabin and slammed the door, leaving behind a bewildered Julienne and a tired Michele, with a wonderful stew still simmering over a warm fire.

"Watervalle," Michele muttered, starting to pace back and forth. "Boeken was close enough that the Master Scholar only needed a day to travel there. Fontein was several weeks away from the capital..."

Julienne watched her mother trying to piece things together. She settled into the couch, sweeping her gaze over the room. Spotting a white, knitted blanket nearby, she stretched her arm and torso in order to reach it, then settled it over her lap with a smug satisfaction.

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