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chapter twenty-seven | jean-luc is so calm in this hostage-situation as if he's either waiting or given up hope, and julienne is about to embark into a creepy cave. i swear.

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The campfire was their only source of light and heat, the sparks merrily burning upwards and flying high above their heads.

Julienne watched the flames, huddled beneath a travel blanket.

They had found the river by following the roar of its water, and had decided to camp out next to it for the night.

Anton liked to remind them of their next steps; following the river, finding a cave, and then Watervalle.

Julienne just hoped they would finish their task soon.

She wanted to go home.

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Andrè had his own room, now.

When Lise and Alec had fixed up their house, they had given Emmy the room Andrè's parents had slept in. Sebastian was given Bayard's room, which now only held a bed, and Andrè was given his old room.

Charlize slept on the bed with him, curled on the other side and not touching him. Skout, however, usually flopped onto the bed and slept sprawled over Andrè's feet.

Each day, Sebastian and Andrè left for school, accompanied by one of the two Dtieren. Each day, Emmy refused to leave the house.

Charlize had taken to Emmy, sometimes allowing her to be petted and stroked.

When Emmy's father, Mr Willet, came to the door, she fled upstairs to her room and refused to open the door. She refused to talk to him, even when he said he had heard about the betrayal and that didn't make him love her any less.

The only thing she did when she heard that, was cry.

Sebastian was out of his depth. As a friend, a ward of Mr Willet's, he offered to talk to her and to come back home on his own. He was told to stay if she stayed, to keep an eye on her.

Andrè was the one she talked to.

She told him what she'd done, what Sir Mark had told her regarding her parents, and then sat on her bed and wrung her hands and wondered what to do.

"You have to talk to your dad," Andrè finally said, stroking Charlize and eyeing Skout as he jumped up on Emmy's bed.

Andrè was seated on the floor, leaning against the wall, acting too wise for his tender age of nine.

"How do you ask that? 'Hello, Father, the evil leader whom I betrayed my friend to told me he was my father and you were not.' Or, 'Papa, am I really your child because this really big, really strange, really evil knight told me I was his child over breakfast." Emmy fell silent for two seconds, tugging the strands of her frazzled hair. She looked up at Andrè, with a firm expression. "No, I won't."

Andrè sighed. "You have to go to school, at least."

"No," Emmy shook her head. "I don't want to see people."

Andrè gently rubbed behind Charlize's ears, surprised when she started purring. "I will tell your father everything if you don't come to school tomorrow."

"Fine," Emmy snapped. "Now, get out of my room and go... talk to Sebastian or something. That was cruel."

Andrè scoffed, getting to his feet. "It was not."

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