Twenty one

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As it turns out, Nymphs are bad with rejection, being such affectionate creatures. I knew Cara always took things a little too hard but I never realized that it was in her blood. I just thought she enjoyed being dramatic, because she’s always said so. But that was part of her cover-up. And I now know why she wants to go into nursing so badly; she has a small amount of healing knowledge passed on to her from her father’s adoptive mother, who she always referred to as Grandma Coal, because of her coal black eyes and hair native to the Sprit Nymphs (go figure, I didn’t know Spirit was an element). She lives in Portland, and hasn’t visited Cara since her father died, though Cara has gone out there at least once a year to visit her in her forest home. I have vague recollections of the woman; she was always very kind to me and insisted on my calling her Grandma Coal as well.

It takes two days for Tristan to finally realize how much of an idiot he was being. Two days of Cara clinging to me like a toddler that’s been refused candy clings to their parent in hopes of getting some. When he finally calls her, she almost jumps off of my bed in excitement.

“He’s calling! What do I say?” She flails her arms like madwomen until eventually pointing at the ringing phone.

“How should I know? Just answer and hear him out.”


“Cara, it’s going to stop ringing soon. You should probably–”

She answers. “Hello?”

A minute passes then two, then four, then six and so on as he talks to her. Her face goes through a range of emotions until after fifteen solid minutes of silence on her part, she bursts into tears.

“Is everything okay?” I ask.

“He says he wants to know everything.”


“You know,” I say to Tristan as he walks into my room, “I wanted to break your face.”

“I know,” he says, rubbing the back of his neck. “I freaked out and fucked up.” I walk over to him and punch him in the arm.

“I deserved that,” he says.

“Yes, you did.” Cael says from his perch on my window seat, his eyes full of laughter. He got here about ten minutes before Tristan. Apparently Cara texted him to come on over, and he extended that invitation to Victoria, who is currently sitting on my bed like she owns it.

“Now that we’re all here,” she sighs, lazily stretching out like a cat across my still sleep-messy sheets (I didn’t expect to have anybody but Cara over or I would have at least made my bed). “I suppose we should get started.”

Cara rolls her eyes. “Get started on what? I updated him on everything over the phone.”

Victoria frowns, but nods her head anyway. “Good. Then that saves us time. We’re going on a field trip today.”

Cael hops off the window seat and walks toward me. “We figured since we’re all in one place, we may as well break out the big guns. If we’re going to get through the Battle intact, we’re going to have to build relationships with the people fighting on our side. And we also figured we’d start with a mutual friend of mine and Vicky’s –”

“I like it when you call me Vicky,” Victoria says. “It’s much better than Victoria.” I make a mental note to refer to her as Vicky from now on.

“Anyway, our friend is a good guy,” says Cael. “His name’s Liam and he’ll be instrumental in helping keep you alive during the Battle. He’s extremely strong and powerful.”

Dark One- The Khiara Banning Series Book 1 Where stories live. Discover now