Part 3

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They didn't make it far before Kyrrin collapsed, pulling her to the ground with him. She held him tightly as he buried his face in her shoulder and heaved great dry sobs.

She stroked his hair. "It's okay. Let it out."

He actually shook his head against her.


"I killed my mother," he choked out, gripping her shoulders so tightly she thought he might leave a mark, as if she was the only thing he could hold on to, the only thing he had left. "Those flowers were her only chance. And it's gone!"

"It's not your fault." She buried her fingers in his short hair. "You tried so hard—"

"It wasn't enough. It has never been enough! I ruin everything. This one chance, this last chance to save her, and I couldn't even manage to do it." His voice cracked. "She's going to die."

And then the gates opened and he sobbed.

Arriyah held him, stroking his hair and whispering sweet nothings to him for long minutes until he hiccupped himself under control.

"I have magic," Arriyah reminded, playing with his fingers where they sat in the grass. Kyrrin seemed to need her touch, like it was grounding him from flying away from reality. She couldn't blame him. "I could try to search for the flowers, if there any still out there."

Kyrrin straightened up, her words putting a new fervor in him that instantly made her feel better. His listlessness had scared her. "You can do that?"

She hesitated, worrying her lower lip. "In theory. It's very strong magic, though, stronger than anything I've ever done before. I've only been told about the spell by my shaman. But if it works, I could find them."

He searched her eyes. "Is it dangerous?"

"Yes," she said honestly.

"What could happen to you if the spell got away?"

She didn't want to think about that. She let her gaze slide away, trying to think of an answer that would avoid his real question. Before she could, he tucked his fingers under her chin, forcing her eyes back to his. "Could you die?"

"It's possible," she murmured, her voice barely audible.

"Absolutely not." His hand dropped away, and her relief at not trying the dangerous spell was countered by her disappointment at the loss of his touch. "We'll find something else. There has to be something else."

Her brow furrowed as she thought, hard, trying to remember every teaching of her shaman. How were they to find something they'd never seen, something they had no connection to, something they didn't even know existed? She ran her fingers through the grass, letting the wisps tickle her wrist. There had to be something, someone...

A dragonfly skimmed past her nose, and suddenly an idea struck. "Faeries!" She clapped her hands and looked back to Kyrrin. "It's said that there are faeries out here, and if you catch one, they have to answer one of your questions honestly."

Instead of looking doubtful, his expression was thoughtful. "Where do we find one?"

He passed her the map when she gestured for it, and she spread it out between them in order to trace trails over its surface. "They can live anywhere—the woods, the hills. But all faeries love sugar. And I'd bet that there's honey in this flower garden." She pointed to a place on the map.

"So we just grab one and make it talk?"

Arriyah made a face. "We don't have to 'make it' do anything. Those are the laws of the faeries. If we catch one, we get one question answered honestly. Any question."

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