The Rogue Knight Page 83

“We were looking for you,” Mira said. “We knew you wouldn’t be in your true form. All we had to do was find you, touch you, and say your name. But we only got three guesses—one in each place. I didn’t think about you being the enemy until right at the end, when you asked me to yield.”

“Were you about to pick that horse instead?” Honor asked incredulously.

“It kept apart from the others,” Mira said. “That seemed kind of like you—doing your own thing. But as I got close, it just didn’t feel right. Something told me to wait until the last second, in case I made a better discovery. Asking me to yield was something you would do, but it didn’t seem like something a monster would do.”

“I shouldn’t have done it,” Honor said. “Not if I played his game the right way. Killing you was my ticket out of here. It just seemed harsh to kill a trespasser. You hadn’t stolen a horse yet. None of you tried to fight me. I felt like a bully. No, worse, a murderer. I knew you were probably just some fabrication, and I knew you might disappear again before my blow connected, but I still couldn’t feel right about striking you down without offering you a chance to surrender.”

Cole had moved over to stand by Jace. They stayed off to the side, close enough to hear everything, but not wanting to intrude. Honor glanced at them. “Thanks for coming for me. Look at you. You’re just kids.”

“What are you?” Jace asked. “A wise old grandmother?”

“I meant no offense,” Honor assured him.

“You looked like a monster to us,” Cole asked. “Could you tell?”

Honor shook her head. “I felt like myself the whole time.”

“How well did you know the maze?” Jace asked.

“Not well,” Honor said. “I only knew I had to protect the horses at the center. You three looked like little goblins.”

“Congratulations on winning your freedom,” Hina said, stepping closer to Mira and Honor. “I am to escort you to the gate. Before you go, Trillian asked me to pass along a parting gift.”

“I don’t want anything from him,” Honor said.

“Nevertheless, it is yours,” Hina replied, opening a carved wooden box. A tiny sphere of light emerged.

“What is that?” Mira asked.

“I thought Trillian’s power couldn’t reach beyond this domain,” Honor said.

“This is Spark,” Hina explained. “Trillian did not craft this figment. Callista did. The Grand Shaper rested here for a time before going into hiding. She left several figments with her former master. This one can lead you to her.”

“Greetings,” Spark chirped in a tiny voice.

“After all this time, Trillian wants to guide me to Callista?” Honor exclaimed. “I came to this part of Elloweer looking for her. But then Trillian captured me. He never said a word about helping me find the Grand Shaper.”

“My master knows your mind,” Hina said. “Lately, he has learned more about the fiend Morgassa. He wants her stopped, and he doesn’t believe you’ll have a chance without help from the Grand Shaper. It’s in his interest as well as yours.”

“If he knows where she is, why not just tell me?” Honor asked.

“She has hidden herself deep within Fog Lake,” Hina said. “Finding her on your own would be quite a feat.”

“Your problems are solved!” Spark cheered. “I’m your new leader!”

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“You can guide us to Callista?” Honor asked.

“Easily,” Spark replied. “Fog Lake is less than a day from here. With me as your leader, you can’t go wrong.”

“Showing us how to get there doesn’t make you the leader,” Jace corrected.

“It does if you’re following me,” Spark squeaked.

“Tell Trillian we accept the gift,” Honor said. “Will you show us out?”

Within minutes, they were back on the extremely red road. The splendid coach awaited. There was room for four. Hina rode her horse.

Cole looked at the flashy palace receding behind them. Mira caught Honor up about their fight with Carnag and the danger of the shapecrafters.

“I knew nothing about shapecrafters,” Honor said. “Reggie had suspicions about Morgassa’s power being linked to mine. We hoped Callista might aid us.”

“We saw Reggie at Blackmont Castle,” Mira said.

“He’s alive?” Honor exclaimed. “I saw him cut down by members of Trillian’s Red Guard.”

“He lost his legs,” Mira said. “But he survived.”

The coach halted at the end of the road before the open gate. Only blackness was visible beyond.

One of Trillian’s guards held a saddled horse near the open gates. He handed Honor the reins when she approached. “Hi, General,” she said, patting the horse’s neck. “Have they treated you right?” Without a word to the guard or a glance at Hina, Honor led the steed into the perfect darkness. Spark followed, then Mira and Jace. Cole waved at Hina. She nodded at him.

Cole stepped through in time to see Skye pick up Mira in an embrace and twirl her around. “I shouldn’t have doubted,” Skye was saying. “I didn’t expect to see you again!”

Dalton came up to Cole and gave him a hug, then patted Jace on the back. “Good job, guys!” he said. “You found her! What a relief!”

“We were making rescue plans,” Twitch said. “Not very hopeful ones.”

“We weren’t all faithless,” Minimus asserted. “Given the chance, I might have taught that torivor some manners.”

“It was a close call,” Mira said. “The contest was tough. But we won in the end.”

Skye went down on one knee and bowed her head to Honor. “Your Highness,” she said.

Twitch started to kneel and bow as well, which looked interesting since his legs folded the other way.

“Rise,” Honor said. “No bows or curtseys, please. I appreciate the gesture, but we’re far from court.”

Twitch straightened and Skye stood up.

“I mean to counsel with Callista,” Honor said. “This figment, Spark, will show us the way. How many of you intend to join me?”

“I do,” Mira said.

“I’m with Mira,” Jace said.

Dalton sidled close to Cole. “Are we in?” he asked softly.

“We’d be on our own without Mira,” Cole said. “Besides, who knows how a Grand Shaper might be able to help us? Maybe that’s who Trillian meant when he said someone with enough power could get us home.”

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