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The Underworld, Page 12

Jessica Sorensen

Page 12

 

  We stared at each other, having this weird moment of understanding, like our thoughts had momentarily connected. Sometimes I really wished our thoughts could connect, that way I’d be able to read his mind and know if he was telling the truth.

  “So…what do we have to do, then?” I asked, breaking our weird connection moment. “I mean, how do we get Nicholas here? Or do we have to go get him. ” God, I hoped we didn’t have to go get him because I really didn’t want to go back to the City of Crystal again.

  “No, we can’t go get him. ” He sighed. “We have to bring him here. ”

  “Okay…well…Are you sure there isn’t another way to get this Ira crystal ball?” I asked. “Maybe Adessa has one. ”

  “It’s not the kind of a crystal ball she’d have,” Alex explained. “It’s one of a kind—the one Foreseers use to travel to and from places that no one is allowed to travel to. ”

  “Of course it is,” I said, feeling frustrated. “Because, if it wasn’t, then it would make things easy. And I think we both already agreed that nothing is ever easy. ”

  He gave me a small smile. “Yeah. I think we did. ”

  “So what do we do then—to get this Ira traveling crystal ball thingy?”

  He shifted his weight uneasily. “We get Nicholas here and see if we can persuade him to give it to us. ”

  I thought about the half-faerie, and how being around him had creeped me out. And asking him for a favor…Nicholas was so the last person I ever wanted to persuade for a favor. Well, besides Stephan.

  “Are you sure there’s not someone else we can go and get it from?” I asked again just to make sure.

  He shook his head. “Only another Foreseer—they’re the only ones who know of its existence. ”

  “Well, then how do you know it exists?” I wondered.

  He didn’t look at me. He was staring off into space as he answered, “My father told me about it once. ”

  “Oh. ” Was all I could think of to say.

  Next to my feet lay a clock that had been knocked on the floor during Laylen and Alex’s fight. The glass had been shattered and it was letting off an unsteady tick tock, which was the only sound filling in the silence. Tick tock. Tick Tock. Just like a ticking time bomb. It was like a warning that we were running out of time. We needed to find answers, before Stephan found us—or should I say found me. The world was depending on it.

  “Okay, so we get Nicholas and then what? We just ask him to give us the Ira crystal ball?” I asked, doubting that it would be that easy.

  “Something like that,” Alex spoke through gritted teeth.

  “Are you okay?” I asked, picking up on some uneasiness flowing off of him.

  “Why wouldn’t I be?”

  I shrugged. “I don’t know…you tell me. ”

  He didn’t answer as he picked up the broken clock and flipped it over to the back, fiddling with the knob. Tick Tock. Tick tock. The ticking and tocking was slowing down to a gurgle.

  “So we get the Ira crystal ball, and we use it to go to The Underworld?” I asked, making sure that was the plan.

  Still no answer as he twisted the knob on the soon-to-be-dead clock.

  I stood up. “Alex…if I use this Ira crystal ball, what does that mean for the promise you made to Dyvinius?”

  Tick…tock…tick…The clock stopped.

  Times up.

  Alex set the clock down on the floor. “That’s not for you to worry about. ”

  “Just tell me what happens if I use the crystal?” I asked, taking a step back as he walked by me.

  “I already told you that was my problem,” he said, his voice tight. “I made the promise. Not you. ”

  “But that doesn’t—” I started.

  “Look,” he turned around to face me, “”I’ll figure something out, okay? Do you want to get your mother out or not?”

  I nodded. “I do, but I—”

  “Okay, then let’s go summon Nicholas. ”

  Before we set out to bring Nicholas here, we first went to go find Laylen and Aislin and let them in on our little plan. I felt kind of proud of myself that I’d gotten Alex to cooperate, but I also had a ping in my gut when I thought about how he was going to have to fulfill the promise he’d made to Dyvinius. Although I wasn’t sure what that promise was exactly, I figured it had to be bad. The dark look that had passed over Dyvinius’s eyes when he gotten Alex to make the promise had proved that it was bad.

  As we searched the downstairs for Laylen and Aislin, I casually mentioned to Alex that maybe he should apologize to Laylen for accusing him of biting me, because I figured it would make things easier if the two of them weren’t fighting. He ignored my casual suggestion, though, so I decided I would drop it…. For now, anyway.

  We found Laylen and Aislin in one of the bedrooms upstairs. Aislin was sitting cross-legged on the bed, still wearing her plaid pajamas. Laylen was sitting in a corner chair, and I could tell he was still all worked up over the fight. But I also got the impression that Alex and I might have interrupted a very serious conversation going on between the two of them, like we might have shattered a private moment they had been having.

  Alex gave both of them a quick rundown of our plan. After he had finished, Aislin sat on the bed, a shocked look frozen on her face. Laylen secretly gave me an I-told-you-so look because he had guessed that Alex would know how to get into to The Underworld.

  Something occurred to me as I stood there staring at the maroon walls of the bedroom, with my hand pressed to my bitten neck. Had it really been necessary to go speak to Vladislav? I mean, if Alex knew a way to get to The Underworld, maybe he knew another way to find out if she was alive. Of course, I’d had to use what Vladislav had told us about my mother being the Queen’s slave for Alex to admit he knew a way. But still…maybe our little trip could have been avoided.

  Well, I guess we had really messed up on that one. And now Laylen might end up getting hunted down by a bunch of revengeful vampires.

  “Jocelyn’s still alive…in The Underworld…” Aislin said. “For all these years?”

  Well, according to Vladislav, she is” Alex replied, shooting Laylen a glare.

  “He wasn’t lying,” Laylen assured him, standing up from his chair. “I could feel that he wasn’t. ”

  “I already said we’d go try to rescue her,” Alex said sharply. “I don’t need you to try and convince me. ”

  “I wasn’t trying to convince you,” Laylen said. “I was just pointing out the fact that, despite what you believe, vampires do tell the truth sometimes. ”

  “That might be true,” Alex replied. “But your little trip out there also backed up my theory that vampires can’t control their need to bite. ”

  “Well, I can control my need. ” Laylen took a threatening step toward Alex.

  “Yeah, but for how long?” Alex asked, taking a step toward Laylen. “How long do you think you’ll be able to keep it under control before you lose it?”

  “Can you two just stop arguing,” I cried out, startling myself and everyone else in the room. All their eyes were on me. “The longer we stand around here arguing, the longer my mom has to be down there suffering. And the more time we waste not trying to figure out what the heck Stephan is trying to do with me and the star. ”

  They were all speechless for a minute, which almost always happens when I make a big speech like that.

  “But how do we get Nicholas here?” Aislin asked, fidgeting with one of her diamond earrings. “Isn’t going to the City of Crystal the only way to find him? And to do that don’t we need another special kind of crystal ball that is hard to come by. I mean, the only other alternative I can think of is to go to the Kingdom of Fey, and see if he’s there. But he doesn’t spend much time there. At least I don’t think he does. ”

  “Besides,” Laylen added. “Whether we end up finding a way to enter the City of Crystal, or if we decide to go to the King
dom of Fey, both places are not very accepting of unwelcomed visitors. ”

  “Kingdom of Fey?” I asked.

  “It’s where the Fey live,” Aislin explained. “And since Nicholas is part Fey, he goes there sometimes. But I don’t think he’s very fond of it because…well, because the fey can be…”

  “Everything’s a joke to them,” Alex interrupted. “Which means there’s a lot of running around in circles. And it doesn’t matter because I’m not planning on going to either one of those places. ” Alex caught my eye. “Gemma’s going to bring him here. ”

  “What…” I gaped at him. “I’m going to bring him here? How am I…Oh…” I stopped as it dawned on me what he was referring to. I was going to use a good old normal crystal ball, which in turn would allow the Foreseers to know that I was using a crystal ball again, something I’d been forbidden to do until I’d been trained, and something Alex had promised Dyvinius I wouldn’t use until I had. So if I used the power of the crystal, Nicholas would show up here to collect on Alex’s promise.

  “But if I bring him here that way then you’ll have to—” I started to say.

  Alex shook his head at me, trying to get me to stop talking.

  “Have to what?” Aislin asked curiously.

  I gave Alex a funny look, wondering why I couldn’t say anything to Ailsin and Laylen about the promise he’d made to Dyvinius.

  “Then he’ll be super annoying, just like he always is,” Alex said quickly, taking me by the hand, which threw me completely off guard. “Look, I have to talk to Gemma for a minute about what’s going to happen when Nicholas gets here, so excuse us for just a second. ”

  Before anyone could respond to this, Alex was pulling me toward the door. Laylen and Ailsin exchanged a perplexed look, which I’m sure matched the look on my own face.

  “What’s wrong with you?” I pulled my hand from his grip after we’d made it out of the room. “Why can’t I say anything about the promise you made to Dyvinius. ”

  “Because. . . ” he glanced back at Ailsin and Laylen, and then shut the door. “Ailsin will freak out if she finds out about it. ”

  “Why? How bad is it?”

  “I told you thats for me to worry about. ” He backed away toward the stairs. “We need to get that bite cleaned up before we bring Nicholas here. The less he knows about what’s going on, the better. ” And with that, he headed down the stairs.

  I sighed, trotting down the stairs after him. “But what happens when he gets here?” I asked, following Alex into the kitchen. “Are we just supposed to ask him for the Ira crystal ball and hope that’ll he’ll give it to us. ”

  Alex started opening up the top cupboards that surrounded the cooking area of the kitchen. “No. You’re probably going to have to do that. ”