6.4

“Somewhere.” Nilien stared at Ember. “Really?”

I think… I think it is somewhere in the castle. Ember put both paws over its nose. Or maybe near the castle. My head hurts. I did not know my head could hurt like this.

She patted the familiar between the shoulder blades. “Ember says…” She looked down at her poor fox. “Well, that it’s probably in or near the castle.” The longer she sat, the more her ankle was reminding her what she’d done to it. “I think the best option is a to search methodically. I have a map…” She produced the map Chason had drawn for her. “We can start in one corner and work our way around. Not now, though.” She looked down at her ankle. “I don’t think I can do anything now except lie down.”

“And elevate your ankle. I read it in a book.” Riva wrinkled her nose. “You do get in a lot of trouble. I read that about Wild Runes, too.”

Nilien rolled her eyes at Riva. “I’m a Wild Rune because I was getting in trouble, remember? I’m a Wild Rune because someone tried to kill me — and I guess they haven’t stopped yet. I never got into trouble before that.”

“Well, see then?” Riva smiled. It was friendly, for all of her unhelpful theories. “It’s not that that Wild Runes aren’t getting in trouble, it’s that the book had cause and effect backwards. Anyway, do you think you’re safe looking for pendants all over the castle?”

“So far, when I’ve gotten lost in the castle, I’m mostly run into friendly people who are willing to show me back home. It’s just out on the grounds that things were dangerous. And I can check myself for tracking spells, too.”

“I think we should go with you, too. At least one of us. Maybe we can get Augustin involved and do groups of two.” Riva nodded, as if agreeing with herself. “Once you can get up and moving, that is.”

“We’ll bring you some dinner today,” Lorque decided. “You get some rest, maybe put that ankle up, and maybe Ember will be feeling better, too.” She reached over and patted Ember, who was still hiding its face under its paws. “Then we can come up with a plan. And if we can ask Augustin without getting Istore involved, we will.”

The last thing she needed was Istore involved. “Thank you.” Nilien lay down on her bed, moving around Ember. “Maybe a little nap will help everything feel better.”

“Maybe you’ll have a useful dream,” Riva offered. “Sometimes you’ve forgotten things, I read, but they show up in dreams.”

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