Scent of Magic Page 110

He arrived at the infirmary cave around midafternoon. Not recognizing any of the guards outside, he bypassed them. Then he slipped inside and stopped, searching for Avry and Flea. His heart jolted, banging against his rib cage when he spotted Flea joking with Quain and Loren.

When he approached them, they stared at him for a moment in confusion. His gaze focused on Flea. He’d believed Ryne, but some things you just needed to see for yourself. And this was one of them.

“Kerrick!” They all jumped to their feet.

Their words and questions jumbled together. Kerrick ignored the noise as he grabbed Flea’s shoulders and pulled the boy into a hug, reveling in the fact that he held real solid, living flesh. Flea had grown, and a spark of magic reached Kerrick.

He pulled back. “Are you a healer now?” he asked Flea.

Flea’s smile went from ear to ear. “No. I’m something, but we haven’t figured it out yet.”

“Gee, Loren, I’m beginning to feel we’re being left out.” Quain pouted. “No one cares about us since we’ve done the boring thing and stayed alive all this time. No miraculous return from the grave for us, so we’re not worth hugging.”

“Sorry,” Kerrick said, pulling in each one and thumping them on the back. “And I didn’t die.”

“So there’s another reason you look like a drowned oversized rat?” Quain asked.

“I’m hoping there’s a good reason you managed to get past my men,” a man, wearing Estrid’s uniform, said. “Otherwise, they’re in trouble.”

“You can’t fault them. This is Prince Kerrick, he’s a forest mage,” Loren said.

The man studied him with a keen interest. “Sergeant Oddvar.” He held out his hand.

Kerrick shook it.

“Oddvar?” Quain asked.

“You don’t really think my parents named me Odd, do you?”

“Uh, no. Of course not.”

“Where’s Avry?” Kerrick finally asked as he scanned the room again.

“She’s going to flip when she sees you!” Quain said.

His patience was about to end. “Where—”

“She went out to harvest toxin sacks,” Loren said.

“By herself?” he demanded.

“No. Sergeant Wynn and her squad accompanied her,” Odd said.


“A couple hours ago. She’ll be back in another two or three hours,” Odd said.

In order to find her faster, he asked, “Which direction?”


“I’m not in the mood to wait. Gentlemen, I’ll see you later.” Kerrick hurried from the cave. Flea called after him, but he wasn’t going to waste another moment.

As soon as he connected with the living green, he sent his magic to the southeast, searching for Avry and her companions. He found a cluster of irritations about eight miles away. Breaking into a jog, he headed in that direction.

Avry was going to be surprised.


Wait. Did Wynn just say she’d invited them? Perhaps the noise of the rain hitting my hat had garbled her words. I kept my gaze on the dead ufas—, seven now, as one collapsed from the toxin on my blade. They surrounded us, so I turned in a slow circle, wishing I had more weapons. They kept their positions at the edge of the clearing.

“Wynn, did you—”

“Yes. I led you into this trap. Surprised?” she asked.

If her revelation had been before my sister died and the confirmation of Kerrick’s death, I would have been devastated by her betrayal. But at this point, I had nothing left. “You did catch me off guard. I mean, we knew someone had to be spying on Estrid’s army, but you were the last person I’d expect to rat us out to Tohon.”

“Not Tohon. I hate him just as much as you do,” Wynn said.

“Then who— Oh. You’re working for Cellina?” That was more of a shock.



“She’s my sister.”

Understandable. “And you hate Tohon.”

“Exactly, I knew you were smart, Baby Face.”

“Not smart enough,” I muttered under my breath.

She laughed. She could.

“Where is she?” I asked, certain Cellina would want to gloat.

“How boring,” Cellina said as she stepped from behind a tree. “I’d thought Avry would at least shed a few tears over your treachery, sister dear.”

“I’m tapped out right now, but if you’d like to come back tomorrow, I could probably shed a couple just for you.” I should be scared, but I was actually having fun. Plus, a few off notes sounded to the south, indicating two people were quite close, and a distant rustling might be a squad farther behind them. Perhaps the monkeys had decided to follow me and brought the Odd Squad. I glanced at Wynn. Did she hear them?

“Amusing, but I’m here to—”

I stopped her. “Let me guess. Hmm... Drag me back to Tohon? No. You wouldn’t have bothered with the ruse. You’d have sent the ufas.” I considered. “You want sister dear to keep her cover, but you want me dead, so she lures me out here and I’m attacked, she survives and runs back to the cave to report on my demise.” I turned to Wynn. “What about your unit?”

“I sent them on another mission. They didn’t accompany us.”

“Ah. Nice.”

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