Scent of Magic Page 65

“What’s this?” Noak asked, waving the green leaves.

Kerrick glanced at Danny. “Are you all right?”


Noak grabbed Kerrick’s throat. “I asked a question.”

Icy daggers shot through his neck, but Kerrick kept his gaze on Danny. “I don’t know. Danny, what’s going on?”

“It’s a fonswup plant,” Danny said in a rush. “It helps with infection. I wanted to give it to Onion. He has a bad cut on his leg.”

Noak released him and turned to Danny. “How do you know this?”

Danny looked at Kerrick as if seeking permission. Kerrick nodded.

“It’s in Avry’s book. She gave me her notes before she died.”

“Show me,” Noak ordered.

Danny fetched his backpack. He pulled Avry’s journal out and flipped through it. When he reached the page he sought, he turned the book so Noak could see. He pointed to a drawing of a fonswup plant and the explanation written in Avry’s neat hand. “It says it right here.”

Kerrick was impressed by the artwork. Avry’s picture appeared so lifelike with the delicate leaves and blue veins.

Noak stared at the page with his brow creased. Suspicion or confusion, Kerrick couldn’t tell. Perhaps the leader couldn’t read.

“Danny, how does it say to prepare it?” Kerrick asked.

“Boil the leaves in hot water and drink the broth.”

“Noak, let him brew the...tea and I’ll drink it first. He’s trying to help...Onion? Is it?”

Danny nodded.

“He won’t hurt Onion,” Kerrick said.

“Why would he help?” Noak asked.

That was an easy question to answer. “Because the woman who gave him that book was a healer. And she’d heal anyone, friend or foe, without hesitation. He honors her memory by doing the same.”

“With magic?”

“No. With plants.”

Noak still didn’t look convinced, but he allowed Danny to brew the medicine. Kerrick swallowed a few mouthfuls. It was bitter but had no ill effects. Danny was eventually allowed to treat Onion.

When Danny reported that the warrior’s cut looked better, the tight fist that had been clamped around Kerrick’s heart since he’d seen Danny in Noak’s hands eased a fraction. The boy had found a way to be needed.


The day after Ursan died dawned with bright sunlight in a cloudless blue sky. The temperature rose as the hour of his funeral approached. Last night I had wanted to search for Poppa Bear and would have left in an instant, except that bastard Ryne prevented me from leaving the infirmary. He had promised to investigate.

As I’d waited for news, one horrible scenario after another ran through my mind. I couldn’t concentrate. Each hour that Belen failed to return upped my agitation level tenfold. If Tohon had taken Belen... I shied away from those thoughts. Instead, I focused on planning my next move. If I could bypass my keepers, then I could...what? Offer myself in Belen’s place? Yes, I would, despite the sheer terror that gripped me when I imagined myself back with Tohon. Belen was worth it.

Eventually, I’d gone to bed heartsick and exhausted.

Ryne arrived at midmorning. He wore a blue silk tunic and black pants. And for the first time since I’d known him, he looked regal. Loren and Quain followed him in. They, too, wore formal clothes.

“Are you ready?” Ryne asked.

Too worried about Belen, I had forgotten about changing into proper attire for a funeral. I hurried to my room. My nicest clothes were the green skirt and light yellow shirt Kerrick had bought me long ago. I debated between that and my dress uniform and decided that, for Ursan, my dress uniform was more appropriate. After I changed, I joined Ryne, and we walked to the burial grounds east of the manor house.

Estrid’s creator promised life after death, and her religion insisted on a proper burial in hallowed ground. I stood between Quain and Loren as the High Priestess performed the ceremony—an unexpected honor. Jael’s absence wasn’t a surprise. Major Granvil, Lieutenant Thea, the sergeants and the remaining jacks were also in attendance.

Only three jacks had returned from the mission. According to the report, they had encountered a troop of dead soldiers but hadn’t been able to capture one. Instead, they’d been attacked and then pursued when they retreated. Belen and Ursan each had taken five jacks and split up to confuse the enemy.

Ursan’s group had run into another ambush, which they’d barely escaped alive. Unfortunately, one of the jacks had died before they could reach me. And Ursan... I shied away from those thoughts, only to brood about Belen’s whereabouts.

When Ursan’s coffin was lowered into the ground, Loren leaned close and whispered, “It’s empty. We have his body.”

“When?” I asked. Hope replaced my grief for a moment, but I tucked it away. There was no guarantee that the Peace Lily would take Ursan, let alone revive him.

“Right after the service.”

“I need to be there.”

“That’s why I’m telling you. Do you still have the Lily location map?”

“No.” I glanced at Saul. He stood with Liv, Wynn and Odd. They all bowed their heads as Estrid asked the creator to welcome Ursan’s soul into her peaceful embrace.

After the High Priestess finished, she grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it into the open grave. Then as custom dictated, each person in attendance would add another handful. A line formed as Estrid moved away from the burial site. I followed Quain, and Loren stepped behind me, ending the queue.

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