Scent of Magic Page 95

He smiled.

“Even your teeth!”

Keeping a hold on Danny’s hand, he turned east toward Rakel’s cave. The boy matched his step, cutting down on the noise of their passage.

They reached the entrance an hour later. Kerrick called softly so he wouldn’t scare her. She was still armed after all. But when they entered, she didn’t stir from her prone position next to the fire.

Danny dropped Kerrick’s hand and knelt beside her. “Where—”


He lifted her shirt. Blood had soaked through the bandages. He peeled them back. Rakel didn’t move.

“It’s bad. None of the herbs will work for this. I need to—”

“Can you survive?”

“I...don’t know.”

Conflicted, he paused. Danny’s life meant more to him than his own. How could he risk him?

“It’s not your decision, Kerrick. Remember? It’s mine, and I’m going to do it.”

Spoken like a true healer. “Then I’ll help you like I did with Avry. Go on.”

Danny placed both his hands on her exposed skin. Nothing happened. Then Danny yelled, clutched his stomach and doubled over, passing out. Kerrick picked him up. He turned to take the boy into the forest.

Noak blocked the entrance.

“Step aside,” Kerrick said. It wasn’t a request.

Without changing his expression, Noak backed from the cave. Kerrick followed, and as soon as he reconnected with the living green, he plopped onto the ground with Danny in his lap.

He tried to channel energy into Danny. Except Kerrick had nothing left. He’d used all his strength. All he could do was hold Danny tight and hope his healing powers would save him.

“Will the boy live?” Noak asked. He stood nearby.

“I don’t know.”

“You lied about Rakel.” Noak’s tone was matter-of-fact.

Kerrick couldn’t believe he was bringing this up now. “I did.”

“You gave your word to cooperate.”

“And I cooperated by searching for Rakel and her abductor as requested by members of your tribe, and I found her. But you never told me what to do once I located her.”

“It did not need to be said.”

“In this case it did. She asked me to keep her location hidden, and since she’s a member of your tribe, I had to cooperate.” Technically she hadn’t asked, but he doubted she’d correct him.

Danny groaned, and Kerrick remembered the pack full of herbs. Perhaps one of them would help him heal faster. Kerrick gently laid Danny on the ground and staggered to his feet.

Rakel exited the cave. She scowled at her brother but didn’t say a word. Instead she stepped into the sunlight, closed her eyes and turned her face toward the sun. Her pale skin darkened to a honey color. After a few minutes, she strode toward Danny. When she reached the shadows, her skin glowed as if she’d swallowed a piece of the sunlight.

Kerrick intercepted her. Heat and magical energy pulsed off her.

“I will not harm him,” she said.

He moved aside. Rakel knelt next to Danny. Placing her hands on his chest, she stared at him. The glow spread over the boy. He moaned.

“Wait,” Noak said as Kerrick stepped closer.

Danny shuddered, then relaxed. When the glow faded, Rakel stood, her skin pale once more. Kerrick checked on the boy. The wound had disappeared. Not even a scar marked Danny’s stomach.

Confused, Kerrick asked Rakel, “Did you take it back?”

“She used summer’s touch to heal him,” Noak said.

“Then why didn’t she heal herself?”

“My magic only works for others.”

“Then why aren’t you helping your people? They’re sick.”

“I was in seclusion.” Rakel shot Noak a nasty, hate-filled look. “No interaction with anyone but my intended during the course of four seasons.”

Kerrick put a few clues together. “Olave abused you.”

Rakel turned to Noak. “I will not marry him.” She placed her hand on the dadao hanging from her belt.


“It is time for you to challenge Father, Noak, and take your rightful place over both tribes.”

Noak’s expression didn’t change.

Rakel pointed to Kerrick. “You were right about this one. I will act as second for you.”

He remained silent.

“If you won’t, then I will challenge him,” Rakel said.

“It is not how it is done.”

“Neither is bringing back a prisoner. We need to adapt, Noak. Father is old.”

“He is still strong,” Noak said. “And no one in the tribe will defy tradition and agree to be your second.”

Rakel glanced at Kerrick. Oh, no.

“Will you be my second?” she asked. When he hesitated, she added, “If I am successful, I will release you and your boy. You will be free.”

“And if you’re not successful?” Kerrick asked.

“Then you both die,” Noak said.


Noelle lay on my bed, sweating and shivering as the Death Lily toxin poisoned her. At least she hadn’t died right away, so there was hope she’d survive. Not much, as only ten percent lived. Tohon left me to watch her die, taking Sepp with him. My four dead bodyguards remained crowded inside my small room.

Pacing, I considered my meager options. I couldn’t heal her, which was why the healers at the Guild had been experimenting with the toxin—to find a cure. And I couldn’t bear to see her suffer. Guilt squeezed my chest. All this was my fault.

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