Scent of Magic Page 96

What if she died? I stopped. She couldn’t. I wouldn’t allow it. But what could I do? I could take her to a Peace Lily. Provided I was able to slip past my bodyguards, escape the manor house and break through the encirclement. Almost impossible to do on my own, but add in one sick girl and we wouldn’t get far.

I sat on the edge of Flea’s bed and put my head in my hands. If she died... No. Surging to my feet, I continued to pace. There must be a way. I just needed to think harder. My foot kicked something. I glanced down and halted. The syringe.

A plan formed. Not a very good one, but it was better than doing nothing. I checked on Noelle, mopping her brow and helping her to lean forward to sip water.

She clutched my sleeve. “Avry...”

“Shhh. Save your strength. I need—”

“They’re waiting for you.” Her body convulsed, and she curled into a ball.

“I know. Tohon—”

“East. Go east. Leave me.”

“No way, little shadow.”


“I disagree. Now I need to fetch a few things before it’s full dark. Rest, I’ll be back.”

My bodyguards followed me to the infirmary. I pulled Christina aside and asked her to sit with Noelle. When she left, I found Sergeant Enric. He played cards with a private from Halberd Company, keeping the boy occupied.

“Enric, can I talk to you a moment?” I asked.

“Sure.” He tossed the deck to the boy. “Shuffle them good, Bronson. I’m tired of losing.”

We stepped out of hearing range of the other patients.

“I need your help,” I said. “I—”

“Sure, anything.”

“I didn’t even explain. And it’s dangerous.”

“I’ll take action over inaction no matter how dangerous it is.”

I told Enric my plan.

He glanced at the dead soldiers waiting by the door. “What about your new friends?”

“I’ll take care of them. Are you in?”


I grabbed a few supplies and headed up to Estrid’s suite, trailing my guards. Hoping Tohon hadn’t returned, I slipped inside. The servants were lighting the lanterns as I dashed to the bedroom, grabbed my pack and hurried back down to my room.

Christina jumped when I entered. The four dead crowded in behind me.

“How’s she doing?” I asked.

“Sleeping now,” she whispered. “But she was vomiting.” Christina pointed to the floor next to Noelle. “I brought in a few more clean bedpans for when she wakes. Does she have the plague?” Fear laced her voice.

“No. She has a stomach flu.” The plague symptoms closely matched the toxin’s. Except the plague’s victims lived longer—about eleven days, compared to an average of seven for the Death Lily’s. “Thanks for staying with her.” I escorted her out.

I placed my supplies from the infirmary on the night table and then dug through my knapsack. Unable to find what I was looking for, I upended my pack, spilling the contents on Flea’s bed. Frantic, I searched.

“Looking for this?” Tohon asked.

He stood in the doorway, holding a Death Lily toxin sack. Or to be more exact, my sack.

“You made this one easy, my dear.” Tohon strode over to the bed, gazing down at Noelle. “The Lilys make two sacks per flower. So if you gave Ryne three of them, then there has to be one left. And sure enough...” He tossed it into the air and caught it. “I found it in your bag, and I knew you’d want to use it on your special companions.”

Tohon turned to me. Behind him Noelle stirred, sitting up. I kept my gaze on him.

“However, not all your schemes will be this easy. So, I’m afraid—”

He staggered forward as a loud clang echoed. Noelle had hit him over the head with a bedpan. I rushed forward and caught him. He looked at me with a dazed expression. Taking advantage, I found the spot on the back of his neck and zapped him before he could counter me. Tohon collapsed.

Dumping him on the ground, I yanked the toxin sack from his hand and swiped the syringe off the night table. One of the dead soldiers wrapped his arms around my waist, picking me up. His buddy grabbed my legs.

Noelle brandished the bedpan as the other two advanced on her. I shoved the needle into the sack and drew toxin, then pricked my captor.

Nothing happened.

A clang sounded as Noelle’s bedpan connected. I tried to fight, but the two held me tight, and soon Noelle was captured, as well.

As they headed to the door, the man I’d pricked lurched once, then collapsed. A horrible stench filled the room. But I didn’t hesitate to stab the dead holding my ankles. The other two recognized I was the bigger threat and dropped Noelle to come after me. Noelle reclaimed her bedpan, distracting them just enough so I could inject them.

We ducked and dodged, trying to keep out of reach long enough for the toxin to work. Once they fell over, Noelle and I grinned at each other, panting in the foul air.

“Way to go,” I said.

“Not too bad yourself.” She paled. “Ewww! I’m going to be...” Noelle heaved over the bedpan. When she recovered, she pointed to Tohon. “How long will he be out?”

“Not long. His life magic will counteract mine soon.”

“Kill him before he wakes.”

I balked at first. I was a healer, not a killer. However, killing him would save thousands of lives. I glanced around, looking for a weapon.

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