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 The only reason she knew that she was out of the dreamplane when she opened her eyes to find herself in bed with Tenshu was the pain radiating through her body and the incessant knocking on her door.

“Consort? We haven’t heard from you for a few days. Are you still sick?”

Her head throbbed, she felt burned and blistered all over, not to mention she was fairly certain that at least three bones were broken. But no, she wasn’t sick. She cleared her throat to speak, but found nothing came out but a faint whisper. More knocks and basically the same words made her realize that she needed to answer the door before someone knocked her door down and came in out of some misguided idea of security.

Trying to get up, she found, from the unexpected excruciating pain, that her right leg was, indeed, broken and in several places if the pain was anything to go by. The longer she was awake, she found, the more pain came forward. She dropped to the floor onto her side and cursed softly, wishing she hadn’t been so dumb. She should have done a self-heal the moment she had awakened, and so she did one while lying there on the floor.

It only mildly relieved the pain, which she expected but had wished otherwise. Her self-healing needed a lot of work, though it did fix her ribs and inner organs. It also, though she didn’t check because she knew it would, healed her face and any surface bruises. Her leg, on the other hand, we beyond her ability, so she clenched her teeth to ignore the pain. Her left leg was fine, luckily, so she was able to stand so long as all of the pressure was on it. Moving was more difficult, so she didn’t. Instead, she used a quick spell to open the door and turn off the security spells.

Immediately, both Kit Rain and Harpess entered, her mute servants following behind and looking decidedly judgmental. Kit Rain and the humans looked over the room, but Harpess kept her attention on Amadhay.

“We’ve been calling to you for almost a zoot. We were almost to the point of breaking the door down. What happened?”

Amadhay shrugged. “I was sleeping,” she said. “Didn’t hear you.”

The look of disbelief on the two human’s faces made her smile innocently at them. She stretched her arms, but didn’t move from her spot. “Was there something you needed?” she asked.

Eyeing her suspiciously, Kit Rain nodded. “We are setting down on Phellimore soon. You need to be ready.”

She nodded. “Of course,” she answered with another smile, while inwardly wondering how she would be able to do anything without fixing her leg and the pounding in her head.

“And you read the book?” Harpess pushed, making Amadhay want to roll her eyes.

“Yes. I know what is appropriate,” she promised. “And I know my duties. So, if I may?” She prompted for them to leave the room and, after a moment, the two did, leaving her mute bodyguards.

Legs, broken. Need help, she spelled out painstakingly to the men once the door was closed and locked.

Faeo immediately scooped her up, while Prillo picked up her handheld DS and handed it to her.

We don’t heal, Prillo signed with his free hand as he pressed the DS into her hands. She clenched her hands around the DS, knowing that he was suggesting that she contact someone who could tell her what to do.

She sighed softly, but turned the device on and quickly sorted through contacts. She didn’t have the time to be dragging her feet. Catching Rea’s name, she pressed on the woman’s name. Her call was answered on the first ping.

Wherever you’re hiding, stay there,” Rea said in a rushed voice. “After that stunt at the Mall, you’ve been suspended indefinitely. There is a warrant out for Red Robin by order of the Roadesian Army, and Lord Phoeganis wants you held in one of our holding cell until everything dies down and you are fit for duty again. Stay away and don’t trust anyone.

Amadhay took a deep breath. She hadn’t expected that. She supposed she should have. Her uncle had told her upfront, when restoring her status as an active agent, that if she did anything he didn’t like, no matter how small, he would lock her away until she had been retrained enough to be trusted. Well, attacking the du Kay princeling and water Herald in broad daylight, at a public venue, for no apparent reason was definitely not a small matter.

“Okay. That’s not a problem. I have no plans to come back any time soon. But, Rea, I need help.”

I don’t know how or why you expect me to help you,” her voice was sharp, and Amadhay wished that she could turn on the holo-avatar and see her friend, but she didn’t. Amadhay didn’t need anyone to know that she was on the ship and while she trusted Rea, she didn’t trust that her DS or that wherever she was was unbugged. The dragon was notorious for not being observant about things like that.

“I just need a spell. I broke my leg.”

Rea’s voice was suspicious. “How? Where are you?

“I’m sorry, but I’m not going to tell you that,” Amadhay stated, nodding at Prillo when he showed her the purple outfit Lizumeizei had chosen for her first diplomatic meeting. Of the ones she’d seen in the closet, she liked that one the most, with the thin material and golden embroidery of the outer wrap. The outfit beneath the wrap, a darker purple with similar golden embroidery in a thicker material and light beading, was perfectly modest enough to calm Kit Rain and Harpess’ nerves about her while still looking like her. They needed to know that she could do what was required of her as their envoy even though she was young and untried. She needed to know that she could do it, regardless of what Arne Riff repeatedly told her.

How broken is it?

Amadhay shrugged. “Very?”

Rea sighed. “How many times is it broken and which leg? Please tell me it isn’t your right leg again.

“Alright, I won’t tell you,” Amadhay quipped as she tried to focus on how many separate points of pain there were. It was difficult, considering they all blended together, but after a moment, she nodded to herself. “Twice. Maybe three times?”

“And there’s no chance of you going to a proper healer-medic?”

“You just told me not to trust anyone,” Amadhay reminded her and was met with a long silence that, if she hadn’t been able to hear the tell-tale sounds of machines working on the dragon’s side, she might have thought they’d lost connection.

You don’t have to trust someone to let them fix your breaks,” she finally responded, but it didn’t particularly sound like she was pushing for Amadhay to go to a medic. “And I suppose you don’t want anyone to know,”

This time, Amadhay was the silent one. She allowed the mute brothers to help her to the bath, but refused to undress with them there. I do it, me, she signed, shooing them away before sinking into the warm water Faeo had run for her. It was easier to get her clothes off when she was surrounded by water, despite the nightgown and shorts clinging a bit.

“Are you in a tub?” Rea asked. “Please tell me you’re in a tub and not trying to swim with a broken leg.”

“I’m in the tub,” Amadhay replied, having almost forgotten she was talking to her friend. Her DS was on the floor beside the tub and she considered picking it up, but didn’t want to chance dumping it in the tub. As waterproof as it claimed to be, soapy water was notoriously technology’s undoing.

“Good. That makes this easier. Get your leg out as straight as you can. If you have to move the broken parts into alignment, well, you have to. Once everything looks straight, the spell is ‘more minu ma.’ Say it.”

“Mor-ay mee-new-ma,” Amadhay repeated slowly.

“Minu and ma are two different phrases. Try again.”

“More minu ma,” she tried again.

Good. And when you say that, imagine the pain gone and your leg whole while rubbing down from your thigh to ankle. Six times, no more, no less, and then you soak it for five more minutes. It will be healed when you step out of the water if you did it right.”

“Got it. Thanks.”

“But if you could perhaps have someone help you?”

“No time. I can do this on my own. Thanks Rea. I’ll call you again when I have time.”

“Don’t.”

Amadhay couldn’t blame her for that. Fraternizing with a known fugitive of the Phoegani was the same as being one for all the trouble it could cause her. Still, the response hurt. “Oh. Okay.”

“Be safe,” Rea added before disconnecting their call.



Next Chapter

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 in which amadhay isn’t saved

 

 

“I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon,” Atlas said to Amadhay, smiling up at her from his low couch.

Without looking from her, he gestured for Scarlet and Mitch to go. Both paused, but seeing that Stefan stood directly behind Amadhay, they nodded to Atlas and left the room.

Amadhay didn’t smile back at him, which he had expected. “Who is your informant?” she demanded.

“What?” he asked, genuinely surprised at the road this conversation was taking. He had been ready for most options such as ‘Where am I?’, ‘Why am I here?’, ‘I remember you,’ or even ‘You kidnapped me before,’ but not this one. He glanced to Stefan for illumination, but the snake-like man merely shrugged. He didn’t seem nearly as surprised as Atlas was, though to be fair, Stefan had implied that sending him in was a bad plan to begin with.

“Your informant, Atlas,” she reiterated. “What you know is informant information. You wouldn’t be able to know as much as you do without an informant that is close to me. You know things only my friends would be able to know, only my best of friends. So I want to know who is giving you information.”

Atlas gave a soft laugh and shook his head at Amadhay. “Of course I have an informant. But why on Resor would you think I would tell you his name?”

“So it’s a male?” Amadhay raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest. “Of course it’s a male. Rea is the only female and she wouldn’t sell information on me for anything.”

Atlas narrowed his eyes, not liking the look in hers. “Have you figured out your little puzzle?” he asked, trying to distract her.

She gave him a vague questioning sound. “Which one?”

“All those questions you were asking me yesterday. Why you, why I have you here, why now?”

Amadhay shrugged as if she honestly didn’t care, which threw Atlas for a moment until he realized what she was doing. She was feigning disinterest so that he would feel the need to give her information. He opened his mouth to do just that, but she beat him to it.

“Tairyn. Tairyn is your informant, isn’t he?” she nodded to herself. “He’s been away for a while, so getting me to bring your assets in was necessary to learn the grounds. You didn’t just wander to my room, you wandered to figure out where everything was. You knew that I would hurt the cyborg, or maybe you made sure that I would, so that she would go to the hospital wing, which is close to the Procedures, which is where we keep all of our files.

“Tairyn would know that, because he worked there before he was sent on an Over the Water mission. Tairyn was my best friend and the only one besides Christein, Indigo and pre-amnesia Amaya who I told about the dragon and canopy dream. Amaya has lost her memory and even before didn’t know me nearly well enough to tell you everything. Monkey and Indy would die before either set me up. It’s Tairyn.”

Atlas honestly couldn’t help but to stare at her in surprise. He was amazed by the tracks her mind went to figure out a question she should not have been able to guess the answer to, not that quickly. She couldn’t have been thinking about this for longer than she had been awake. He wondered what gave it away first, them putting her back in the remade bedroom from her childhood, or Stefan coming to her. He had wanted to refresh her memory, not out his informant.

He smiled at her either way. “That would be a great deduction, Amadhay, if your dream were only a dream. I thought you would have realized that by now. You’ve been here before. You know us.”

She frowned. “I think I would remember being somewhere this cold,” she stated.

Atlas raised his eyebrow. “Don’t you? What are those dreams then?”

“Nothing but dreams,” she replied firmly, looking away from him. She glanced back at Stefan, who had his arms crossed over his chest in a warning to her that she was being watched.

Atlas leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. “Were they? Then how do we know about all your games pretending to save the princess and defeat the dragon? Hm? What about your food patterns or the juice? I doubt any of your current friends could tell us that.”

“Then you have Indigo too. I was wondering who made the golems,” she said.

Atlas didn’t change his expression, though he did mentally pause and eye her more closely. He had known she was intelligent, probably the second most intelligent of the Hakinato first family, and a quick thinker, but hadn’t expected this kind of quick thinking. She was right, though not for the reasons she thought, since he had made sure Ribbon made the golems to keep Amadhay from recognizing her former servant’s magic. Regardless, she was very right on all accounts except one. He needed to press that one to make her doubt her other ideas.

 “Amadhay, you know you were here before. You remember it.” She shook her head, but there was a hesitance to it that he jumped on. “On your fourth birthday, the day of your party, Mitch and Stefan took you and your sister and brought you here. We entertained you for two months before we gave you back.”

Alright, he was lying a little. They hadn’t brought her here specifically, because this place hadn't existed eleven years ago. It would have been insane to take her back to the other place, because that was the first place Riffle would look. And no, they hadn't given them back, but had been outmatched by the Phoegani, though things had certainly changed since then. If the ease with which they had infiltrated the Phoegani and taken what they wanted was any indication, either they were much stronger than they had been (which was a given), or the Phoegani was greatly lacking (which he was thinking might also be the case).

She frowned, staring at him. He could see her going over the memories she had thought to only be dreams. She looked around the room, which was a perfect duplicate to the planning room in the other safe base that she would have recognized. She quickly took in every detail, moving faster than he could see so that she was almost a blur of motion. Honestly, he was a little surprised that she didn't attempt to attack him. Maybe Stefan was a good enough incentive, if she remembered enough about him to know how easily he would take her down.

“Why?” she finally asked, now standing directly in front of him. Stefan didn't move forward, though he did uncross his arms.

Atlas raised both eyebrows. “Why what?”

“Why did you kidnap us?” she asked. He couldn't begin to pretend that he knew what was going through her mind, but he assumed that she was thinking the same reason then was the same reason he did it now. It wasn't.

“To give your parents a message.”

She frowned. “What kind of message could you want to give the second brother of a clan and the somewhat powerless sister of the Lady of the Lake that wouldn't be better suited for their siblings?”

Atlas almost laughed. She didn't know. “Or should I say it was for Arne Riffle. He, after all, claimed you, which made you a prize. Both of you.”

“What about Hlala? She was claimed too. Why didn't you take all three of us? I'm sure you could have gotten whatever you wanted better that way.”

“We didn't need her. We only needed the two of you. The point was made perfectly then, just like a new point is being made now.”

She gave him a sharp smile. “So you kidnapped me to give Arne Riff a new message? What happened to trying to give me a new life?”

“Oh, I'm going to give you a better life. The message to Riffle has nothing to do with you. You weren't the point of this, but taking you does make everything much easier to manage. Now they'll be so focused on saving you that no one will notice anything else that may be missing.” He gave her a haughty grin. “Not that it really matters either way.”

She narrowed her eyes, taking a few steps back until she was back against Stefan. “I agree,” she said sweetly.

She looked up at Stefan with an innocent twinkle in her eye that he fell for. Atlas knew what she was about to do the moment he saw the relaxing in Stefan's posture. He had to smile when she took Stefan's moment of softness toward her to steal his gun from his belt. She shot Stefan twice, once in the throat and the second time directly between his eyes, before spinning and shooting Atlas in the chest. He felt the pain, there was no denying it, but he couldn't stop smiling at her. That was the Amadhay he expected.

“It doesn't matter because I don't need to be saved. I'm going to get out of here with whatever you took from us. It may not be today, but it will happen. And when it does, you won't be smiling,” she promised even as she watched the powder in the bullet sizzle and bubble out of the bullet hole before the hole closed around the bullet. He hissed as the bullet disintegrated inside of his body, but held his hand out to Stefan, who was reaching for Amadhay.

Amadhay didn't move, studying the hole in his shirt as if she could still see the bullet wound. “What good was that, Amadhay?” he asked her, straightening up and touching the hole, before giving a sigh. “Now you've upset Stefan, ruined my favorite shirt, and wasted three good bullets.”

“Go drown in the Water,” she cursed him, but still didn't move.

He sighed. “Stefan, take her back to her room until she can be trusted to play with others.”



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November 2016

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