Chapter no 32 – NEXT

Lightlark (The Lightlark Saga Book 1)

Celeste took the news surprisingly well.

The Starling paced for a few minutes before saying, “There must be another library, then.”

Isla loved her friend. But in that moment, she felt like shaking her by the shoulders.

There was no other library. No bondbreaker.

“We need to consider another plan,” Isla said. “This one failed. We searched every library. Every isle. The fiftieth day is almost here.”

The Starling shook her head. “Exactly. The Centennial is just halfway over. We have time to find the library. We—”

“I don’t have time,” Isla yelled, cutting her friend off. She tensed. She had never raised her voice at her. But the words had come flooding out. Isla swallowed, and her tone became gentler. “I don’t have time,” she repeated. “Cleo means to kill me. She will, after the ball.”

Celeste frowned. Grabbed her hands. “I know, I know,” she said. “But didn’t I protect you last time? With the nobles?”

Isla sighed. “Of course. But you said so yourself. You can’t protect me from all of them. And I’m not sure Cleo is the only one who wants me dead.”

Her friend insisted on continuing their search for the bondbreaker. But Isla had made up her mind.

They needed another plan.

And she knew just where to find it.

* * *

Isla found him in front of a crescent window in the Mainland castle. He stood watching the moon, as if staring at it hard enough might make it a sun.

The king stiffened as she entered. But he did not move an inch. Not when she crossed the room. Not when she walked to his side. His eyes remained firmly on the window.

Clearly, she would need to be the first one to speak.

“Thank you,” she began. “For allowing me access.”

He stared straight ahead. “You said so yourself. You did not need my permission.”

They both knew that technically wasn’t true. If the king hadn’t wanted her on his isle or in his library, he could have kept her out.

Silence stretched on, seconds tripping over themselves.

“Did you find what you were looking for?” he finally asked. Only then did he glance over at her.

“No,” she said sharply, and he faced the window again. More moments ticked by, cartwheeling between them. “Did you?” she whispered.

It had been five days since she had seen him. More than enough time to have sought out another ancient creature for help. If he had somehow found the heart without her, she would have no other plan. Her only hope was that Oro would take her back. Would honor the terms of their deal again. She would get his protection after the ball, and a chance at still saving her and Celeste.

“No,” he said. Relief tasted sweet on her tongue.

“Good.” She turned to face him. Oro turned too. “What’s next?”

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