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Dhan laughed softly and adjusted his stance on the bed. “A seeker of justice you have been, but you never let yourself feel. I never heard of you with a woman before. Nor did I hear of you breaking rules.”

“You don’t know I’m breaking rules,” I pointed out.

The healer shook his head. “I know more than you think. Like why this Yeti is important to the task at hand for you. Why you need him still.”

“For the prank, right?” Norm said around a mouthful of food.

Dhan smiled and slid to the edge of the bed. Already his skin was gaining in color and looking far better than it had only moments before. “Yes, for the prank, my hairy friend.” He clapped a hand on the Yeti’s shoulder. “When you are done with Ash, I will find you and heal that wound in your head, if you wish.”

Norm frowned. “Maybe. I was angry all the time before. I like being happy, even if it means being away from my family.”

I couldn’t help the way my eyebrows climbed. Norm’s words were the most cognizant so far, and showed he was aware of more than I’d thought.

“That being as it may, Dhan, I need to get my stash. I’m going to need money to fly us to our next stop.”

“You think you know where the woman went?” Dhan stood and I held out a hand, but he waved me off.

“Yes. I’m headed for the British Isles. There is a storm headed that way.”

“And you think that the queen would cause it? Is she not of the earth, should you not be looking for things pertaining to the ground?” Dhan frowned.

“She is out of balance and because of that, the world will twist around her. She will cause chaos, and all the elements will react to it,” I said with more certainty than I probably should have.

The thing was, though, I was positive Miko had been right. In the past when I’d sought out those who’d defied the king or broken a rule, the first thing I searched for was a disturbance in the world. But in the past, I’d only sought out a disturbance in the earth, something I could do with my Ender training. But with Cassava . . . I wasn’t so sure that would be the case. Nor did I think it would be as easy as saying that it would only be the earth she would affect. Having had the Spirit stone, she had been able to do things she shouldn’t have in any normal circumstance.

Dhan made a circular motion with one hand. “Your stash is in the back wall. I had it mortared in when I made repairs.” He paused for a moment. “And I may have a way for you to travel that will not tax you or the Yeti so much.”

My ears perked up with that. “Truly? I have an armband—”

He waved me off. “No, it has nothing to do with your elemental form of travel. This is older, and deeper. A way to cut through the Veil and travel that way.”

Now that was interesting. I made my way to the back of the house and the oldest section where I’d carved out the mountain to begin the creation of the home. The wall was flat except for a single line that was indeed mortared over. I placed a hand on the edge and it broke open with a crack that echoed throughout the house.

I peeled the rock back until the small pile of weapons and other items waiting for me became clear. I reached in and pulled out a heavy cloak that would repel water and keep me warm if the weather turned cold, but otherwise, would feel as though I wore nothing. There were two small daggers and a box that contained what I thought was a fair amount of human money. Four hundred American dollars—from what I understood it was taken in most countries, so it had been the money of choice at the time. I touched them, then shook my head. Would it get me anywhere?

“Unless you will need it for bribes, leave the money,” Dhan said behind me. I turned and he held up a small weapon. A circular blade edged in gold, a chakram. I’d used that kind as a weapon before in my training, but this one was ornamental. A weapon made for beauty, not use. “Yes. This is how I travel. I will not be able to heal for some time, so you might as well use it.” He offered it to me and I took it.

“Thank you. I do not know when I will bring it back, but I will.”

He clapped a hand on my shoulder. “I know you are a man of your word. I will give you a piece of advice. Be careful out there. The world is not what it once was. The myth and legends of old are dying, being replaced by the humans’ technology. They are worshipping new gods now . . . ones that have no heart, no soul.”

I could hope he was wrong, but that was a fool’s way of thinking. “How do I use this?”

He nodded once. “The place you wish to be, you must hold it in your mind. Then you touch the blade to the center of your forehead and then touch the ground. The place you seek will open up to you then. Step through. It will close within seconds, so make sure your friend is not slothful.”

I nodded and strapped the circular blade to my waist. “Again, thank you.”

“Of course.”

I paused, then turned and took the stack of money, stuffing it inside my vest. There was no way of telling what we might need on our journey. I touched the earth around the enclave and beckoned it to cover the hole.

A thought rumbled through my mind. “Why are you helping me this much? In the past, you would barely even acknowledge me as I stopped in.”

He pursed his lips and his eyes went thoughtful. “Because . . . what you are doing, I feel it in my bones. These actions of the one who was your queen will shift the world somehow. Whatever happens, Ash, is meant to be. Fight and do not fight. That is what I see for you.”

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