The doors swung wide. “Well, isn’t this a touching scene?”
Willa turned. A woman entered with a passel of guards around her. She was dressed like a queen. Long, fluttering robes in brilliant greens streamed out behind her as she strode into the room. Jewels adorned her everywhere—earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, woven into her hair, encrusted on her dress. Zane followed after her, the slightest bit of tension creasing his forehead. Enough to tell Willa that her brother was no longer the one in charge.
The bejeweled woman stopped in front of Willa. “Hello, sister.”
“You must be Kyanna.” It was like looking in a mirror. Kyanna had Willa’s aqua eyes and honey-blond hair. Her features were a little more angular, like their father’s and Zane’s. There was no doubt they were related.
Kyanna smiled. “Yes.” Her gaze skipped to Nick, and her lips pursed like she’d just tasted something sweet.
Willa understood. Nick was a prize. But Kyanna wanted him for very different reasons than Willa did. She stepped into Kyanna’s line of sight. “What do you want with me? Why did you force me here?”
“Force?” Kyanna frowned, and she looked at Zane. “I told you to ask her.”
He shrugged. “I did. She refused.”
Kyanna scowled. “Get that tape off her.”
Zane frowned but did as he was told. Willa rubbed her wrists. Maybe her sister wasn’t so bad after all.
Kyanna took a seat on one of the benches perpendicular to the wall of windows. Sunlight spilled over her and sparked off her jewels, showering the room in prisms of light. She held a hand toward the bench opposite her. “Sit.”
As Willa obliged, Kyanna tipped her head at Zane. “Wait outside.”
Frowning, he did as he was told. Kyanna’s guards remained in the room.
She smiled at Willa. “We finally meet after all these years. I’ve only heard stories of you from our parents. It’s good to see you face to face. I understand you’re a lapidus, the same as I am.”
Willa crossed her arms. “I’m not having a sisterly chat with you until you take this slave bracelet off Nick.”
Kyanna eyed Nick for a moment, a sly, unyielding smile on her lips. “In due time. Let’s get to know each other a little first.” She looked at Willa again. “Now, as I was saying, you’re a lapidus also.”
“I suppose.” Willa had no choice but to play along and hope for the best. Or a chance to get them out of here. “I never really had any formal training after I left, but I’m really good with metals and stones. I make jewelry.”
“How nice for you. You left when you were fourteen?”
“And that was all the training you had.”
Willa nodded. “All the fae training. I apprenticed with a jeweler and learned my craft that way.”
Kyanna paused like she was mulling something over. A sense of satisfaction came over her, and she relaxed, folding her hands in her lap. “I imagine this must be a surprise for you, finding out you have a brother and sisters after all these years.”
“No, I—sisters? How many of you are there?”
“One more. Shay is eight years old and ungifted, but a sweet child even if she is useless when it comes to metal and stone.” Kyanna’s smile faltered. “We’re not a surprise?”
Willa shook her head. How could anyone call a child useless? “Before I left, I knew only that my parents had had two more children. The court…” Telling her sister that the court had paid their parents to produce more children might not go over so well.
Kyanna blinked hard, then her smile steadied. “The court rewarded them. I know that. The court still offers a bounty to any parents who can produce a lapidus. We’re a rare breed, you know.”
“I know.” Willa nodded. “You’re definitely a lapidus then.”
Kyanna’s smile brightened. “I am. And one of such great power that King Edwyrd made me his All Seer.”
Willa tried to recall her lessons in fae government. Beside the king, there was no one more powerful than the All Seer. It was a position she might have ended up in if she’d stayed. But power wasn’t something that had ever appealed to Willa. “You’ve done well for yourself.”
“I have.” Kyanna preened.
“And Zane is a lapidus also?”
Kyanna snorted, a very unladylike sound. “Rocks and ruins, no. He’s a stone mover. Nothing more. But he’s very loyal to me. As you’ve discovered.”
Willa made a little noise of agreement in her throat. “I’m still not clear what it is you want from me.”
Kyanna shifted slightly, pulling herself up straighter. “I want you to come home. To live here again. To work for me.”
Willa frowned. “That’s very sweet, but I have a job and a life outside of this world.” And a man she was crazy about, but bringing that to Kyanna’s attention didn’t seem like the smartest thing just yet. “My home is in Nocturne Falls now.”
Kyanna made a little shape with her mouth that implied she knew better. “Think about it. That’s all I’m saying. Take some time and—”
“I appreciate that, but I don’t need time. As flattering as your offer is, I’m not going to run away again. I’ve worked hard to build a life for myself out of nothing. I have to say no.”
Kyanna’s eyes took on a hard glint. “You’re sure about this?”