He took a deep breath. “You should think about forgiving them. People make mistakes.”
Her fingers curled through the bars to touch his hand. “I’ll think about it, okay?”
“You know, there’s really no reason for you to still be over there all alone.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, things are moving in a very certain direction now. You breaking through this wall between us isn’t going to change any of that. But it would sure make me feel better.”
“Me, too. Only thing is, I said I probably could. Not entirely sure about that, but I’m willing to give it a shot.” He let go of her hand and the bar and backed to the wall. “Get as far away from the wall as you can. I don’t want you hurt by debris.”
“Don’t worry about me.”
She sounded far away, so she’d done what he asked. “Here goes.”
He shifted into his stone form, then put his head down and charged the wall, leading with his shoulder.
The impact he’d been expecting never came. Instead, the stone crumbled around him like chalk, falling away in big chunks and a cloud of dust, then splinters of wood from her side. He shook himself and blinked.
Willa stood against the far wall, hands raised and a dreamy smile on her lips. Pieces of the stone wall floated around her in all shapes and sizes. She looked at him. “You okay?”
“Good.” She dropped her hands and the rocks came tumbling down. Her smile widened. “I really should have been practicing my gifts a long time ago.”
He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “Did you do something to the wall, too? Soften it or something?”
She nodded. “I didn’t want you to get hurt.”
He shifted back into human form. “Your sister really has no idea what she’s up against.”
She bit at her bottom lip. “I’m sure she can do everything I can and more. She’s had a lot more training than I have.”
He went to Willa and pulled her into his arms. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on with you wanting her to think you’re on her side?”
She leaned up and kissed him, clearly an attempt to distract him, but he didn’t care. He kissed her back, hungry for her after being kept away. She wrapped her arms around him and sighed against his mouth. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too. I can’t wait to get out of here and get back home.”
The dungeon door swung wide, and a cluster of guards swarmed in, Zane at the center. His haughty expression changed to a sneer when he saw Willa and Nick embracing. “I understand you’ve changed your mind about working with Kyanna and me.”
Willa turned to face him. “I have. And I’m prepared to pledge my allegiance in front of her and the king.”
“Yes, well, you’d have to, wouldn’t you?” He waved a hand. “I suppose you’re going to keep the gargoyle as your personal pet.”
Willa nodded. “Yes, he’s mine exclusively.” She lifted her chin with the kind of imperial haughtiness that gave her words the ring of truth. “Now get me out of here or I’ll have him smash this whole place into dust.”
With a snort, Zane motioned to the guards. “Unlock the cell and bring them to court.” He brushed some imaginary dirt off his shoulder as he gave her one more look. “I’ll see you there, sister.”
“Yes, you will.” She put her hands on her hips until he’d left.
The guards produced a wooden key that worked her cell’s wooden lock and then escorted them out, flanking them. Each guard had a long staff topped with a glittering gold spear head. A useless weapon meant for show. And they seemed to know that, judging by the looks they gave Nick.
He snarled at one, and the fae jerked back.
Willa put her hand on his arm. “Nick, remember we’re joining them. Let’s not antagonize.”
He nodded, understanding it was all part of her plan. Whatever it was, he was willing to trust her. They started moving. He paid close attention to their surroundings, keeping a map in his head in case they had to return this way. They were headed down, which wasn’t the way they’d arrived. Perhaps they were going through the mountain. The hall was wide and well ornamented, and plenty of fae passed them, staring at them with great curiosity.
Willa ignored all of them, holding her head up in a good imitation of Kyanna’s posture. Whatever she was playing at, it was very convincing.
The downward grade leveled off and, after fifty yards, started a gentle slope up. After a few more yards, they went through a set of double doors and out into a courtyard. Nick squinted against the sudden brightness of the sun.
And realized they were standing outside of the castle.
“Keep moving,” one of the guards behind him growled.
Willa turned and pinned the guard with a look. “Watch your tone. I am not only a citizen of the realm but the eldest sister of the All Seer and about to become her right hand. You don’t want to make an enemy of me, understood?”
The guard gave a short nod. “Yes, my lady.”
“I expect that courtesy be extended to my personal guard as well.” She rested her hand on Nick’s shoulder, giving it a quick squeeze.
Nick dug his fingernails into his palm to keep from grinning.
Willa shifted her attention back to the castle and started moving toward it like she knew where she was going. Maybe she did.