See Part 1 here.
Dappled sunlight, tinted green after shining through the leaves of the tree, danced on the wall opposite the bed. Delia was so comfortable she simply lay and watched the light. It was the smell of bacon that lured her out of bed. She dressed after splashing her face and went down to the kitchen.
There she found Phara, Aduello, and Kaya at the kitchen table, mugs of tea in front of each. “Did you sleep well?” Kaya asked.
“Yes. Thank you. I don’t think I moved all night.”
“Please sit,” Phara said as she stood up. “I’ll get you some tea. Breakfast is almost ready.”
Delia chuckled. “The smell of bacon was the only thing that could get me up.”
Everyone smiled. “I felt the same way,” Kaya said and sipped her tea.
Breakfast was friendly, and Delia and Kaya insisted on doing the cleaning up. Phara finally relented when the two young elves shoo’d her out of the kitchen. It didn’t take them long to finish and they found Kaya’s parents in the library.
“Good. You’re done,” Aduello said. He closed the book he was reading. “I’ve been giving your father, the king, some thought, Delia.”
Phara motioned to the chairs. “Please sit.”
“What have you been thinking,” Delia asked.
Sandy the dog got up from under Aduello’s desk to get an ear rub from Kaya, then lay down at her feet.
“King Ucheni had fallen back from the fight at Iyuno’s castle. That much I know. I also know that Iyuno attacked the palace.” Aduello scratched his chin. “My theory is that Iyuno’s forces harried the king all the way back. The question now, is where is the king?”
Delia nodded, her hands twisting in her lap. “And why a protection spell over the palace?”
“Tell us about this protection spell,” Phara asked. “I’m not familiar with it.”
“We weren’t either, Mother.” Kaya leaned down to pet Sandy and was rewarded with a tail thump on the floor. “It was something Iyuno had done. Master Kaepli figured it out and had us all practice building it and taking it down.” She nodded at Delia. “Princess Delia was the strongest of us at it. She was the one at the gate, with me, trying to take it down. Then the black elves began erupting from hidden tunnels and we were cut off from the army. I had been knocked silly when the protection spell whiplashed back on us. Delia got us away but more of the black elves came from another tunnel and captured us.” She sighed. “If I hadn’t been so weak, Delia could have gotten away.”
Delia shook her head. “I don’t think so. Iyuno had it all planned out. I was going to get captured or killed, one way or the other.”
Kaya gave Delia a smile of gratitude. “Perhaps.”
“What are black elves,” Aduello asked.
“Oh. That’s what we called the elves following Iyuno. Because they all wear black,” Delia said. “Iyuno and Iyuno’s nephews, Ceinno, and Nethene are all very powerful and I figured out why. That’s how we escaped.”
Aduello and Phara leaned forward. “Do tell.”
“They can draw power from fire.” Delia clasped her hands. “I had wondered why they didn’t use the magical lights like we did. They had torches all over the castle. The magic lights are so much cleaner and safer, I didn’t understand why they didn’t use them. Then the day before I broke out, I saw Iyunno with my magic sight, power was flowing from the torch to him. Then they made a mistake and didn’t take the torches with them that night. I pulled power from all of the torches they’d left until I could break my bonds and get free.”
Phara’s eyes were wide. She looked at her husband. “Did you know this?”
He shook his head. “No. But that was a remarkable escape.”
Kaya nodded. “She came and got me, and we got out. Neither of us think that the other black elves could pull power from fire. Just the two nephews and Iyuno. And now Delia.”
Delia smiled her gratitude at Kaya. “I think I want to go back to the palace and break that protection spell.”
Aduello nodded thoughtfully. “I can see where that makes sense.”
“But won’t it whiplash back on you like at Iyuno’s?” Kaya asked.
Delia shook her head. “I’ll build a bonfire and have a lot more power than we did the last time. I have to know what’s in the palace.”
“Do you think your parents are in there?” Kaya looked at her friend with concern.
“Perhaps.” Delia shrugged. “Perhaps no one is there and Iyuno put the spell up as an annoyance. I don’t know. But it’s a first step.”
Aduello nodded. “I’ll send some pigeons out with a question, where’s Iyuno. We could hear back within a few days.”
Delia pressed her lips together. “Good. We have a plan. May I borrow a horse?”
“Of course. I’ll go with you,” Aduello said.
“You’re not leaving me behind. I can help,” Kaya said as she stood up.
“I’ll pack you some food,” Phara said. “And stay here to receive the pigeons.”
Delia smiled. “You are all so kind.” She felt a little weepy, and sniffed back tears. “Thank you.”
Kaya placed a hand on Delia’s shoulder. “You’re my friend. What else can we do?”
Thank You! Come back next week for Part 38.
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