It took Isellta a while to fully calm down.
His wings stilled and his breathing returned to normal.
His thoughts turned to Robin.
Why do I feel this way for him and not for someone nice like Jay?
He scurried up to his feet and ran out of the room. “Jay!”
Jay was gone.
His feathers bristled.
If she’s hurt him…
His wings calmed down again. Why would she do that? It wouldn’t make any sense. Not if she wants me to help her kill Mark Caten.
Maybe he left voluntarily.
He did look very hungry. He’s probably in the kitchen.
That at least makes sense.
That’s where I would be if I were hungry.
And I am hungry.
Isellta entered the kitchen and took a nervous step back.
The kitchen bustled with Mark Caten’s employees making sandwiches and what not food. Guards mingled with fey and servants. And it was all too many people for the fey’s brain to process.
How will I find Jay?
His wings flittered in irritation as someone bumped into him and kept on going.
I guess I can’t just stand here and wait for him to find me.
Maybe he’s by the stove?
Isellta smiled as someone else barged into him. I know what to do.
He covered his nose and mouth with his hands and whispered words of magic into them: “Aish ka dea dae si nae fi na Jay.”
He uncovered his face and held out his hands. “Aish ka veh NOW.”
Magic rippled through the crowd, ensnaring them all in its sticky texture. Some of the people noticed it. Most did not.
However, they all noticed when it bound them together and dragged them out of the room. They let loose a chorus of outrage.
The door slammed shut behind them.
Jay stood alone by the stove, quietly stirring something in a large pot.
“Yes!” Isellta ran to him. “Jay!”
But he didn’t raise his head and he didn’t react at all to the fey.
“Jay?” Isellta stroked his arm.
Isellta moved his hand away. “I don’t understand. Have I done something wrong? Are you mad at me?”
He didn’t reply.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know…” He sighed. “I’m always doing something wrong. I…can’t help it, I guess. I wish I knew what I did wrong this…” His voice choked up. “But I’m sorry.”
“Did she touch you again?”
Isellta’s wings flittered. “No.”
Jay noticed the unbuttoned state of Isellta’s shirt. “She tried.”
“Yes.” he whispered.
Jay’s shoulders slumped. “You poor kid. I’m sorry I fell under her spell. I didn’t protect you. I couldn’t protect you. I got lost in the images she placed in my head.”
“What did she show you?”
Jay’s mouth twitched as if he were trying not to cry. “Maelin. How…happy she is without…without me in her life. It was so real, so convincing, I believed it. I still half-do.”
“But you’re so nice and kind. How could she be happy without you? That doesn’t make any sense.”
Jay smiled, but tears fell down his face. “You’re all right in my book, kid.”
In my book? In his book. Does he mean his journal?
Jay buttoned Isellta’s shirt. “There. Hey, take a look in that pot.”
Isellta peeked inside and stared in wonder at the pale worm-like pasta burbling and boiling in the water. “Is that—”
Isellta looked up at him.
Jay smiled – a real smile this time. “I told you I’d make it for you.”