Jay left the bathroom and returned to Isellta’s side.
Isellta had rolled over on his chest and fallen asleep. His hands were curled up on either side of his head — one along the bridge of his nose, the other clutching the edge of his pillow. He’d spread out his wings to their full length.
His expression was calm. His color was good.
He was still breathing.
Jay exhaled his relief and went to work drying Isellta’s feathers and the skin around the individual shafts.
Maelin sighed and raised her head. “Ohh, I didn’t mean to fall asleep.” She sat up. “Do you need help?”
“Sure. Go grab another towel from the bathroom. There should be one left in the cabinet under the sink.”
“I’ll be right back.”
He stopped. “Mae, wait. Did you find him?”
She hesitated before shaking her head.
Jay noticed. “What is it?”
“Let me get the other towel and we’ll discuss it. Okay?”
She left and Jay resumed drying Isellta’s wings, feather by feather.
I have until Monday to enjoy these quiet moments with Isellta. Then, I have to go back to work.
I hate the idea of leaving him. Something could happen to him. Preyuna could snatch him away from me and hurt him all over again. And it would be my fault for not being at his side.
But Maelin is here.
Maelin will keep him safe. She won’t let Preyuna touch him.
Maelin returned to the opposite side of the bed. “Sorry I took so long.”
“It’s okay. Don’t worry. If you don’t mind, you can take care of that wing while I work on this one.”
Maelin nodded and went to work at it.
“Mae? Is Robin here?”
“No, but something doesn’t make sense to me. I went down into the dungeon and I detected Robin’s scent.”
Jay looked up at her.
“It seemed to be focused in one particular cell, but the cell was empty.”
“Fey magic, perhaps?”
She shook her head. “I didn’t detect any magic. So, I don’t understand what it means. What do you think?”
Jay thought it over as he dried Isellta’s feathers. “I don’t know. I just know it reeks of Preyuna’s level of trickery.”
Silence fell in between them. They kept on working on Isellta’s wings. Both were lost in their own separate thoughts that they chose to keep to themselves.
Jay finished before her. He dried the area of soft skin and taut muscles beneath Isellta’s wings.
“Jay? Why would Mark Caten imprison Robin?”
He scoffed. “Does Mark Caten even need a reason?”
“No, but he generally does have a reason for the things he does. Why would he imprison Robin? What good would that do him? How would he benefit from it?”
Jay raised his head. “What does he want from Robin?”
He sat on the edge of the bed. “He knows that Robin is coming. He probably suspects that Preyuna is going to use Robin to kill him.”
“So? Why not stake him? Why go through the trouble of imprisoning him? What does he want?”
“What would he want from Robin? How does imprisoning Robin help Mark Caten?” Jay mulled over those two questions. “Maybe it’s just him being a jerk. Could it be that simple?”
Maelin shook her head. “That’s too simplistic even for someone like him. He has something cooked up in his head. You can count on it.”
“I know. Mae, we need to find out if. If.” Jay’s mental elevator hit the top floor and all of the lights turned on. “Mae, we need to check the monitors!”