Robin kept struggling, kept trying, even as Barbara and Ambrose walked away. He kept hoping that maybe they’d turn around, maybe they’d come back. Maybe this time they’d see him.
But they did not return.
His stomach involuntarily clenched as the hunger spiked up. He groaned. ‘sellta. Please…please…
It spiked again. Robin exhaled hard through his nose. ‘sellta, you’re my only hope. Don’t leave me here to starve. Please…save me…
“Are you hungry?” Maelin asked.
Isellta nodded. “I don’t think I had anything to eat today. Too many things have happened for me to even think about food.”
“It has been a pretty crazy day.”
“I’m not sure when or what I last ate?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll get you something to eat. I’ll be right back.” She started to stand, but he grabbed her hand. “What? What is it?”
He bowed his head. “Please don’t leave me alone.”
Maelin went down on her knees again.
“If I’m alone…” His wings flittered. “I don’t want to be alone. Please. Please don’t leave me?”
She studied his expression. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Isellta shook his head before she was even half-way through the question. “Hurts. Please? Let me come with you? I’ll be good. I won’t be a bother to you. You won’t even have to help me to the kitchen. I’ll do it myself. I won’t—I won’t be a burden. I—I promise. Please. Please. Please don’t leave me here.”
This poor, dear boy! If I take him with me, I don’t know if I’ll ever bring him back.
She patted his hand. “Let’s go get you some food, okay?”
She stood and guided him up to his feet. “Careful.”
He grabbed her arms as his legs wobbled. “I can do this, Mae.”
“I know you can, angel.”
He flared out his wings to apparently aid in stability.
She smiled affectionately at him and guided him towards the door.
As Maelin led him out of the room, Isellta considered her question.
Stay with her and Jay…Oh! That would be wonderful. But I don’t think it’s really possible. After all, it wouldn’t be a simple matter of convincing Her Majesty to let me stay with them. I’d also have to convince her to release the barrier around me, so I can be with them without inadvertently pushing Jay away. I don’t think she’d agree to that.
But it’s okay.
As long as she keeps her side of the bargain, it’s okay. I’ll be okay.
His heart fluttered at the thought of Preyuna telling him, “Robin’s here”.
Even if I can’t go home with him, ohhh! Oh, to just see him again. Oh, it’s been so long!
He tripped, but Maelin caught him.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
To see him again…To touch him…Ohhh, to finally hold him in my arms and feel his arms around me! And he will come here. I’m sure he’ll come. He promised. He said he was on his way.
I just don’t know why he isn’t here yet.
Maelin led him around the left corner and past the monitor room. It was slow going with a lot of trips and stumbles. But it didn’t seem to be as bad as his first time walking with Jay. She felt that it was a very simple matter. He’d been doing a lot of walking since regaining consciousness. His legs were simply getting stronger, slowly but surely.
Isellta, however, was convinced that it was the combined result of Maelin’s jahaanashi tea and of Jay’s leg massage.
Maelin just smiled and didn’t try to debate it.
They walked past the front door and kept walking down the hall.