Hausa: Gidan Minti na Bakwai
Claire came by– thankfully she had the courtesy to actually knock– and we talked about plans for breakfast. Everyone else was downstairs in the dining hall, so Stefan and I decided to join them rather than taking breakfast in my room. We had a lot to talk about with the others, and I didn’t want to have to explain it over and over again.
Kadri came downstairs along with us. She was thrilled to see that Stefan and I had actually admitted our feelings for each other; apparently she– just like Larsa– had picked up on some of the subtle hints.
I was surprised to see Lord Thorne at breakfast; I’d expected him to be getting ready to get some sleep, but he said he wanted to see us that morning. Oddly enough, Blackthorne and Justin were not there. In fact, they didn’t make an appearance until most of the others were done eating breakfast. I had expected Blackthorne to be excited to see Stefan out of bed and doing a lot better after everything that had happened last night, but he didn’t really say much about it; he was busy clearing off plate after plate of food.
“Emory went to feed Ingrid one last time this morning,” Lord Thorne eventually explained. “I had asked him not to give her more than he could spare, but it seems that he insisted on giving her just that.”
“It did her a lot of good,” he told his grandfather. “I had almost considered asking her and Brielle to come down to breakfast and greet everyone, but it’s getting to be late in the morning, and they’re better off sleeping than anything else.”
“Blackthorne,” I said in a worried tone, realizing why he was so ravenous and pale, “you didn’t have to. I could have given more.”
“I know you could,” he replied, “but I don’t think you should. I think you and Stefan should get back to Earth and have a serious conversation. You two have a lot to talk about.”
Stefan narrowed his eyes and looked at Blackthorne for a moment. “What do you…” Then his eyes shot over to Larsa. “What did you tell him?! How could you do that?”
He was halfway out of his seat when I grabbed his arm and looked up at him. “Stefan, settle down.”
The whole time, Blackthorne was just staring at him evenly, no emotion on his face. “I don’t know what you’re so angry about, but I haven’t seen Larsa since last night.”
Larsa looked hurt. “Come on stefan, you have to know I wouldn’t tell anybody! I– I–“
He was trying really hard to defend himself without actually saying what Stefan didn’t want him to say. Killian laid a hand over his.
“It’s all right, lad. I know Stefan’s worried, but everyone else knows you wouldnae gossip like that.”
I looked back over at Blackthorne. “What is it we need to talk about? The key? Finding my palace?Getting started on teaching Kadri how to play the oboe?”
Blackthorne shook his head slowly. “Stefan knows. And I have a feeling that you know, too, or at least suspect. There are things I’ve noticed about you; your actions, the things you’ve said. After everything I saw last night, you both need some time away from here, and the space to talk about some serious things.”
Stefan growled, sank heavily into his chair, and gave Blackthorne an angry look.”Who do you think you are, making it sound so easy to get back to Earth? Besides,we have less to talk about than you think.”
Blackthorne raised a brow and met his gaze evenly.
“Leila told me that she’s in love with me,” he said after several tense moments. His eyes flashed between Blackthorne and Larsa. “So now there’s no big secret to keep, and you don’t have to pressure me to confess to her anymore.”
“Wow!” Justin cried, sitting up much straighter. “Really, you two are in love with each other– you’re together now?!”
“We are,” I confirmed for him. I knew I was blushing again, but I really didn’t mind. I wove my fingers with Stefan’s and smiled at him. “And I’m really happy I finally said it.”
“Merveilleux!” Jean-Marc declared. “That’s wonderful news for you both. Ah, l’amour, c’est le meilleur, n’est-ce pas?”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “it really is.”
“It was so evident in the way he fought for you,” Tobias added.
Aubré nodded his agreement, but didn’t say anything.
“I am happy for you both,” Evander said in his usual elegant yet smooth tone. “I do agree with Prince Emory’s suggestion that you spend some time together back on Earth. You need rest as well as time to talk everything through.”
“Again with the talk of going back to Earth,” Stefan grumbled with a weary sigh that seemed to emphasized his hoarseness. “We don’t have to wait for the stars to align now that we have the key, right? So where do we have to go to use it?”
“You won’t need it today,” Blackthorne said. “I have my own way of getting you home.”
Blackthorne nodded. “I don’t believe I made it clear enough what I can actually do with the powers I inherited from my grandfather.”
Stefan gave him a curious look, and I decide to fill him in on some of the details. “When we went out to the beach to save you last night, I rode Sleipnir, but Blackthorne had to run and get Larsa. You think he had time to run all over the castle and still get to the beach before you drowned? He can make portals through the shadows– kind of like wormholes.”
“Well, not–” Blackthorne stopped to think. “I’m not even going to worry about the distinction right now. All you need to know, Stefan, is that I can take us back to Earth as soon as you’re ready to go. Evander won’t have to expend his magic, and you won’t have to spend days traveling back to Jean-Marc’s manor.”