She heard a wailing sound come from the edge of the woods and ran toward the trees fifty yards away. Brody was right on her heels. She crashed through the underbrush and passed through the illusion that was hiding the real damage. Fae were dragging and carrying the dead and wounded from the underground tunnel in the middle of the river. She saw a familiar girl with short black hair, struggling to help an injured man out of the tunnel.

“Brody, help them!” Mina cried out. She ran to help Ever carry Ken Wong out of the river bed to the embankment. She could see clear as daylight the fire and the firemen and policemen by the parking lot and building, but they couldn’t see past the glamour. Which was good. The remaining Fae were using all of their last resources to cloak their escape from their headquarters.

“You missed the party,” Ever grunted as she kneeled to get Ken to lie down. There was a large bruise on his face and a bloody cut across his stomach. Most of his hands were covered with second-degree burns. He was conscious and kept trying to get back up to head into the tunnels. Two other Fae came and picked Ken up to move him into a large truck. It seemed like they were doing a quick evacuation of the survivors.

“Ever, where’s Nix?” Mina scanned the crowd of scared and injured Fae.

“He’s fine. He went back in to search for survivors. We were able to contain the fire using wards and push it back to the above floors. But there are still people trapped down there.” She coughed and used her shirt to wipe the soot away from her face. She looked tired and sweaty but determined. “He came back Mina. He brought trolls, giants, and ogres and attacked the compound. Most of the Fae were sleeping, and he slaughtered them. I got up, because I couldn’t sleep since it was a new place and all. I saw them rip through the wards, no problem.” Tears fell, leaving streaks in the soot on her face. “I was able to sound an alarm, but it was too late to stop it. There were too many already in the facility.”

Mina wrapped her hands around Ever as the girl cried, her shoulders shaking uncontrollably. Her grief was intense. “Shhh, it’s okay. We’re here to help.”

Ever pulled back, sniffed, and straightened her shoulders. Her eyes went wide when she saw the dress Mina was wearing. “I knew it was you. There was a part of me that wanted to deny it, but there was so much that didn’t add up about Elle, and then she disappeared. Still, it was so long ago. I just thought you had to be her doppelganger, and all this time, you just disappeared into the human plane.”

“Ever, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. It wasn’t just the human plane; it was a different time altogether. I wish I could have changed the outcome. I didn’t want it to happen. I never meant for Teague to be poisoned by a cursed dagger.”

“He’s been looking for you, I mean Elle, for over a century. He wants his revenge. But I don’t understand why he attacked the Guild. They seemed like nice Fae. They even accepted me easily, and I know I’m a tough pill to swallow.”

“It’s because it was the Godmothers that tried to assassinate Teague during that first test. Ferah was a Godmother. I happened to save her the night before, and she came back and made it to the tower. She was the one who stabbed him with the cursed knife. The tip of the knife broke off and is still inside of him. It’s what poisoned his heart and increased his power. I was trying to save him, but he blames me. He wants to punish not only me, but the Guild for trying to assassinate him.” Mina looked around for Mei.

Brody and Nix were carrying a female Fae out of the tunnel. Nix shot Mina worried looks as they carried her—not over to the trucks with the survivors—but down by the waterfront, where the rows of the dead lay.


“That’s not—?” Mina didn’t finish, because she jumped up and dashed after Nix. Ever called out after her. “Don’t go down there.”

Mina didn’t listen. She recognized the dark hair, saw her beautiful brown skin and her lifeless eyes. “Mei!” She rushed down to the waterfront.

Nix ran up to meet her and blocked her from heading down to the shore. “No, Mina. Don’t.”

“That’s Mei. Let me go. That’s my Godmother!”

Nix looked pained, but he yelled at Brody to help hold her back. Brody pulled her out of Nix’s arms and tried to lead her back up the hill.

“Mei,” Mina cried, scratching and kicking at Brody so that he would let her go.

He gripped her wrists and held on. “Mina. She’s gone. There’s nothing you can do.” Just then, another rumble started from deep in the earth and everyone scattered as the Green Mill Recycling Center collapsed in upon itself. It was as if the earth opened up and swallowed every inch of the place in a giant sinkhole.

The Fae who were coming out of the escape tunnel ran for their life. Cries rose up around her as others screamed for loved ones that hadn’t surfaced yet. But the collapse triggered the water, and it rushed back down into the middle of the river, filling the escape tunnel and cutting off the last refugees.

She couldn’t breathe. It was impossible to inhale, and it burned as she tried to gasp for air. Finally, her lungs expanded and she started to sob. “It’s all my fault. It’s because of me that this happened.”

“No, it’s not your fault.” A feminine voice spoke up from behind her. “It’s mine.”

Through her tears, Mina looked into the face of Ferah. Like Ever, the girl hadn’t aged much since she last saw her running away in the tower. Her hair was still a wild red, her eyes a deep blue.

Mina filled with rage at the sight of the girl. She lunged for her. Ferah stepped back in surprise and Brody held her back.

“Y-you,” Mina snarled. “It’s because of you this happened.”

“But I would have finished the job, Mina. I would have been able to kill the prince if you hadn’t interfered,” Ferah added.

“If you hadn’t tried to assassinate him with a cursed knife, he wouldn’t have turned evil and destroyed hundreds of innocent Fae.” She pointed at the bodies lining the beach. “They wouldn’t have died. Mei would still be alive. My father would still be alive.”

Ferah had her own tears rolling down her face. “Blame me all you want, but if you hadn’t fallen out of the tower and used the seam ripper at that place in time to go to Halle, you wouldn’t have saved Wilhelm. You would never have been born.”

“But why?” Mina sobbed, finally wrenching free from Brody.

“I did what I had to do to try and prevent this from happening. Prophecies aren’t fool proof. Ask Constance. I’d do it again.”

“I hate you.” Mina hissed.

“Yeah, well, get in line,” Ferah laughed. “Behind me.”

“I think I’d like to join the I Hate Ferah club as well.” Ever grumbled.

Ferah turned and looked at Ever. “Oh look, if it isn’t the oh-so-shy Ever Farindale. Looks like you got over the shy bit and grew up into a big girl.”

“Almost being killed in a maze will do that to you,” she shot back.

Ferah looked over the Goth pixie and smirked at her footwear. “Nice boots.”

“Yeah, the better to kick your little elf—”

“Hey, I helped you that night.” Ferah cut Ever off. She thrust a thumb out at Mina. “She would have forgotten about you, if it wasn’t for me.”

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