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Safi’s interest perked up. A message. Already this afternoon had turned more enticing than yesterday’s.

I don’t know. He fell silent for minute. I wanted a reason to be away from here, and helping you on your goose chase seemed like a viable option.Oh. I realized I hadn’t talked to him that much lately, and not at all since Mae came back. How are you holding up with everything?

I’ve been through worse. He smirked, but it didn’t hide the pain in his eyes. He must’ve known that because he turned and faced the monitor.Have you talked to her since the first night she got here? I asked, and Ezra shook his head. Why not?Alice, you know why not, he sighed. To avoid the conversation, he began clicking things on the computer, zooming in and out on the dragon brand on the girl’s arm. I didn’t have anything to say to her while she was gone, and I don’t have anything to say to her now.

I am fully aware of who she is. His words were clipped, and when the mouse didn’t move the way he wanted, he slammed it on the desk. Damn thing is never working.Don’t take it out on the computer because you’re mad at her, I said.

I’m not mad at her. Right now, I’m rather annoyed with this conversation. He glanced over at me, but I wouldn’t be deterred.

Why don’t you go with her?Are you ready to leave? she asked, gripping her Threadstone. I’m coming, Safi. There’s no time to waste.

We can make no progress in this weather, and darkness will soon fall. A yank at the buckle beside his shoulder; blades clinked in warning. We travel tomorrow, at first light.Then the Bloodwitch sank into a cross-legged position on the damp soil, closed his eyes, and did not speak again.

The Hell-Bard commander returned from the jungle, movements imbalanced as he shuffled to Zander’s pack and rifled through. If he noticed Safi’s gaze boring into him, he gave no indication.Night was drawning near. Safi had hoped they might make camp, but Lady Fate was not favoring her thus far.