Ballad a gathering of f.., p.42

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, page 42

 part  #2 of  Books of Faerie Series


Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie

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Page 42


  I stood before the audience on the stage, Ian Everett Johan Campbell, and I made Eric/Francis vanish. The audience gasped. It was only a trick of the stage lights, but it was still amazing. After all, it was real. They all knew magic was real.

  Paul played Nuala’s theme on the oboe as Wesley/Blakeley called me out.

  “You have sold your soul,” Wesley said.

  I smiled at him. “You’re guessing. ”

  “You’re the devil. ”

  “You flatter me,” I said.

  “What man can do what you do? What man with his soul?” Wesley asked. “Make men disappear? Make flowers spring from a rock? Tears fall from a painting?”

  I paced around Wesley. Sullivan had told me to do that, back when we had rehearsed with him as Blakeley—told me it made me look arrogant and restless, which Campbell was. Paul’s oboe paced and twisted as well, winding up toward the cue that invariably he always missed, the one Nuala had said was so important.

  “You know the answer. You don’t want to say it,” I sneered. “It is too frightening. No one wants to know. It’s right in front of you all. ”

  Dee sat in her usual seat by the wall. I’d convinced her not to go back home—to give Thornking-Ash a real chance. She still had so far to go, but Paul and I were doing what we could for her. And how could I let her go home by herself, when I knew the faeries were still watching her?

  “You mock me,” Wesley said. His eyes slid away from me, toward the audience, for just a moment. He wasn’t supposed to do that; he flicked them back to me. “What is it that can perform these deeds? What is it that is so obvious that it is in front of me? Who—”

  Nuala signaled wildly for Paul to stop. Paul stopped on his cue so perfectly that I almost missed mine.

  “Everyone,” I said, a little hurried.

  Wesley made an irritated gesture with his hand. “And I thought you’d tell the truth. As if you have been burdened with the truth a single day of your life. ”

  “It is the truth, Blakeley! The most magical, sinister, deadly, fabulous creature alive is a—” I stopped. A movement at the edge of door in the very back of the hall had caught my eye. Just another person leaning in, trying to catch the play.

  Only this person had massive black wings behind him, disappearing on either side of the door. And nobody else seemed to notice him, which was good, because he was mouthing my line at me—“a human”—and giving me a look like you’re making an idiot of yourself.

  The audience was watching and waiting, and I was just standing there, staring at Sullivan with a half-smile on my face.

  My arms were covered with goose bumps.

  “I’ll see you again,” Sullivan said, and no one else seemed to hear. “I’m sorry for that. Be ready. ”

  Wesley prompted me. “ … is a what ?”

  “A human,” I said. “The most dangerous and wonderful creature alive is a human. ”

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