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Knights of Fey: Remain
Jace trailed behind Morgan grudgingly, taking in the brilliance of the sun and the crispness of the breeze through the grass. Everything seemed green here, like the world had been infused with a double dose of whatever made things grow. The flowers bloomed in radiant shades, and the moisture had not left the air, a sensation that woke Jace more surely than a cup of coffee. The mountains grew larger as they approached, towering like giants above the plains.
As they drew closer, they caught Jace’s eye. His brows wrinkled, and feet slowed. “That…” He halted, second-guessing himself. But there it was, just as he remembered. “I know that skyline. Those are the mountains where I live. I’ve painted them dozens of times.”
Morgan stopped just long enough to gesture him onward. “Of course they are. Keep up! We are nearly there.”
The nonchalance in his tone startled Jace. Did that mean… “Are we back in the real world? I mean, my world?” he demanded, jogging to catch up. They’d both caught up to Hector, who had paused on hearing the conversation, marveling at his ignorance.
“He has told you nothing?”Hector questioned in curiosity. “Morgan, you have left the boy very little to chew on in our long walk. It must have been dreadfully dull.”
Jace was simultaneously repulsed at being spoken of so dismissively, and overwhelmed with curiosity. “What do you mean? Why are the mountains the same?”
Morgan cast a disapproving glare to Hector. “He will not be here long. The less he knows, the better it will be.”
Hector did not heed the warning. He strode closer in step with Jace, reveling in the mortal’s ignorance. “What Master Wolfhame does not wish you to know, boy, is that our worlds are the same. The mountains, the valleys, the rivers and streams, the oceans—we exist on the same Earth. It is merely the realms that are different.”
“The realms?” His eyebrows knit crossly. It wasn’t yet making sense.
“Otherworld, as we call your realm, and Amaranth, ours: the eternal flower. It is a fitting name, don’t you think?”
Jace still did not grasp the concept behind his words. “So, Otherworld and… Amaranth… They exist in each other? Are we in my world? In Otherworld?” he corrected.
“Not in each other, boy. On top of each other. They cannot see each other because they do not exist together. But they exist alongside each other, to be sure. Right now, where we walk, in Otherworld there are people walking, animals living, probably even your cars driving. We just cannot see them, because they are in the Otherworld, and we are in Amaranth.”
“All of this, Amaranth, exists on top of my world?”
“Aye,” he repeated. “You may have even stood in the same room as us before, but never known it. You might feel a chill, if the veil is thin, and we might see a flicker of your image, but the worlds never coexist.”
Morgan grunted, walking at a faster pace. Jace noticed and sped up, as well. Hector felt friendly, explaining it all to him with relish; but he did not want to be long out of reach of Morgan. He felt safe in his guardianship, even for as cold as the hunter was acting at the moment.
“But I am here,” Jace turned to Hector, debating the point. “Obviously they can coexist, or I wouldn’t be here.”
“You are here because you have ceased existing in your realm and now exist in ours. We can travel between realms, through the mirrors, but beings cannot exist in both realms in the same moment.” Hector paused briefly, watching Morgan mount the next hill with calculating eyes.
In the moment when Morgan’s back was turned, Hector seized Jace’s wrist, pulling him close. The words were whispered harshly, quickly – “He has eyes for you, boy. But beware. The Queen is not what she seems.”
As quickly as Hector pulled close, he retreated, leaving Jace breathless in fear and confusion. Eyes darted quickly up to Morgan, who seemed not to have noticed the exchange. Hector had resumed his casual, arrogant stride as if nothing had happened.
Jace was lost in shock. “What…”
“And so, dear boy, it’s simple,” Hector cut in. His volume was high and jovial, as it had been moments ago.
“I…okay…” Jace managed weakly. The words spun through his head—He has eyes for you, boy. The Queen is not what she seems. Why the warning? And the comment about Morgan? And how were they related? Jace swallowed nervously, then tried to shake the feeling of unease. Hector was playing games with him; he just didn’t know what they were yet.
Knights of Fey: Remain coming spring 2013 from Rebel Ink Press. Find out more at www.alexjonesbooks.com!