Page 7 (1/2)

Ric thanked the faray wire-haired terrier eyeing his pant leg with intent to water

"Asta, no!" Nora ordered, but Nicky merely bent to pick him up and install him on the barstool Ric had vacated

Ric left theainst the vividly colored liquors above and the dancing delass

Chapter Seven

I STOOD BECALMED and frantic in a mirror-world turned into a thorny trap

Where was Ric now? Who would warn him he was under attack if I was confined to fey stir?

Loretta Cicereau had usedher to reverse our roles Her boyfriend was not only dead and unrevivable, but ic you can use to help al

His broad bare shoulders shrugged "Phasia and Sylphia suppleone off to sulk now that I’ve put a wall between us I’house with them as much as your clever canine Quicksilver ever was, but they won’t abandon me here forever They’re just h mirrors Where’s the wolfbane of Cicereau’s pack now?"

"Not where I could really use hi brusque "I’ve never taken Quicksilver into uard every al looked around "I called up a protective wall, but this overgrown cage is like Sleeping Beauty’s thorn forest, and she was stuck behind the briars forwhat? Decades?"

"Who’s counting? This thorn-spiked jungle transformed from those leaf-bare trees that were so petite and frosty and pretty when I entered the mirror, kinda like your fey assistants when I first met them and their claere in" I looked around and up "The entwined branches lock us in on three sides, even on the Black Beyond above us"

"Mirror backings are painted black," Madrigal pointed out "No wonder the edges of everything inside the mirror are dark and look irind my teeth "I hope Loretta can’t travel with the speed of the diseet out and get to Ric fast I’ve got to get there before her"

Madrigal again shrugged brawny shoulders "I’ic, coed to retrace your steps, you’d be back to wherever you entered the mirror"

"That would be my residence," I said absently "The hallician would chop off his left hand to get ahold of a ood is it doing me now?"

"If that’s the ht ah I can quench the fire" His theatrical gesture did just that, but the thick tangled wall remained

"I haven’t time to wait for your apprenticeship to take hold" I looked around desperately

There was still no "back" Madrigal was right The towering thorn trees hemmed us in and the floor was black stone I stamped my heel on it, which only sent an i Well, I was no dor for o rescue hi the beanstalk

"What are you doing?" Madrigal asked as I leaped up three feet onto the nearest thick branch "There’s nothing up there butten-inch-long spears hidden a the twisted, alht iron with an ice storly cold, and slippery Andtop Soon the red knit would be dyed a deeper shade of scarlet, if I didn’t watch it

I’d always had a knack for cli the river cliffs, clutching fistfuls of leaf-stripped, whip-thin branches to pullroots and fallen tree trunks River cliffs? In Wichita? Those memories must be from that sule’s interior That rowth turned into an arch Soon I was clinging upside down likeSylphia My palms were reddened and sweaty I looked down over my shoulder Yikes! It would be a two-story fall to solid stone

Madrigal looked small and wee, like an elf, not a raceful tree limbs I’d seen when I first crossed into the eh the twisted ht just as I heard a tree lirowths, ht had becoher into the spiked nest Yes

This was a giant, thawed version of the frost forest Huge pendants of faceted geht-black sky A clear glassy one was nearest

If I broke the supporting li teardrop of rock crystal or zircon or even diah toso and phenomenal luck

Andthose facets were another kind of thorn The enify the play of light It would be like leaping through jagged plate glass into a network of deadly security lasers shooting back and forth inside I’d be creamed corn

Okay I needed to woirl’s best friend," but they aren’t if you’re conte a leap of faith into the infinite hall of h

Looking below, I saw the ial still foreshortened to dwarf size

Looking around the thorny hedge for upside down like bats, dainty, glittering bats preparing to loosen their unnatural holds and swing down to cocoon al!" I shouted down "Do you see it? The glih the forest of branches"

"Barely," he shouted back

"It’s cut like a diamond"

"A diamond That size? It would be invaluable"

"It is invaluable It’s my way out I want you to melt it into a cabochon, a smooth rounded oval Can you do that?"