Chapter Three – The Eighth

Losing his memory wasn’t an uncommon occurrence for Ed. Since his childhood, he’d always seemed to have gaps in his experiences, discrepancies he often assigned to his uncanny ability to forget—especially important details.

His past experience, however, didn’t make the situation any less frightening—or confusing, for that matter.

Now, with the rain beating down on him and a sharp pain in his head, Ed found himself lost amidst a sea of trees, his only landmark a distant mansion that he felt compelled to enter.

His memories were fuzzy, his vision clouded. There were moments when he’d blank out and find he’d traveled a couple feet farther ahead. His nerves dull, Ed allowed his muscles to carry him up the muddy hill, his mind in a trance-like state.

He didn’t notice when he entered the mansion, nor did he hear the voices emitting from the dining hall. Ed simply kept walking, his limbs heavy and his senses clouded. With the mahogany door looming over him, he made one final effort and threw himself against the it, collapsing into the extravagant hall, soaked, tired, and lost.

When he awoke, Ed found himself lying in an unfamiliar bed.

At first, he might’ve considered the previous day to be a dream, but the ornate chandelier that hung from the ceiling and the bright flames that reflected off the gold wallpaper were alien to the dreary, shadowed home he lived in.

His head throbbed, his muscles sore. For a moment, he lay there, staring up at the ceiling, trying to make sense of his situation. Then, realization hit him.

Shooting forward, a sharp pain instantly made him regret his decision.

Flinching, Ed rubbed his head, finding a large bump that hurt to the touch. He bit his lip, attempting to massage the area but discovering that any form of contact only made it worse.

“So you’re awake,” a voice said. Jumping, Ed snapped forward, eyes darting about the room. The room was huge, about the size of Ed’s entire cabin, with lush carpets and elegant furnishings. The bed he was sitting on sank beneath him, as soft as he imagined a cloud might be, and he realized that he was wearing a different set of clothing. While still practical and unassuming at first, upon closer inspection, the cloth was far more durable than anything in his wardrobe.

Looking up, Ed saw that, sitting at the desk a couple feet away, was a boy around his age. He was reading a book and had an uninterested expression. Most shocking, however, was his left eye, which had a familiar golden hue. Ed looked around.

“Um… where?” he began.

“The Willis Island Mansion,” came the mechanical response. “This is a guest room.”

Ed furrowed his brow and rubbed his temple. His head was throbbing and his memories were a blur. Glancing up, he found himself staring into a gold mirror hanging beside the bed. Thankfully, there was no longer a trace of dirt on him, which almost felt odd. What attracted his attention the most, however, was his glowing eye. A wave of memories crashed over him.

He hunched over, forcing himself to remember. “I… there was that storm, and that person…” His eyes snapped open. “Where are the other Saviors?” he asked frantically, whizzing around. Ed clenched his fist as another pain sliced through him.

“Careful, your injury isn’t healed,” the other Savior warned. He sighed and closed his book. “The other Saviors are fine. There was an argument about whether or not we could trust you, but it’s mostly settled now.”

Ed furrowed his brow. “Trust? Why?”

The other Savior stared at him. “You really don’t know, do you?”

“Know…what?” Ed asked, beginning to worry. For a second, the other Savior looked like he might answer, but after a pause, he seemed to think better of it.

“What’s your name?” he asked instead.

“Edmund, but everyone calls me Ed,” Ed replied. Not that anyone ever talked to him. Ed had become his personal nickname after years of bullying had left his full name sour.

“Mortimer,” the other Savior said. His blank expression was starting to creep Ed out. He scooted backwards unconsciously as Mortimer continued. “Can you remember what your ability is? Or what number you are?”

“Ability? I’m—” a sharp pain stopped him from continuing. Hunched over in pain, Ed gripped his head, eyes wide. Odd. By now, a majority of his memories had returned. The letter, the boat ride, and most importantly, the silhouette. Yet, somehow, no matter how hard he tried, the words in the letter came out blurred. The beginning of the month, too, there was a blank in where he assumed his powers would’ve originally activated.

Mortimer was watching him silently. “Can’t remember?”

Ed stared at his lap. “No.”

Mortimer sighed. “I thought as much. Tell me, how did you get here? How did you get that injury?” he asked.

Taking a deep breath, Ed told Mortimer everything. About his inability to remember his powers, his trip, the storm, and the attacker. All the while, Mortimer listened silently, nodding his head. His expression remained monotone throughout, but upon mention of the shadow, he frowned.

“Another Savior, you say?”

Ed clenched his fist and nodded, keeping his gaze low. “At least, I think so,” he added. “I, I could be remembering wrong.”

Mortimer shook his head. “No, I believe you. It’s just…” he paused. “…Well, including you, there are eight of us here.”

Ed frowned and looked up. “Eight?”

Mortimer nodded. “Before you arrived, there were already seven. That’s why the others didn’t take too well to your arrival.”

“Already seven…” Ed’s eyes widened in realization. “You mean… the Eighth is here?”

Mortimer was quiet. “…at first we thought otherwise, but it seems there’s no other explanation. Not when all our eyes are so obvious,” he said. “And, what you said about the attacker, I’m assuming that was the Eighth as well.”

“If only I could remember who it was…” Ed muttered. Sliding off the bed, he found his shoes, cleaned and dried, at the foot of the bed. Leaning over, his hand fumbled with the laces. “We need to warn the others,” he exclaimed. “There might be a clue, or some sort of hint…”

“Ed,” Mortimer interrupted. Ed looked up. Mortimer sighed. “Right now, the others are in a state of panic.”

Ed stopped. “What?”

“You were the last to arrive, so some assumed you were the Eighth. Others defended you and an argument ensued,” Mortimer said. He began to explain the events leading up to Ed’s arrival, as well as how the others had reacted when they first saw him.

“Another Savior!?” Ivan exclaimed, eyeing the collapsed boy. Lucine raised an eyebrow.

“It would appear so.”

Echo frowned. “But… how?”

“Wait wait wait,” Ivan said, attempting to sort through his thoughts. “If all eight of us have the Golden One’s eye, then that means one of us is the Eighth!”

“Probably, yes,” Lucine said. “Congratulations on coming to that conclusion so fast, I thought I’d have to explain it.” She feigned clapping.

Echo, however, didn’t seem in the mood to joke. Her eyes narrowed. “Does that mean he’s the Eighth?” she asked, her hand floating to the dagger at her waist. Before she could grab the handle, Fay stopped her.

“Wait, let’s not jump to conclusions,” Fay said. “It’s true that one of us has to be the Eighth,” she admitted, “but we can’t be certain who it is.”

“Correct,” Lucine said, waving her hand in front of the boy’s eyes. She sighed and shook her head. “Nope, looks like he’s thoroughly unconscious.”

“Um, there’s a hall of guest rooms,” Willow muttered.

Mortimer nodded. “We could wait for him to wake up there.”

“That’s not the problem here!” Ivan snapped. “If one of us is the Eighth, we could all be killed before he wakes up!” He clenched his fist. How could he have not noticed? His skills at reading people were superb, hadn’t he proven that so many times? Unless the boy really was the Eighth. That would explain why he hadn’t suspected anything. But no, that was too obvious. There was something more going on.

Just as he came to the conclusion, Lucine said it aloud. “If you’re worried, I doubt he’s the Eighth,” she said, pointing her umbrella. “The Eighth wouldn’t be so foolish as to arrive like this. More likely than not, the Eighth attacked him and replaced his role.”

Or,” Echo argued, “the Eighth was aware that we’d think like that and purposely made himself appear like an innocent victim.” Once again, her hand was making its way to her blade. Fay grabbed her hand.

“Iris, what do you think?” Lucine suddenly asked, cocking her head. “You’ve been rather quiet. Or is that just your nature?”

Iris glanced up, then back at the fallen Savior. “Well…” she said slowly, “we should definitely be cautious. It could be a trap, like Echo said.” Iris paused. “But, I don’t think we should jump to conclusions,” she added.

Echo was now glaring at Fay, who gripped her hand tighter. After giving the fallen Savior another glance, she sighed.

“Then what do you propose we do?” she asked, relaxing her arm. Iris bit her lip

“Maybe we should just wait for him to wake up?” she suggested. Mortimer nodded. At this, Ivan narrowed his eyes, about to retort, when Iris continued.

“If he’s the Eighth, then he’s in no condition to do anything,” she argued. Mortimer, who was examining him, agreed.

“He has a pretty serious head injury,” Mortimer said. “He’ll need rest before he gets better.” Already, he was bending over to lift the other Savior. Willow stared at the ground, fidgeting.

“Um, about the guest rooms…I can lead you there,” she offered.

“Thank you,” Mortimer said. Willow glanced up and beamed, opening the door and allowing Mortimer to step through. Echo called after them, but they closed the door before she could finish, her words of caution lost.

Ivan watched the mahogany door swing shut, eyes narrowed. It was an odd feeling, having someone ignore you. It had been a common occurrence back when he was still a child. Now, however, no one dared. At least, except for Mortimer. And Lucine. And Echo. He clenched his fist. Saviorhood was becoming more intolerable by the second.

Echo sighed and stepped forward.

“I’m going after them,” she said. Lucine raised an eyebrow.

“Might I ask why?”

Echo glanced back, confused. She’d thought the reason was obvious. “Right now, there’s no knowing who’s the Eighth,” she said. “One of those three could be the Eighth, for all we know.” Before she could open the door, however, Ivan intervened.

“Wait, how do we know you aren’t the Eighth?”

Fay, who’d finally released Echo’s hand under the trust that her initial temper had died, sighed. “Ivan,” she said, exasperated, “that argument could go on forever.”

“I’m just being cautious!” he snapped.

“The Eighth hasn’t attacked us so far,” Iris mentioned. “They probably won’t now when we’re all on guard.”

Fay stepped beside Echo. “Besides,” she added, “I’m going with her, and I doubt the Eighth would do anything while we’re in a group.”.

Lucine chuckled. “A good argument.” She turned to Ivan. “That should be fine, right?”

Ivan bit his lip. “Fine,” he said, turning away. “Don’t blame me when something happens.”

Echo glared at him, her eyes narrowed.

“The three of you should be careful as well,” she said in a low voice. “The Eighth could be among you, too.” She stepped out the door before she could see Ivan snap back around, eyes lit. Fay and Lucine exchanged glances—one worried, one amused—before Fay followed Echo, closing the door behind them.

Only Ivan, Lucine, and Iris were left. Iris shifted around uncomfortably.

“I guess that leaves us…” she muttered. Ivan took a deep breath, continuing the rhythm until his hands stopped shaking. He shook his head. Already, he was rewinding through their previous conversations, trying to find some sort of hint, an odd behavior. The sooner he could find the Eighth, the sooner things would be settled.

Iris, too, kept glancing at where the supposed Eighth had just collapsed, fidgeting. Lucine, in contrast, had returned to her cardistry, seemingly bored.

She tapped Ivan, who had begun pacing around the room, on the shoulder. He and Iris both glanced at her. Grinning, Lucine pointed to the deck. “Want to play cards?”

“…And that’s how you got here,” Mortimer finished. Ed’s eyes had steadily grown larger as he’d listened to the story. Now, they nearly spanned his entire face. He looked down at his cleaned boots.

“Um, thank you…”

“It’s nothing,” Mortimer said. Ed bit his lip.

“Uh… does that mean you don’t think I’m the Eighth?” he finally asked. Mortimer paused.

“Not necessarily,” came the answer. Ed frowned.

“Then…”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the Eighth or not, you needed help,” Mortimer said. “I just decided to give it. Besides, I wasn’t the only one. Willow helped, and so did Fay and Echo. Iris did, too.”

Ed eyed the other Savior, who had opened his book again. “That’s… really nice of you,” he managed to say. Mortimer frowned, flipping the page.

“Really? I thought it was normal.”

Seeing the stoic boy’s confused expression, Ed couldn’t help but chuckle. Mortimer glanced up.

“Is something wrong?”

Ed shook his head. “No, sorry, it’s just…” he paused, trying to find the right words. “Well… I guess I misjudged you. Sorry about that, and thank you.”

Mortimer frowned, still confused, but shrugged.

Their conversation was interrupted by a knocking at the door. Mortimer and Ed exchanged glances. Indicating for him to hide, Mortimer set his book down and walked over to the door. Ed crept up against the wall, eyeing the door. Was it the Eighth? Or was it one of his fellow Saviors, one who didn’t trust him?

Both of these assumptions were wrong, as Mortimer, upon seeing the visitor, stepped aside. A tall girl wearing a heavy cloak and bag stepped in, looking around. When she saw Ed, she grinned and extended a hand. “Fay, nice to meet you,” she said.

Ed shook it. “Um, Ed,” he said, recalling what Mortimer had told him about her.

“Where’s Echo?” Mortimer asked, shutting the door behind them. Fay plopped down on one of the sofas.

“She returned to the dining hall with Willow. It looks like Lucine got them to play cards,” she said.

“Oh.”

Ed hesitated. “Um, about the others… how many don’t trust me?”

Fay glanced up. “Oh, so Mortimer already told you about that.” She counted on her fingers. “Hmm… well I’d say all of us are at least slightly suspicious, but that’s only normal, given the situation. The only hostile ones would probably be Ivan and Echo.”

Ed’s face fell. Even two was far too many.

Seeing his downtrodden expression, Fay attempted to wave the concerns away, mimicking Lucine. “But that was when you’d just arrived. I’ll bet Lucine’s already managed to convince them otherwise. She’s got a talent for that, you know.”

“I hope so…”

“Anyways, I came by to get you two. I think they want to gather for a final discussion, before going to bed, I mean,” Fay explained. Mortimer sighed and closed his book again.

“Then it can’t be helped.”

“What about you? Your injury okay?” Fay asked.

“It’s fine,” Ed said, standing up. Mortimer eyed him.

“You can stay here if you want,” he said. Ed shook his head, clenching his fist.

“No, I have to tell them about that other Savior. And,” he ducked his head sheepishly, “staying here would probably make me more suspicious.”

Fay laughed. “He catches on quickly.” Standing up, she opened the door and stepped outside, Mortimer and Ed following suit.

The hallways were as fancy as could be expected. Given that he’d only been half conscious when he’d first arrived, Ed awed at the decorations, entranced with the richness of the furnishings, the elegance of the design. His eyes kept wandering, which made his head throbbing worse, but he couldn’t help it. In particular, he found the paintings fascinating.

“You like art?” Fay asked. Ed nodded. There was an old art museum at his village, which he often visited both as an escape and for comfort. He himself couldn’t afford any painting tools, so he’d taken to wood carving—learning by observing his neighbor, who was a master at it. Those quiet moments of admiration and respect were the closest the two would ever have to a friendly relationship.

Fay chuckled. “Good to hear. I like it too,” she said. She glanced at Mortimer.

“I prefer reading,” was all he replied with. Fay shrugged and the three continued onward.

Ed had been expecting to find mud over the lush carpet, an idea that made him cringe and duck his head in shame, but he only found the occasional trace. According to Mortimer, Willow had helped to sweep it up.

Soon they reached the grand mahogany door, portraits etched into the wood itself. Ed would’ve normally examined the carvings, but right now there were more important matters to attend to. Ed swallowed, clenching his fist as Fay pushed the door open, the bright lights of the dining room blinding him.

Mortimer and Fay had already given Ed descriptions of the other Saviors, but seeing them still made him swallow. They were all gathered at the center table, having just finished their card game. Ed stared at his feet, attempting to ignore the stares.. A girl he assumed was Lucine was busy shuffling the deck. Now, she looked up and grinned.

“Well, looks like you had perfect timing. We’ve just finished,” she said. Fay sat down beside her.

“Who won?”

“Me, obviously,” Lucine said, snapping the deck back together and dropping it into her pocket.

Mortimer sat down, too, gesturing for Ed to do the same. He did and found himself sitting between Mortimer and another boy, who’d taken to glaring in exchange for the typical stares. Swallowing, Ed ducked his head.

“Anyways, I’d say we should give some introductions,” Lucine said cheerily. She leaned over and glanced at Ed. “I’m Lucine,” she said, “and it looks like you’ve already met Mortimer and Fay.” The two in question nodded.

Next in line, a girl with a stern expression said, “Echo.” Her eyes were cold and sent a shiver down Ed’s spine. Mortimer had said she’d helped treat his wound, but now, he wondered if there had been an ulterior motive. His head throbbed.

“Iris,” said the next one in line. Thankfully, she seemed normal enough, though Ed noticed she kept avoiding his gaze.

Next was Willow, who could barely be heard. Recalling the hallways, Ed tried to say, “Um, thanks for… the hallways, I mean—cleaning, or, uh…”

Willow shook her head, still staring at her hands. “No, um, it was… fine. Uh, good, I mean the hallways—”

“Okay, I’m going to stop you there,” Lucine interrupted, much to the visible relief of Willow. They turned towards the last member, sitting at the end of the table. He looked up and narrowed his already burning eyes.

“Ivan,” was all he said. Ed averted his gaze.

“Uh, Ed…”

“I know,” Ivan said bluntly.

“Now now, there’s no need for conflict,” Lucine drawled. Ivan shot her a glare, but turned his head. Ed sighed, relaxing his shoulders. Lucine turned to him. “It’s late and I want to go to sleep, so I’m going to cut right to the chase. How did you get here?”

And so, Ed found himself repeating his story a second time that night, from the previous month to him losing consciousness.

Once he was finished, Lucine seemed to be thinking. “So you can’t remember what your ability is?” she asked. Ed shook his head.

“Awfully convenient, if you ask me,” Ivan muttered.

Echo nodded. “Too convenient.” Ed didn’t miss the way her hand drifted over her waist to where he assumed was a blade. He swallowed and lowered his head again in what had become a common action..

“The attacker might’ve done that on purpose,” Mortimer said, looking up from the book he’d once again begun reading. Ed gave him a grateful look, but the other Savior simply shrugged. Fay sighed.

“If the servants were around, they’d know everyone’s ability,” she said. “But for us, all we can tell is that one of us is the Eighth.”

“Could someone copy the eye?” came Willow’s quiet voice. Fay shook her head.

“Maybe the color, but I doubt anyone could mimic the glow,” she replied, “and there are only eight possible people who’d have the eye.”

“There are others who’d know,” Echo suddenly said. “The king would have records of the past month, they should’ve recorded when our powers first manifested. We could go there and ask them,” she suggested. Iris frowned.

“Even if our powers haven’t manifested yet?”

“Even if you can’t control them or even use them now, every power came with a burst of energy when we first received them last month,” Echo said, eyeing her suspiciously. Iris nodded.

“So that means if we can use our powers, we can prove we’re not the Eighth?”

“It would seem so,” Echo said, “though unfortunately many of us are unable to use our gifts. Only two of us can,” she said to Ed, nodding towards Lucine and Willow. “So only Willow and Lucine could prove their innocence.” At this, Willow looked relieved, though Lucine didn’t seem as interested.

“Not necessarily,” she said, tossing her umbrella up and down. “The Soul Stealer’s power is to instantly kill people within a certain radius. Furthermore, if they directly touch the person, they can absorb their power. It’s entirely possible they killed and stole one of our powers and then arrived at the island, pretending they’d been the ones given them.”

Willow shuddered and Iris shook her head. “So there’re no leads…”

“Wait. Ed, you said you saw that attacker come from the back woods, right?” Fay asked. Ed nodded. Fay thought about this. “Hmm… by that logic, it’d be more likely for the attacker to have arrived after Ed and taken his spot, rather than having done so beforehand,” she said. “After all, our identities are kept secret, and the Saviors are usually from different parts of the country, anyways.”

“Except you and Echo,” Ivan interrupted. Echo shot him a glare. Fay shrugged.

“True.”

“If that’s the case,” Lucine said, chuckling, “then I’m guessing the Eighth must be surprised Ed’s alive.” She nodded at Ed. “You’re lucky, kid, you could’ve died.”

Ed swallowed, unsure of what to say.

“For now, we should try to contact the king,” Mortimer said. Fay nodded, glancing out the window.

“Hmm… we’ll probably have to take a boat over to the mainland. This storm isn’t really encouraging, though… Maybe we should wait til tomorrow?”

Iris shook her head. “That would be too long. At least, we should go there and check the waves. It might not be so bad,” she suggested. Fay nodded, standing up. The other Saviors did the same.

Before they reached the door, Lucine said, “Oh right, I forgot to mention this. “ She turned to face Willow and Ed, much to both of their confusion, and pointed her umbrella at them, “the two of you should be cautious. Ed, I’m guessing the Eighth would love to get rid of you before you remember anything.” She turned to Willow. “And Willow, your power would be exceptionally useful for the Eighth, so watch your back.” She raised an eyebrow. “Assuming, of course, that you aren’t already the Eighth in disguise.”

Willow flinched and ducked her head.

“You could be lighter with your words,” Fay said. Lucine shrugged.

“I was just telling the truth.”

“Hurry up,” Ivan called. Lucine raised her hands in defeat.

“Fine, fine.”

Ivan rolled his eyes and stepped out the door, the other Saviors following him.

Outside, the storm had reached a crescendo. The stone steps were slick with rain, sinking into the soft earth. Ed was surprised there hadn’t been a landslide yet, given the state of the hill.

The mansion lights meant nothing in this weather, their vision shrouded with wind and fog. Ivan was forced to slow down, the entire group quickly catching up. A couple of times, Ed nearly fell over, but Mortimer was thankfully near him. Fay seemed to be doing the same with Willow, thus ensuring the two’s safety.

In the wind, umbrellas were worthless, with Lucine being the only one using hers. Instead, the Saviors found themself beaten with rain, instantly drenched from the moment they set foot outdoors.

Surrounding them, the forest trees snapped and cracked, bending to the whims of the wind. By the time they reached the shore, they’d witnessed four trees fall.

The waves, they saw, were in no better condition. They crashed against the shore, reaching heights nearly as tall as some of the trees. Miraculously, Ed found that his boat was still fastened to the shore and intact, its expensive creation now serving a usage. Echo was staring at the waters, shaking her head.

“It’s impossible,” she called, stepping back to the others. Ivan squinted, then glanced back at Ed.

“Is that your boat?” he asked. Ed had to shout to be heard.

“We should move it into the mansion,” Iris suggested, “or it might be swept away.”

Fay skid down the hill to the shore, stepping across to the boat. She reached her hand out. Then, just as she was about to touch the canoe, something flashed. In an instant, Fay drew her hand back. Ed blinked, rubbing his eyes.

“What’s wrong?” Echo called. Fay was frowning and gestured for the others to come over. Exchanging glances, the Saviors followed.

Fay pointed to the air. “There’s some sort of barrier,” she said. Echo frowned.

“That’s impossible,” she said, stepping forward. She found herself crashing into an invisible wall, like the air itself had resisted her movement. Her eyes widened and she reached out a hand. Her palm touched a smooth surface. Ivan, too, tapped against the barrier. Fay scratched her head.

“I guess we can’t reach the boat,” she said.

“What is this?” Echo whispered. Bending down, Lucine picked up a rock and threw it. It flew into the ocean with no resistance. She hit the location with her hand. Solid.

“Whatever it is,” she said, “it seems to be only affecting us.”

“You mean… the Eighth did this?” Willow asked, eyes darting about. Echo frowned, then turned to the others.

“Everyone, see if you can get past!” she called. Following her instructions, each Savior stepped forward, attempting to head for the shoreline. All of them found themselves walking into an invisible wall.

Echo even pulled out her blade in an attempt to slice through, but found it unable to do anything.

“We should check the other boats,” Ivan suggested, eyes narrowed. “It might only be here.”

Iris, however, shook her head. “It seems to go past the forest,” she said. She frowned. “I think it covers the entire island.”

Ivan spun towards Lucine. “Can’t you do something about this?” he asked, hitting the wall of air. Lucine stepped forward and placed a palm against the barrier. Closing her eyes, for a second, the air seemed to shift. Then, the barrier lit up, flashing a golden hue before returning to its transparent state. Ed blinked and rubbed his eyes in dismay. During the second the barrier had been visible, it had indeed spanned across the entire island, forming a dome shape.

Lucine shook her head.

“I can’t do anything if there’s no physical object,” she said, knocking against the wall. “Besides, it looks like it’s a side effect of a Savior’s ability, so the rules state I’m unable to do anything to nullify it.”

“A side effect?”

Lucine raised an eyebrow and stepped away from the shore. “In other words, one of us used our ability and this barrier is a result of it.”

“But no power can create barriers,” Echo argued.

“None except yours,” Ivan added, glaring at Lucine. The Savior in question shrugged.

“Think what you want, but I told you, it’s more like a side effect. The user themself might not be aware of its existence, not until now, at least. Or, of course, it could just be the Eighth. That probably makes the most sense,” she added, chuckling.

From around the corner, Fay entered from the woods, making the others jump.

“Fay! Where have you been?” Echo asked, startled.

“I was checking where the barrier went,” Fay explained. Iris frowned.

“We should stick together,” she said. Fay nodded.

“I know, but I needed to make sure.” She shook her head. “From what I can tell, it does seem to span the entire island, including the ceiling, if Lucine’s power was right.”

“Of course it was right,” Lucine said.

Ivan clenched his fist, looking up at the sky, where the rain fell through the wall as though it didn’t exist. He hit it again, his hand throbbing. Once again, a force resisted his presence. Realization flooded him, his anger temporarily dissipating into horror.

“So in other words… we’re trapped?”

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