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I attempted to bring some order to my frenzied mind, but being about two feet away from Jeramiah as he continued hurtling forward wasn’t helping. His presence was only aggravating me further and making it more difficult to think clearly. I hung back and let him continue without me. It wasn’t like I could do anything by following him anyway.

I had heard and seen enough. Now I had to rack my brain as to what I could possibly do. I kept moving forward, though at a slower pace as I tried to clear my mind of panic and make way for logic. But my thoughts were frozen on where Jeramiah and Amaya were right now and what they might be doing. Could Amaya have delivered the note already?

Then, as I passed by the Great Dome, a light switched on and blasted through my foggy mind.

I recalled what Jeramiah had tried to do in there less than an hour ago, before my parents and their council had caused an interruption. He had asked the witch to put him into a dreamful slumber, and he had been convinced that, if Lucas still roamed the earth as a ghost, he would be able to sense his presence.

A dreamful slumber. My cousin’s request played over in my head.

Thanks to my encounter with Ernest back in The Tavern, I already knew that ghosts could intercept others’ dreams. They could peer into the living’s bubbles of sleep as though they were peering through a window… But could that really be a two-way window? Was it really possible for a living, breathing person to communicate with a ghost via a dream? It seemed unbelievable but, as I reminded myself with a grimace, I wasn’t exactly a stranger to fantastical occurrences. Besides, I didn’t know how else Jeramiah had been expecting to be aware of Lucas’s presence.

But now, I didn’t have time for doubts. Time was slipping through my fingers like sand. For all I knew, Amaya could have finished her first task already and be on her way back to the boundary of the island, where Jeramiah would be waiting…

This was the only glimmer of hope I had and, as faint as it was, in my present state, trying was the only thing that I could do.

Chapter 18: Jeramiah

I’d only made it halfway to the beach when I was met with an unexpected, though by no means unwelcome, surprise. I came across Amaya in the woods.

“That was fast,” I remarked, half delighted and half confused. “Why have you removed your invisibility?” I was still invisible and, if I hadn’t noticed her, we would have missed each other. “And how did you get back inside the boundary without me?”

Amaya shook her head. “No,” she breathed. “I haven’t even made it out of this island yet. The Shade’s witches have put up an extra boundary, barricading land from the ocean. I cannot even reach the waves. They must have done it as a response to the merfolk infestation. I tried to break through it, but I’m simply not strong enough. It’s the combined effort of at least half a dozen witches. I lifted my invisibility spell hoping that I would come across you on my way back.”

I cursed beneath my breath. Amaya hadn’t been able to break through the outer boundary of the island either. Hence we had waited for Benjamin’s submarine to come along in order to gain initial access to the island.

I should have considered the possibility that they would put up a second boundary. Although it had been a thrill to infest their beautiful waters with the vile sea creatures— something that hadn’t been difficult to do with Amaya’s beckoning potion and our ability to pull them inside—now it was working against me.

I reached up to my hair and raked my fingers through it. “Let’s think,” I said, breathing out slowly. “There must be a way around this.”

Amaya held her breath.

“There has to be someone on this island who has permission to pass in and out,” I mused. “And if anyone has that permission, who else would it be but the rulers—Derek and Sofia Novak?”

“I agree they’d be the obvious choice,” Amaya replied, tight-lipped.

“So,” I went on, “only a slight change of course is in order… Our targets must be captured sooner than we had planned.”

Chapter 19: Ben

A dream. I had to intercept a dream. It could be anyone’s dream. I was too desperate to care. But who might be dreaming at this time of day? There had to be someone in The Shade taking an afternoon nap.

I left the Great Dome and headed toward the Residences. Though, after Kailyn’s death and the fires that had shaken the island overnight, I was doubtful that any supernaturals would be sleeping. Still, it felt like the logical place to start. But as I arrived at the courtyard outside the Sanctuary where the funeral had taken place—now cleared of people, though still flooded with flowers—I stopped short.

The Sanctuary. That was where my aunt had been resting. My now human aunt, who had just recently given birth. If anyone was likely to be taking an afternoon nap right now on this island, it would be her. Plus, she also had psychic abilities. Maybe that would make it easier for me to get through to her. I changed course abruptly and ran headfirst through the door of the witch’s temple.

I hurried to the room where I had found Vivienne resting with her baby, but as I arrived outside, my heart already sank in disappointment. Two voices emanated from the bedroom—Vivienne’s, and that of my uncle. I pushed my head through the door all the same, to verify that yes, she was awake, sitting upright on the bed and feeding her beautiful baby, while Xavier sat by her side and they talked in hushed tones.

Dammit.

Still, although she wasn’t sleeping, Vivienne was prone to prophetic visions even when awake… Perhaps, just perhaps, she might sense me… I moved further into the room and spoke her name, walked up to her bed and tried to touch her arm; anything to get her attention. But she didn’t respond in the slightest.

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