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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 44)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(44) by Anne Bishop
  • Faced with her hurt and bewilderment, he was tempted to blunt the truth, but decided to give her the courtesy of honesty. "Because you're the reason Jaenelle didn't leave Chaillot soon enough."

    Her swift change from frightened to fierce startled him, and he realized it shouldn't have. He should have looked for the common ground between her and Jaenelle instead of letting the past cloud his judgment.

    "You know where to find her, don't you?Don't you?"

    She looked like she was about to shake the answer out of him. Intrigued by the change in her, he wondered if she would actually try.

    "Not at the moment," he said mildly. "But she'll be home soon."

    "Home?" Her fierceness changed back to bewilderment and then thoughtfulness as she looked around the study. "Home?"

    "I'm her adopted father." When she didn't react to that, he added, "Lucivar is her brother."

    She jumped as if he'd jabbed her with a pin. Her blue eyes were filled with something close to horror as she stared at him. "Brother?"

    "Brother. If it's any comfort to you, while you're both related to the same woman, you're not related to each other."

    Her relief was so blatant he almost laughed.

    "Does she like him?" Wilhelmina asked in a small voice. He couldn't help it. He did laugh. "Most of the time." Then he studied her. "Is that why you came to Kaeleer? To find Jaenelle?"

    She nodded. "Everyone else said she had died, that Prince Sadi had killed her, but I knew it wasn't true. He never would have hurt Jaenelle. I thought she had gone to live with one of her secret friends or with her teacher." She looked at him as if she were trying to measure what she saw against something she knew. "It was you, wasn't it? She came toyou for lessons."

    "Yes." He waited. "What made you think of Kaeleer?"

    "She told me. After." Wilhelmina brushed a finger against her Sapphire Jewel. "When Prince Sadi unleashed his Black Jewels to escape the Hayllians who had come for him, I heard Jaenelle yelling 'ride it, ride it.' So I did. When it was over, I was wearing a Sapphire Jewel. Everyone was upset about that because they thought I had somehow made the Offering to the Darkness. But it wasn't my Jewel. It was Jaenelle's. I couldn't actually use it, but it protected me. Sometimes, when I was scared or didn't know what to do, it always gave the same answer: Kaeleer. I left home because Bobby—" She pressed her lips together and took a couple of deep breaths. "I left home. As soon as I was twenty, I made the Offering. I got this Jewel. The other one disappeared."

    "And you've spent these past years trying to find a way here?"

    She hesitated. "I wasn't ready for a long time. Then, one day, I started wondering if I wouldever be ready. So I came anyway."

    Which meant this woman had more courage than was readily apparent.

    "Tell me something, Wilhelmina," Saetan said gently. "If, thirteen years ago, Jaenelle had decided to leave Chaillot and had asked you to go with her, would you have?"

    It took her a long time to answer. Finally, reluctantly, she said, "I don't know." She looked around the room, sadness in her eyes. "Jaenelle belongs here. I don't."

    "You're Jaenelle's sister and a Sapphire-Jeweled witch. Don't judge too quickly."And I, too, will try not to judge too quickly. "Besides, you would have had a different opinion of this place if you'd been here while ten adolescent witches were in residence," he added in a deliberately mournful voice.

    Her eyes widened. "You mean "the Queens who are here?"


    "Oh, dear."

    "That's one way of putting it."

    She ducked her head as she stifled a laugh. When she dared to look at him again, he could tell she was thinking hard, reassessing the Hall and the people who resided here.

    "I still don't have anything to do," she said hesitantly.

    The almost-hopeful expectation in her eyes made him realize she had taken a long step toward accepting him as the family patriarch—and expecting him to fulfill the duties of that position.

    "Lucivar didn't sayanything ?"he asked, fully aware that the only reason Lucivar had brought her there was to keep her away from anyone who might try to use her relationship to Jaenelle.

    For the first time, a bit of temper flashed in her eyes.

    "He told me to try not to faint because it will upset the males if I do."

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