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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(107) by Anne Bishop
  • Gray helped her to her feet, and the twinges in various muscles changed her mind from taking a fast shower to taking a long, hot bath. The court could wait. The paperwork could wait.

    As she reached for the old pot, Theran said, “I’ll take that one.”

    Several people gave him wary looks, since his voice sounded sharp, but she looked at his eyes and ignored the voice.

    That old pot matters to him. Its history. Its connection. Until the first two leaves break the soil, the pears won’t be valued. But the pot matters to him.

    She stepped back and smiled. “Of course.”

    Theran took the old pot and walked back to the house. One by one the other men picked up a pot and followed him.

    “Do you think there’s anything left in there?” Shira asked as she looked into the chest and made a face.

    “Not likely,” Cassidy replied. “The men can turn it over later just to be sure, but I think we found what we were meant to find.”

    Shira gave her a long, odd look. “Theran’s part of the family wasn’t the only part that had stories handed down.”

    Black Widow.

    This wasn’t idle conversation, but she had the feeling Shira wasn’t willing to share her thoughts right now.

    “I’d better get cleaned up, and get this cleaned up before Gray starts fretting.” She held up her hand.

    Still giving Cassidy an odd look, Shira nodded. “And you’ll come by the healing room so I can take a look at that slice in your finger. Since you must have used Craft to keep it bleeding while you planted those pears, I imagine the wound is clean, but we shouldn’t get careless about such things. Not now.”

    “What’s different about now?” Cassidy asked.

    Shira smiled gently. “I think you’re right. Maybe we have found what we were meant to find.”

    CHAPTER 20


    Welcome, Sister.

    Because you found this message, you have set the spells in motion that eventually will reveal a treasure that will help the people of Dena Nehele restore their land. There are no clues, as such. There is no map to lead you to a specific spot as there is in stories. But there are rules. Break the rules, and you break the spells, and what we have hidden remains hidden.

    The First Rule:Tell no one you found this message. Tell no one you hold the key to finding the treasure.

    The Second Rule: Don’t search for the treasure. Rule the people. Live your life. If you’re meant to find the next piece of the puzzle, you will find it as easily as you found the pot—when the time is right, and not before.

    Thera is a gifted Black Widow and wove her spells extremely well. She cannot tell me for certain that the treasure will be found, only that there will be a time when it might be found—a time when Dena Nehele will need it the most. Since you are reading this, that time is now.

    I wish you luck, Sister.

    Arabella Ardelia, Queen of Dena Nehele

    P.S. Most people call me Lia.

    Cassidy folded the message carefully and vanished it before picking up the small gold key that had been inside the paper when she’d first opened it yesterday.

    Thank the Darkness she hadn’t told anyone about finding the message in the compartment. The possibility of finding the treasure would have ended before it began.

    “I have a message that has to remain a secret, and a gold key that fits an unknown lock,” Cassidy said. “Lia, could you have made it any harder?”

    The search wasn’t meant to be hard, because she wasn’t meant to search.

    Rule the people. Live your life.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire