Trial of Magic (The Fairy Tale Enchantress #4) - K. M. Shea Page 0,2
King Themerysaldi was no Evariste. He had the ornery temperament of a donkey and lacked the usual social sense and polite manners of his kinsmen. But if he was freed of his curse, he’d be able to find Evariste. He was the king of the elves—one of the most powerful beings on the continent!
So even though she was—hopefully—just a few weeks short of seeing him to request his help and to look into his curse, Angelique wanted to try one last time to establish contact with the elves.
She kicked a rock down the road and flipped her hood up to cover her hair, mindful that her magic-sparked looks were almost as eye-catching as her dress.
She could have put on a cloaking spell to ensure she didn’t catch anyone’s eye, but somehow that felt like cheating. Enchantresses—and enchanters—were supposed to help those in need.
It was just that Angelique had encountered so many in need, she was two reeds shy of becoming a basket case.
She had altered Prince Severin’s curse (which had given him the body and mind of a beast), fought a witch named Clotilde in the country of Arcainia, encountered a nightmare and its rider when it had tracked the craftmage Rumpelstiltskin (her close friend whom she and Evariste had found as a child and taken to the Luxi-Domus to be schooled in the ways of his magic), faced down the mad King Torgen over Verglas, and more.
Most recently—besides fighting the black mage—she’d been involved in a massive fight against a rogue mage named Carabosso who’d been threatening Princess Rosalinda of Sole.
He’d been captured, which was the one bright spot in all of this, as it was very likely Carabosso (who was a member of the Chosen) knew where Evariste was.
She kept walking down the dirt road, and just when she was contemplating turning off, the ground erupted in front of her.
Angelique leaped into the grassy ditch beside the road, her silver magic gathering at her fingertips as she formed a spell.
A green plant popped out of the ground. It swayed in the breeze before budding a paper flower.
The paper flower fell off the plant stalk, which promptly withered and died.
Angelique scooped the flower up, wrinkles spreading across her forehead. She recognized this magical method of message delivery. It was one of the most secure ways—the message trundled along underground until it found the person it was meant for—but it wasn’t used often because it required an exorbitant amount of magic to craft.
What could be so important that it required absolute secrecy?
Angelique reluctantly unfolded the folder, revealing a slanted script she recognized as belonging to Clovicus—Evariste’s former teacher, who frequently helped Angelique and acted as a liaison for her at the Veneno Conclave.
She tugged at the corners of the paper, straightening the creases as best she could.
Terrible news—Carabosso escaped.
Angelique felt as though her heart stopped beating, and her fingers turned so numb she almost dropped the letter.
A quick scan of the paper revealed the full story.
Carabosso had escaped custody of the Veneno Conclave mages charged with transporting him to the Veneno Conclave fortress when they were two days from the stronghold. Somehow, he’d undone the spells binding him and overpowered the war mage on watch duty before escaping into the night.
Angelique read it three times before the full meaning sank in.
Carabosso had escaped…before the Veneno Conclave had the chance to question him on Evariste’s whereabouts.
He was free and running around, again. And they had lost their only lead on Evariste and his kidnappers.
Angelique’s legs gave out, unable to hold her up in the fact of this bleak news. She fell face-first into the dusty, half-dead grass that was generously covered with leaves.
Five years. Evariste had been captured for over five years. She’d thought this time they’d finally uncover his location!
Angelique closed her eyes and dug her fingers into the dying grass as all her anguish pushed down on her back like a troll, and this new failure threatened to rip her apart from within.
I should have gone with the mages transporting Carabosso. No matter how nervous I make Blanche or how much Rein dislikes me, I should have gone.
Dimly, Angelique was aware that the Sole Royal family was going to be furious—the mages had taken custody of Carabosso in order to make up for their negligence and failure to help Sole earlier.
But she didn’t care.
It was too much. She’d gone through too much and had half-killed herself in the process of desperately trying to hold the continent together while the