Amy didn’t appear in the next instant, but it didn’t take too long—maybe five minutes.
When she did appear, she walked through the door with frown on her face that edged close to a snarl and a quick but stiff walk.
Taking in her expression as she walked through the door and took a seat on the stool next to mine, I said, “I hope you didn’t feel like you had to come. This could have waited until tomorrow.”
She took a breath, waited, saying nothing and let it out. “I’m not angry about coming down here at all. I needed to leave—desperately.”
I studied her face. She sighed again. “You know, I’ll just explain it. I’m leaving—not today or tomorrow and maybe not even this year, but I’m going to go home. I’m not staying here forever and when I do go home, I can’t take Vaughn with me.
“I explained it all to him. I’m royalty and even though I’m a twin Bloodmaiden and no one wants me to come back, I have to. My dad told me that if he didn’t send me a message within the next ten years to come back ready for a fight. It’s only been three years and while I know I shouldn’t expect anything, I have to be prepared and I can’t have any ties that will keep me here.”
She looked down at the counter.
It seemed like she’d told me a little about this before. I couldn’t remember the occasion, but it seemed like she had. “I think you’ve got ties and that’s not a bad thing. If you need us to come back with you, we’d want to help. I’m sure no one would be expecting it.”
She laughed. “There’s no doubt you’re right about that, but it would be confusing as all hell. There’s already a version of you back home. Your grandfather’s still alive and so is Vaughn’s. And you went out with Haley there too—except back home she’s part of a pack of werewolves. Vaughn and Cassie are more than friends there and sometimes I think that’s inevitable here too.”
We’d talked about this a few different times since the first time she’d mentioned it. “And there’s a version of me.”
She nodded, red hair falling across her shoulders. “Yes. I’m sure he’s forgotten about me by now.”
I thought about it. “I wouldn’t have—not the way you described it. The building was under attack as he and his grandfather worked to get their starplate going to send you here? You’d have to live an exciting life for that to just blend in with the rest of it.”
She looked up at me. “Don’t get my hopes up. I’m sure he’ll find someone else in ten years. Even if he didn’t and we somehow got together, it would be messy. I’m a princess and he’s from the colonies. The best case scenario is that I stay in the Colonies—which would be politically better in some ways and worse in others… But that assumes my family’s alive and still running the kingdom back home. I can’t assume that. I want to check in before it’s too late for them.”
“We’ve got a transdimensional gate here too. We can send people through and bring them back pretty easily.” I watched for her response.
She shook her head. “The more I try to keep you all out of this mess… Okay, don’t be surprised if I take you up on it. Now let’s talk about your problem.”
From the tiredness of her voice, I doubted that she felt better, but the political situation that had sent her here wouldn’t be solved by the two of us talking about it. On the other hand, if she could use blood magic on the blood I’d found, that might lead me to the answers I needed.
I pulled the glass tube with the blood I’d collected and passed it to her. She held it up in the air, examining the bloody swab inside.
Then she took a breath and mumbled a few words. The blood in the vial glowed. “I can work with this. When I’m done with it, the blood will be useless for scientific analysis, but I can make it glow when you’re close to the woman it came from.”
I felt myself frown. “Is there any chance of finding out more about them now? I’m a little worried that being right next to them and having something on me glow might be a little suspicious—especially if I’m wearing civilian clothes or the stealth suit.”
She shook her head. “Nope. That’s all I can do. The blood is a few hours old now. For finding people from a distance, you need newer blood that has more of a connection to its creator—minutes old, not hours old, and ideally more of it. Plus, it’s better if it’s not dry. You’re lucky that anything will work.”