The precarious situation that my stepsister crafted had taken a complicated turn. She had circumvented history to serve her own purposes. Woefully, I suspected her efforts would only worsen.
Arabella and I had never been close. She would have stooped to whatever level possible to get what she wanted. It was probably why she had sent my stepbrother—most likely a lie—to find me. Otherwise, his sudden arrival upon my doorstep did not make a lick of sense. Although Lance possessed unquestionable book knowledge, he wasn’t the type to inquire about anything hinting at magick. So his queries about my whereabouts outside of our time period spoke of Arabella planting thoughts in his fair head.
If perchance my sister was not involved, I had to ponder how Lance so easily found me. After all, Crowley was large enough where I should have been able to simply fade into the background. It was why I stayed in the squalid room. A twist of a spell and I could have found much more refined quarters. However, if I were someone who partook of betting, once again, I would place my wager on Arabella. Lance simply did not possess enough intelligence to stumble upon me.
Shortly after my brother’s departure, while I was speculating upon his intentions, Merritt arrived.
The nymph barreled into my room and slammed the door behind her. “Someone has been in here besides ya. Who was it?”
“Why would you surmise that?”
She claimed to be worried about me. Not once, however, did she ask about my well-being. Rather she launched into more questions as she began pacing back and forth.
A rousing game of twenty questions was not on my agenda that day. So I informed Merritt of Lance’s visit.
The wood nymph glanced at me. “Ya certain he asked about ya latest travels?”
“I am.” Leaning against the papered wall, I asked, “Why do you suppose he wanted to know?”
She wet her lips and then swallowed hard. “There is a device called a pocket finder. Have ya heard of it?”
“I can’t say that I have.”
Merritt rested a finger against her cheek. “Supposedly, it helps a person to identify magick trails.”
I considered myself a learned young man, but there were some things that were difficult for me to fathom. “Begging your pardon, but I’m not following.”
“Let’s say that I wanted to find ya, but I hadn’t a clue where to look.” Merritt waved her hand, and suddenly she held something that looked like a diminutive divining rod with a tiny glass pocket watch attached to it. “Whene’er someone jumps from time period to time period, a person leaves traces—little snippets from the spot they departed to where’er they land. Ordinarily, those magickal paths can’t be determined. A pocket finder makes it much easier. Think of it like creating a map leading to buried treasure.”
“May I see that?”
When I reached for the object, Merritt rubbed her hands together, and the device disappeared. “It was only a mirage—meant to be seen and not touched.” She folded her arms over her chest and stared at me. “It is my speculation that Arabella and Lance have access to such a device.”
I plopped down on my bed, and the rickety mattress springs creaked. Reality dawned on me and it wasn’t kind. “Then my siblings know where I’ve been. When I returned to this period, I came through the magickal stream to this room.”
“’Tis not good,” Merritt said almost to herself. “Trevor, ya must go back and find Arabella and Lance.”
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