Fable Page 14

Mina flinched, but he reached past her into the opened locker to withdraw a single expensive sandal that she recognized as belonging to Savannah. As soon as his hand touched the sandal, it immediately turned to gold. He smiled crookedly when he saw her eyes widen, and dropped the sandal into her hands. Mina immediately tossed the shoe back into the locker.

“The Midas touch?” she asked.

He frowned at her. “No, more like the family trait. So you see, you can be rich beyond your wildest dreams. Rich enough to impress your young human and maybe even steal him back from your best friend.”

“How do you know about that? How could you possibly—”

“I make it my business to know these things. So, what do you say? Procure the item for me, and I’ll make you rich.”

Mina looked at the gold sandal and bat, and back at the man. Every inch of her knew better than to make a deal with the Fae, no matter what the cost.

“No, there’s no amount of money in the world that would make me enter into a bargain with you.” She tried to step around him, but he held out his arm, blocking her.

“Wait! Everyone has their price, and no one says no to me.” He frowned at her.

“Well, I just did say no.”

“That’s only because you haven’t heard my other offer.” Temple took off his hat and brushed imaginary dust off it.

“It wouldn’t matter, because the answer is still no. You have nothing I want,” Mina said.

“Ah, and that’s where I beg to differ. I do have something you want. I make sure to always have something someone wants.” He placed the hat back on his head.

“Are you deaf? Because I just said no.” She placed her hands on her hips and raised her chin.

“What about your brother Charlie? Such a quiet boy, but charming all the same. He misses you, I can tell.”

Mina came alive with anger. “What do you mean, Charlie? He died in the fire!”

“Come now, you can’t really believe that!” He touched his hat and fingered the golden feather. “I sent my servant to retrieve the boy for me and destroy your home. Now he is mine. I will trade him to you for the item I want you to procure, and nothing more. His life for my item. It’s fair—what do you say?”

Mina stared at Temple in horror. “You did this? You planned this from the beginning, stealing my brother to make sure I couldn’t say no! What kind of monster are you? It’s been weeks. Why now? You could be lying. Why didn’t you come to me that night?”

“Because you’ve been surrounded by Fae. What’s a few weeks in the life of an eternal Fae? I’m patient. I’ve been waiting for hundreds of years—what’s a few mere weeks? But if you fail, Charlie is mine forever.”

Tears of relief started to trail down Mina’s cheeks. “What is it I have to do?”

“A favor, one itsy-bitsy, teeny-weenie favor. A piece of cake for a Grimm.” His smile was so sweet it was sickening.

“What is it?” Mina said, her heart dropping into her stomach, since she already had an idea.

“You have a wonderful book. The Grimoire—its power is unmatched…except for one other book. Its twin. I want that book.”

“Impossible,” she blurted out quickly.

Temple’s expression started to get angry, but then he was able to calm himself down. “Unfortunately, I know you are wrong. My plans are always...perfect.”

“How do you expect me…? How could I possibly…?” She couldn’t finish; she knew nothing about the Fae world or how to cross into it. It was a hopeless quest.

But weren’t all quests hopeless at one time or another? If her ancestors hundreds of years ago figured out how to cross over, then how much harder could it possibly be now, in the twenty-first century?

“I don’t know how to go about it. I don’t know how to cross over,” Mina said.

“Ah, where’s the fun in that? Besides, I’m confident you’ll figure it out. I find that those with the most to lose tend to be the most motivated. So are we in agreement?”

“I have no choice,” Mina mumbled. “I have to try to save Charlie.”

Temple bent down and picked up a bobby pin, and motioned for her to hold her finger up in the air. She did so, and he pricked her finger, drawing blood. As her blood soaked the bobby pin’s edge, it began to turn gold. He smiled and opened his jacket, revealing an array of pockets and containers with various gold objects, each with a small bloodstain on them, evidence of other bargains and transactions he’d made. She could see a pencil, a knife, a large spindle, and her heart stopped cold.

“Lest you not know what you have done. You’ve made a deal that cannot be undone.” He patted his jacket happily.

“Who are you?” she asked in dread, knowing deep down who she’d just made a bargain with, but needing to know if she was right.

“I told you my name is Temple.”

“No, what’s your full name?”

“Ah, that. Well, I’m not as famous as the rest of my family, and I’ve sort of inherited the family gift. But I would think you know all about that, taking on the family business and all. So I think you know what I am.”

She knew—his words confirmed it. Taking of a child, items of gold, bargains. “You’re a Stiltskin, aren’t you?”

Temple smiled widely, revealing gold molars, removed his hat, and bowed. “Templestiltskin at your service, and by the way…I would figure out a way to cross over sooner than later. Your kind aren’t meant to survive on the Fae plane. Something happens to them. They change, and not for the better. So I would get crackin’, because according to my watch, you’re already two weeks behind. And I want the dark prince’s book.”

Temple laughed, and disappeared as abruptly as he’d materialized.

Mina stared at the single drop of blood still on her finger, a painful reminder of the bargain she’d just made with a Stiltskin.

In seconds, the room was back to normal, the haze gone as the double doors leading outside burst open and girls filed in, grumbling and complaining. Mina took the gold sandal on the floor, and kicked it into the locker and slammed the door while moving over to her own locker. Hurriedly she changed, not even bothering to fix her hair or get out of her shoes. Tears of relief poured out of the corners of her eyes, and she turned to rush out of the locker room, but not before she heard a loud shriek from Savannah White.

“What in the blazes happened to my Louis Vuitton sandal?”

Chapter 9

Her mind was numb, her heart beating uncontrollably, but somehow she made it out of the locker room and stumbled in a stupor into the hallway. She let her panic rise to the surface, and she called Jared. He appeared within seconds, took one look at her face, and grasped her arms as she almost collapsed.

“He’s alive!” Mina rushed out after the shock had worn off.

“Who is?”

“My brother. That man, the one who’s been following me, came here to the school. He told me he kidnapped my brother, and he’s alive—on the Fae plane. All I have to do is cross over to the Fae plane and trade an item for him. Jared, I have to get him back.” Her hands gripped Jared’s jacket, and he very carefully separated her fingers from the jacket.

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