Fable Page 47

Her feet were filled with lead, and she kept stumbling and tripping as they ran through the rubble. Charlie stopped by a still form and knelt down. Nix was still breathing! Mina grabbed his hands and felt a gentle squeeze back from Nix. His face was now almost unrecognizable from the swelling, and she could see he had almost stopped breathing.

“You are the bravest nixie ever. Thank you for choosing to not give in to your curse,” Mina whispered.

Nix could no longer speak, but he blinked back in response. A huge tear slid down his face.

Charlie handed Mina the seam ripper, and she didn’t hesitate for one second. She pressed the gem on the end, and a pop and crackle emanated from the tip. Mina quickly mimicked Ever and drew a large circle in the air. The seam ripper continued to pop and ripple as it cut through the planes, creating a door. The door wavered and then turned lucid. She could see something on the other side, and it looked like her world.

“Charlie, you go first!” she commanded, but he was nowhere near the portal. Instead, her silent brother was holding onto Nix’s arm and trying to drag him toward the opening. “Charlie, we can’t help him.”

The little nine-year-old boy put his hands on his hips and glared at her. She knew that look, knew that Charlie wouldn’t budge without bringing Nix along.

“Okay, fine.” Mina could see that the gate was slowly closing, and she couldn’t waste any more time. She leaned down and put Nix’s arm over her shoulder, and half dragged, half carried him toward the portal. Once Charlie had seen that he had gotten his way, he happily jumped through the gate into their world.

Mina couldn’t help it. She turned to look at the Fae world one last time. A battle had ensued between Jared/Teague and the guards. Being a Royal meant that they were both shifters, and now that the two were one, he was an even stronger and more ruthless fighter. She heard a scream and a sword flew past her face, and she knew then she needed to leave.

She took a deep breath and dipped down to get better grip on Nix. She heard him whisper in awe as he looked at the gate, “Is this Heaven?”

“No, but it’s as close as we get,” Mina answered before jumping through the gate.

Chapter 28

She awoke back in the biology lab. Something wet was pressed against her face, and she sat up abruptly to wipe it away. She had been drooling. Soft whispers and giggles erupted around her, and Mina sat back in the chair and stared at everyone in confusion.

She was sitting at an empty lab table at the back of the room, and the rest of the class seemed to be in the middle of a lab experiment.

A familiar face popped in front of her, and Melissa smiled sweetly before whispering loudly, “So are you thinking of retaking biology? I hear it can get pretty gross.” She had sneaked over to Mina’s empty table. Her friends were looking at Mina and waving. They were the source of the giggles. “I didn’t even know you were here. One minute this table is empty. The next, you’re here. Are you, like, related to Houdini?”

“No, where am I?” Mina asked worriedly. She spun around in her chair and then hopped off to look underneath the lab table for Charlie.

“Um, last period,” Melissa answered, and ducked under the lab table with Mina.

Luckily, most of the class seemed preoccupied with working, and the teacher didn’t notice the sudden appearance of an extra upperclassman student in their class.

“Well, what day is today?” Mina felt completely at a loss. What had happened? Where was Charlie? Where was Nix?

Melissa frowned and then gently touched Mina’s head. “You don’t look so good. Maybe you should head out to see the nurse. I’d use the back door, since you don’t want to get detention. I’m pretty sure I can cause a distraction, and you can slip out.”

“Can you?” Mina asked, relieved.

“No problem.” Melissa popped up from under the lab table and walked right over to her jar with a very live frog in it, and dumped it out the open window. She winked at Mina and whispered, “I’ve been looking for a way to get out of this dissection.” She turned to her friends, who Mina recognized earlier from choir, and the other girls followed suit. Three more frogs made a flight to freedom.

“Mr. Pierson! Our frogs have escaped,” Melissa said with a very worried expression. “I don’t know what happened—we turned our backs, and then they were gone.”

“Now, girls, frogs just don’t walk off on their own.” Mr. Pierson frowned at them and pulled out a key from his pocket, then walked over to the large glass cabinet and unlocked it, looking for another specimen for the girls.

“You’re right. Frogs don’t walk off, they hop off,” Melissa answered innocently.

The whole class erupted into fits of laughter, and Mina used the distraction to slip out the back lab door into the empty hall.

She clutched her head in wonder and tried to make sense of what had happened. Where’s Charlie? Where’s my brother? She began to walk the school halls on tiptoes, calling out her brother’s name. Maybe he appeared in a different classroom, and now he’s scared and hiding.

Room by room she went, storage closet by storage closet. She searched the gym, the locker room, the library, and finally she gave up and sat down in defeat by her locker. She was a terrible Grimm; she had lost her brother again, lost her good friend Nix, who she was sure didn’t survive the trip here, and Jared was lost to her. Nothing was easy, and she had a zillion more questions to answer. The final bell rang, and Mina ignored the students coming and going, grabbing their backpacks and leaving for the day. She didn’t care. She wasn’t going anywhere until she had found her brother.

A pair of white flat shoes stopped by her and gave her leg a little nudge. Mina looked up into Nan’s worried face.

“What’s wrong? Are you feeling okay?” Nan leaned down and touched Mina’s knee gently. “Do we need to cancel the movie tonight?”

“I’m not in the mood to see a movie,” Mina whispered, and tried to ignore her best friend’s attempts at conversation.

Nan turned and sat down on the floor next to Mina. “Well, if you don’t want to go, I can just take Charlie. He’s been dying to see that new movie called Fable for weeks now, and I know you didn’t really want to see that one anyway. I’m not even sure why, because it’s been getting such great reviews.”

Mina’s head snapped in Nan’s direction. “What did you just say?”

“I said that Fable has been getting great reviews, and just because you’re a sucky sister doesn’t mean that I can’t be a cool best friend and take our little brother to see it.” Nan poked Mina in the arm.

“And how long has Charlie been wanting to see it?” Mina’s voice quivered in disbelief.

“For-ev-er!” Nan dragged out. “Just last night at your house, he drew me a whole made-up comic strip about it, with a snake, a cute green guy, and a giant. He said I have to take him. Well, okay, he didn’t actually say I had to take him, but he wrote me a note.” She pulled out the paper, and, sure enough, Mina recognized Charlie’s scribbles.

Mina lunged sideways and hugged Nan around the neck. “You are awesome as always.”

“I know. I know. And one day, you will grow up and become awesome, too. Maybe even as awesome as me,” Nan teased, before getting up and putting her backpack on her shoulder. “So, see you at seven, then?”

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