Linus had very nearly gotten trampled by a maid carrying stacks of silken sheets, and Id pulled him out of the way in the nick of time. The upcoming party had turned the normally sedate palace into bedlam.
The packet of pages behind that had all kinds of information about her biological family, in hopes that it would shed some light on what she might be like, as well as information about her host family, to make it easier to find her.I barely glanced through the packet, though, because I already knew a great deal about her family. Her mother—Elsa Costar—was Dylan Berlings sister, making her Linuss aunt and a cousin to the King. If something were to happen to Linus, when Emma returned from Calgary in a few years according to the original schedule, she would be next in line for the throne. Charlotte Salin—the changeling Ember had just rescued—was only next because she had come of age, and Emma Costar hadnt yet returned to Doldastam.
We kept very rough tabs on changelings while they were gone, since in general the Kanin liked to interact with humans as little as possible. That meant that, rarely, changelings would move or go missing, and we couldnt find them. On other tragic occasions, the changelings died while in the care of their host families, usually due to accident or illness.The horrible truth was that we had no real way of knowing what was happening to changelings when they were with their host families. Most of the time it was nothing notable—their host parents generally loved and raised them like their own. But right now, when Konstantin Black was on the loose and going after changelings, it was a little scary not knowing where exactly Emma Costar was or if she was safe.Anything good there? Ridley asked.
He sat low in the chair next to me, one of his legs crossed over the other, making his knee bump into mine every time he shifted. His head rested back against the seat, and his eyes were barely open, hooded in dark lashes so I wasnt sure if he even saw anything at all. In his hand he had a small lock of Emmas hair, taken from her when she was a baby and tied with a thin pink ribbon.Just the usual stuff, I said with a sigh and tried not to stare at Emmas hair as he twirled it between his fingers.
The Costars hadnt taken Emmas hair in a gesture of affection. It was a tool, an aid in helping trackers find her later. By touching something personal, most trackers had the ability to imprint on a changeling. Ridley couldnt read her mind, but hed be able to feel if she was terrified or in pain—extreme emotions that meant that she was in trouble and needed our help.
This also turned the changeling into kind of a tracking beacon. If Ridley focused on her, wed be able to find her. I wasnt sure exactly how it worked, but Ember had explained it as feeling a pull inside of you, like a tug from an invisible electrical current warming you from within and telling you which way to go, and the closer you got to the changeling, the stronger the feeling would get.Hey, what are you doing? he asked.
Id been reaching back to grab my duffel bag, but his bag was sitting beside mine, unzipped, and a flash of metal caught my eyes. Resting right on top of the clothes were two daggers, and I reached in and picked one up.What do you have these for? I narrowed my eyes at him and held up the dagger for him to see. These are the Kanin daggers you were given when you became the Queens guard.
It had been a large ceremony in the palace. Id been standing as near to the front as I could get, on my tiptoes to get a glimpse of it. They were beautiful daggers, with long sharp blades and ornately carved handles of silver and ivory.Theyre for protection, he replied gruffly. And theyre the only things I still have from being a Högdragen, so Id like it if you stopped playing with them and put them back.