RELEASE DATE: MAY 2, 2017
“Soon. I can feel them coming. I have to change, then I’ll go out in the back yard and meet the Hunt there.” I glanced over at Hanna. She and I had grown close during my imprisonment, and she understood what I went through better than anybody except Menolly. Hanna had seen me at my lowest, she had bathed my wounds and taken care of me after Hyto was spent.
Another glance at the time told me that Menolly would be up in about ten minutes. I’d have time to say hello before heading off with the Hunt.
“Hanna…” I wasn’t sure how to put the question I was about to ask her.
“You wish to ask me something?” Hanna cleared away a basket of sewing from the spot next to me and sat down at the table.
I caught up my breath. “Yes, but I’m not sure what you’ll think. When I move out to the Barrow, I’ll need a personal maid. A lady’s maid. And I thought that if you’re interested…” I drifted off, almost afraid of what the answer would be.
Hanna rested her hand on my wrist. “Camille, when we first met, I was willing to let you die because it would save me and my son. Then, I saw your strength. And I realized what I had become thanks to Hyto. I had to make a choice, and I did. As much as it hurt, I made the right choice. And then you asked me to return here with you, and that, too, was the correct choice. I have a home and I’m needed. And now you offer me yet another choice.”
“You’re going to say no, aren’t you?” It was hard to hide my disappointment, even though I had anticipated her answer.
Her eyes welled up. “Oh, if there were only two of me. But you know that Maggie will need me. Delilah will need me. You are going off to become a queen where there will be more than enough people to serve you. You will find the right woman to step up and guard over you from behind the scenes. But Delilah and Maggie, and Shade—and even Rozurial. They will need me here. And I want to be needed. I could easily be replaced out at the Barrow. But here? I make a difference. I hope you understand.”
I rested my other hand on top of hers. “I understand. I truly do. I won’t ask you again, because I won’t put you through having to make the choice once again. But please, know that I am grateful you’ll be here to care for my sister and for Maggie. I think I’m going to miss her most of all.”
“Then let me bring her out. Play with her till you have to run with the Hunt tonight.”
I nodded, going back to my soup. Hanna brought out Maggie just as Menolly appeared. Nerissa was working late, so we sat in the kitchen and talked and played with Delilah and Maggie, who was toddling around like a pro by now, and the hours till midnight—the Witching Hour—ticked away silently.