The Amulet Saga, Volume Three
The Silver Shores
What Came Before:
Ada lit the lamps, then snuffed out the candle and sighed. This failure was more frustrating than she liked to admit.
“Nothing?” Manae asked.
“No more than before. A thick darkness surrounds him, a barrier I cannot See beyond.”
“I’ve heard the Silver Shores are home to powerful sorcerers.”
Ada stood slowly and stretched. Using magic seemed to wear down her energy more than usual lately. She carefully replaced the ingredients on her shelves. “You heard that from me.”
Manae handed Ada more of the bottles and jars from the table. “Then you know my sources are accurate. What do we do now?”
“Nothing,” Ada said.
“We can’t do nothing. He’s a prince. We have to rescue him.”
“There is nothing we can do. He is a captive in a land we cannot reach, protected by magic we do not understand. And even if I thought there was a chance, I could not leave. My place is here, with the crown prince.”
Manae’s jaw hardened. “You would stay in peace and luxury with one brother while the other may be dying.”
Ada placed a pale, gnarled hand over Manae’s smooth, dark one. “My dear, I do not expect you to understand fully, bu7t I cannot leave. The magic that sustains me is bound to this place. I do not know what would happen if I left, but I would be powerless—perhaps even dead—if I tried.”
Manae’s dark eyes narrowed, no longer in anger, but in thought. “Then send me.”
Ada tamped down her frustration. Manae was a good apprentice, passionate and smart, but she was also headstrong and stubborn. “I’m sorry, Manae, but you are not nearly strong enough. Your training has only just begun. Even I have no knowledge of the magic used on the Silver Shores. I could not dream of sending you into what would likely be your imminent death.”
Even as she said the words, Ada knew they were useless. Manae would not listen. The man she loved was held captive, and no amount of persuasion would convince her to let that go. She would rescue her betrothed or die in the attempt.
“Ada, please. I must do this. You know it as well as I.”
Ada shook her head. “I cannot allow it, much less condone it.”
Manae leaned on the workbench, blocking Ada’s path. She grinned, her teeth a brilliant white against the deep brown of her skin, a dimple carved into her smooth cheek. “Ada. You already know I’m going. If you’re not going to help me, I’ll leave immediately and take my chances. Or, you could train me as much as possible before I go.”
Ada sighed. “How long will you stay you stay if I agree to train you?”
“Every day makes the chances of finding him that much slimmer. Two weeks is all I can bear to linger.”
Ada snorted. “I could not teach you half of what you would need to know in two years.”
“Impossible, and you know it.”
Ada frowned. “In two months I might be able to give you the barest knowledge of the many aspects of magic.”
“One month,” Manae said.
“It’s not long enough.”
“And yet it is too long. I leave in a month. I will learn as much as you will teach me in that time.”
Ada exhaled. If she were honest, it was longer than she’d thought Manae would agree to. “Very well. You will come at dawn, every day, and stay until I decide you’ve learned enough.”
Manae kissed Ada on the cheek. “Then I’d better get some rest. I’ll see you in the morning.”
She dashed out of Ada’s chamber, her footsteps echoing on the stone steps. Ada turned to her workbench and pulled out a quill and parchment and made a list. If she was going to give Manae any chance at all to rescue Prince Reith, she had a lot of work to do, not the least of which was giving Manae a modicum of competence in magic use.