The Betrothed

Page 55

“Hollis . . .” she began gently, her conviction seeming to waver.

“I cannot go back,” I vowed. “And if you won’t let me in your carriage, then I’ll be forced to follow you on this rather impressive horse. I’m afraid you’ll find me quite persistent.”

She looked over at Scarlet, who, for the first time in weeks, smiled.

“It seems you are decided.”

“I am.”

“Then into the carriage with you. Sir, could you tie this horse to the back? I’m sure Lady Hollis will want her with us.”

“You cannot let her in that carriage!” Etan insisted. “She can’t come with us.”

“I don’t take orders from you, sir. I’m following my family. And as we know, nothing is more honorable than to give your life to your family.” I gave him a determined stare, and he sighed, trotting to the front of the carriage while Madge was tied up to the back. I removed her bags to pull inside with me, and only calmed once we were moving.

“That’s not very much,” Scarlet pointed out.

“Only half of it’s clothes,” I informed her, pulling out a handful of gold.

“Is that your money from the king?” Lady Eastoffe asked quietly, as if anyone would hear over the wheels.

“Not all of it. But I figured we might need some. For basic needs. Or bribes. Or to renovate Varinger Hall if I’m forced to go back.”

She laughed. “Silas always liked that about you. Your determination. But let me remind you, this won’t be easy. I have no certainty of what’s waiting for us in Isolte.”

I took in the solemn looks on her and Scarlet’s faces, and I watched the rigid figure of Etan outside the window. I knew I was walking into the unknown, possibly even death. But the tugging feeling in my heart was calmed, so I knew it was better to walk into that than back into everything I already knew.

“Don’t worry, Mother,” I assured her. “I’m not afraid.”


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