The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2)

The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2) by Heidi Willard Page B

Book: The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2) by Heidi Willard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heidi Willard
Ned," he replied.
    Lady Martley smirked and leaned down. Her breasts swayed in her loose-fitting dress, and he watched them swing back and forth like a child watches the swinging of a swing in a breeze. "You are a terrible liar, young sir." She gently clasped his chin in her fingers and pulled his face up so he stared into her eyes. "I won't ask why you truly walk these halls, but try be more careful in the future. There are others here who would not be so kind as I."
    "Like Sturgeon?" he guessed.
    Her eyes crinkled up with her smile. "Clever boy, so you know of his wanderings?" Fred tried to nod, but she had a strong grasp and sharp nails. Her expression lost her humor and for the first time Fred witnessed her concern. "Be mindful of him. I believe he means to do you and your friends a great deal of harm." Fred frowned. That was the same warning Percy had given them. Martley released him and stood straight; her smile returned. "Until we see each other again, be in good health, young castor."
    Fred blinked and watched the woman retreat down the hall. He'd never showed her his abilities as a castor. When she disappeared into her room, Fred hurried to his. He found Ned standing at the window with his gaze on the stars in the bright sky.
    Ned turned at his entrance, and smiled. "Was your mission a success?" he asked the young lad.
    "What? Oh, yeah, we took her back," Fred answered.
    The old man frowned. "You're distracted. What have you seen?"
    "That Martley lady and Percy both told us to beware of Sturgeon," Fred told him.
    Ned raised an eyebrow. "You've spoken to both?" Fred nodded, and Ned leaned heavily on his staff in thought. "It seems the troubles in Tramadore have followed us here as surely as Canavar's influence."
    Fred blinked. "What about Canavar? Didn't we escape him when we crossed the bridge?"
    Ned closed his eyes and shook his head. "The Priests of Phaeton hoped his influence was weak enough he wouldn't dare cross into the Sterning region, but we find him here in Galaron."
    "Here?" Fred's eyes flitted over the walls as though they'd grown ears and eyes.
    Ned nodded. "The chaos brought about by your young friend's appearance shows that the fear instilled by Canavar's power has permeated the walls of this great city. I have seen this white madness too many times not to recognize its affects."
    "White madness," Fred repeated. The words brought up the memory of the peoples' glowing skin. "When I was on the roof I saw white smoke and some of the people had skin that glowed white."
    Ned's hands shook so bad he nearly lost his hold on his staff. "Then it is true, your sighting confirms it. Canavar seeks to influence the people and, I fear, the king. It bodes ill for us, and particularly for Pat's ascension to the leadership of Galaron's army."
    "Isn't there a way to stop his influence? Can't we blow away the bad air with our magic like you blew away all the fires?" Fred asked him.
    "I blow away the fires?" Ned repeated, and shook his head. "That wasn't I, but this Lady Martley. She has great skills for a castor of whom I've never heard."
    "Martley's a castor?" Fred wondered.
    "Yes, but that mystery is for another time. We were speaking of Canavar's power, which is not so much a spell as a curse."
    Fred's face drooped. "What's the difference?"
    Ned walked over to him and wrapped an arm around the boy's shoulders. "A curse has no time limit and is very powerful, while a spell is less so."
    "Oh. Then how are we going to break the curse?" Fred wondered.
    The old man paused, scrunched up his face, and shrugged. "I haven't the slightest idea, especially at this late hour. Did you come here to retire?"
    Fred remembered his mission. "Ruth got permission from her father to pay her life-debt to us, so she's in Pat's bedroom. We were wondering if her amulet keeps her awake during the day or if she'll turn to stone."
    Ned pulled at his beard and led Fred over to the door. "If my memory serves me then yes, it will prevent her from

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