“And what if I don’t find it? What if there’s nothing to find?”
“It’s there. Believe it to be so, and it will be so.”
I closed my eyes, barely able to contain a groan. I just had to will things into existence. Fine. Easy-peasy.
“I think this might be your best option,” Teresa said. “And it would get you away from Luciana. Maybe that’s far enough away that you can actually rest without her draining you. Just that might be enough to break the oath.”
“Peru could hold all the answers,” Beth said.
“Nothing is ever that easy,” Elsa said. As usual, her few words cut right to the truth.
Everyone started talking at once. Witches debated with the wolves, and I leaned back in my chair, tuning it all out.
It wasn’t their decision to make. It was mine. I had to figure it out.
The only other one at the table who was quiet was my cousin. Something told me she knew plenty about these tough decisions. She gave me a little nod, letting me know that she’d support my decision either way.
But I knew she didn’t want me to go back to Luciana.
That was the easy route. Maybe not in the long term, but it would solve my immediate problems. Ultimately the cost of going back to her was high.
Peru, on the other hand, was the much harder route. The road less traveled. Literally. It could end up costing me everything, or if it worked, and I found what we needed, I could save us all. Save my brother. And stop the witch I’d helped to create.
“I’ll do it,” I said it softly. The wolves heard me and froze. Turning to me. But my fellow witches didn’t have their good hearing. They were still arguing.
I stood up from my chair, and its legs scratched against the floor. “I’ll go to Peru with you,” I said the words much louder this time so that everyone could hear. The last of the talk quieted.
Muraco nodded. “Wise decision. The journey will be difficult, but you will overcome.”
“I hope so.” I pushed down the fear that chilled my skin. “I really hope so.”
After I decided to go, the group sprang into action. Mr. Dawson ran off to make travel plans for me. Getting a last minute plane to Peru wasn’t an easy feat, especially since I needed to get on Muraco’s flight. I didn’t much care if I had to sit in the cargo hold. Now that I was going, I wanted to get there. Right away.
Then Meredith brought up the fact that I had nothing to wear but cut off skirts, flip-flops, and peasant shirts. I’d been in such a rush to leave the compound that I’d only brought essentials. Shopping was the last thing I wanted to be doing. I needed to spend as much time with my brother as possible before I left, but I had to be prepared for this trip. I couldn’t hike the Andes in worn-through leather sandals.
After a quick trip into town, I had a fancy new backpack, running shoes, thick socks, and all the warm clothes I could foresee needing. Now I sat on the floor back in my room at St. Ailbe’s, trying to pack. The werewolves didn’t restrict Internet access like the coven did, so I’d read a quick article on how to best pack a backpack. I’d never done anything like this before. Hell, until a few days ago, I’d hardly left the compound.
Apparently, rolling the clothes was the best way to get everything to fit. It seemed like a good idea, but the way I did the rolling, it wasn’t working. If anything, the lumpy rolls took up more space. I let out a frustrated growl as I shook out the pair of pants in my hands and tried rolling them for the fourth time. Everything seemed lumpy this way, but what did I know about packing and going on trips?
I just needed to get this done already so I could go check on Raphael. I didn’t have time to pack and repack this stuff over and over.
Someone knocked on my door. “Come in,” I said, and looked over my shoulder.
Teresa peeked in. “Hey. Thought I’d see how it was going.”
I dropped the pants I was trying to roll. “Horribly.” I surveyed the mess in front of me. “I’m not sure I can fit all this. I’ve tried to whittle it down to necessities, but…” The plan was a little on the vague side, so I had to be ready for almost anything.
Teresa settled down on the floor next to me. “Can I help?”
“Please.” I waved my hand over the pile of stuff. “I’m getting nowhere.”
Teresa took the pants and started rolling them. Somehow they ended up in a tight log without a single lump.
“How’d you do that?”
“Practice. Axel was a Boy Scout for a hot minute.” She snorted. “Anyhow, Dad worked long hours and couldn’t take time off to go on weekend camping trips, so Mom went with him. I was too little to be left alone, so I was forced along. Not that I wanted to go. Nope. I like bathrooms with running water and bug-free beds. But some things stuck with me. Mostly packing and marshmallow toasting.”