“I’m going to kill him,” Pan muttered under his breath as Jinnaari was led from the great hall.
“Pan, take me to our cousin. Now. I fear she’s about to do something rash.” Valerie tugged insistently at his sleeve.
He tore his eyes off of the retreating paladin and looked at his sister, “Which cousin?” he asked, trying to read her expression. The cloth that covered her eyes prevented most from seeing what Pan could.
“Thia,” she said. “Pan, we must go now.”
He grasped her hand and threaded it through his arm. Once he knew she had a secure grip, he started to weave through the throng of people. Their aunt, Randy’s wife, and her daughters followed the corpse from the hall. Helix was with them.
“Not so fast,” Valerie chided him.
“Sorry,” he muttered. “I’m pissed. That son of a bitch murdered Randy!”
“No, Pan. He didn’t.”
He whipped his head around and looked at her, “What?”
“Keep walking,” she commanded.
Spying a small passage that he knew would take them to Thia’s room, he cut through the crowd and led Valerie to it. “If it wasn’t Jinnaari, who was it?”
“I don’t want to explain this sixteen times, Pan. Get to Thia’s room. She’s in more danger now than the Prince is.”
Once they got into the corridor, Pan picked up the pace. A few turns and they were at her door. Two guards were posted farther down the hallway in front of Jinnaari’s room. Rapping on the wood, he said, “Thia? It’s Pan. I have my sister, Valerie, with me. May we come in? She needs to talk to you.” He could hear someone pacing in the room, but there wasn’t any answer. “Thia?”
“We don’t have time for pleasantries, Pan.” Valerie reached out and twisted the door knob. It swung into the room and she walked in. Pan followed, closing the door behind him.
Thia was pacing. She still wore the light gray dress she had on at dinner, but she had a dagger clenched in her fist. He drew back from the look on her face; she was ready to kill someone.
Valerie reached out for her, “Thia, please stop.”
Pan moved closer, ready to get between them if Thia took a swipe at his sister. Thia stopped and stared at them blankly.
“Can you give Pan the dagger?”
She looked at her hand, her eyes were hard. “I need this. He has to pay for what he’s done. All of it.”
“Thia, Jinnaari didn’t kill our uncle.” Valerie’s voice was calm, soothing. “I know it was someone else.”
Pan’s eyes narrowed, “What do you mean by, ‘All of it’, Thia?”
Valerie’s head swiveled at him. “One thing at a time, brother,” she admonished him quietly. She turned her attention back to Thia. “Let’s sit down, talk this out.” The two women sat together on the padded bench at the foot of Thia’s bed. Gently, Valerie eased the dagger from Thia’s hand and handed it to him. A single sob escaped Thia’s throat.
“Pan,” Valerie looked toward him as she cradled Thia’s head against her shoulder, “go find everyone else you came with. Except for the Prince. I’ll calm her down while you do. Once they’re here, I’ll explain everything.”
He nodded once and left the room. Once in the hallway, he leaned against the wall and glanced toward Jinnaari’s room. If it’s your fault, any of it, I’ll make damn sure you put it right.