Yasmine glanced briefly at Laurel and Tamani before lowering her voice. “I can do great things,” she said, so quietly Laurel scarcely heard. “You have told me for years, that I can and will do great things.”
“That is precisely why you must stay here,” Jamison said, lifting one hand to touch her face. “What we go to do now is not great—it is only necessary. It is more important now than ever that you remain alive so that you can do those great things. Avalon cannot afford to lose you, or all our efforts will have been in vain, in the very moment they are nearest to blossoming.”
Whether Yasmine understood Jamison’s cryptic speech or not, she nodded her assent, then turned to follow Marion, who hadn’t waited for her. Jamison’s eyes followed the two Winter faeries until they reached the Palace and were safely inside with their Am Fear-faire. Only then did he turn back to the group. “Come,” Jamison said, his voice choked as he led them down.
“There are . . . so many,” Laurel said to Tamani, as they followed Jamison, passing lines of sentries still marching up the path that led to the Winter Palace.
“Two hundred, give or take,” Tamani growled.
“Two hundred?” Laurel exclaimed, her breath catching in her throat. “Does she really need that many?”
“Of course not,” Tamani said.
Laurel hesitated. “Can Avalon spare that many?”
“Of course not,” he repeated, weakly. “Let’s go.”