Arianna gently opened the door to her room upstairs from the shop, smiling as she found Logan asleep on the bed. She’d told him to use this room as she had originally planned to sleep on the couch but her conversation with her father about how much he’d loved her mother had spurred her into coming to finish part of the conversation they’d started in the Keep
Arianna sat on the bed before laying down beside him, smiling as he slipped his arms around her in his sleep. Cuddling into the warmth of his arms she thought about the relationships she’d previously had and how she would not have done this with even one of them. Despite his complete lack of magical ability Arianna felt safer with Logan than anyone else she’d ever known. Arianna was beginning to realise that when this was over she had choices to make that in some ways mirrored the ones Ilea and her own mother were forced to make. However, she intended to make the right one.
“Ari,” Logan murmured from her side, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she whispered back, “Go back to sleep.”
He smiled at her pulling her closer, “I like this.”
“So do I,” Arianna told him but Logan was already asleep again.
Logan woke up blinking in the early morning light confused to find he couldn’t move his arm, turning over he was surprised to find Arianna fast asleep cuddled up to him. Gently he pushed back her hair out of her face, smiling as she moaned and shifted against him.
“Morning,” she sighed opening her eyes, “You look confused.”
“Well I went to sleep alone last night,” Logan reminded her, “And then I wake up to find you here at my side.”
“I thought you wouldn’t mind keeping me company,” Arianna smiled at him.
Logan laughed, “I don’t. In fact it’s definitely a situation I’d like repeated tomorrow though maybe letting me be awake when you get in beside me would help.”
Arianna laughed again and wrapped her arm around his neck pulling him down to her; Logan gently brushed his lips to hers at first before Arianna moved closer locking her lips with his in a deep passionate kiss.
“Wow,” he murmured as they parted and he looked down on her, “What’s different?”
“Everything,” she confessed, “And I refuse to be alone like my mother.”
Logan kissed her again, “You won’t be.”
Grey looked up from his reading as Laurie and Jeannie arrived in the shop.
“Good morning, ladies,” Grey greeted them; “Can I get you something to eat?”
“No,” Laurie said softly, she was a little intimidated by Grey and felt that she preferred to be out of his sight as much as possible.
“Are you sure?” he asked, affable and relaxed, “I went out and got some rolls, pastries and things from the local bakery.”
“Oh,” Jeannie grinned as she looked at the plate on the table, “Croissants. I haven’t had those in so many years. Tell me there’s jam?”
Laurie couldn’t stop laughing as Jeannie seemed like an excited child as she took a seat at the table and cheerfully started making her breakfast. Grey looked over to her and smiled as well before offering her the plate.
“I’m going to grab some tea first,” Laurie told him, “Do you want some?”
“No milk,” Jeannie called.
Grey smiled, “Thank you. Just one sugar and no milk.”
Laurie nodded and headed into the small office, she decided it was probably a good idea to get to know the man a little more. She may have to trust him to save her life very soon.
Davin arrived not long after Laurie had made the tea and sat down to her breakfast. He looked exhausted as he dropped onto the seat beside Jeannie and simply grabbed the closest pastry to him.
“Well, I’ve been up most of the night and I think I know how to close the rift we don’t want open,” he told them, “Where is Arianna anyway?”
Grey smiled slightly, “I believe she and Logan are talking some more.”
“Are you pushing them together?” Davin demanded, not too sure he was happy about this.
“Arianna can make her own choice,” Grey reminded the other man, “And she deserves the happiness her mother and I never got to have.”
The two men locked eyes and neither seemed to want to give in, in the end Jeannie stepped between them.
“Can we hold off on this argument until we’re all sure that we’re going to live?” she demanded.
“Arianna can’t stay here,” Davin reminded Grey, “I know this and I don’t want her to be hurt.”
“You have to remember that we come from a world of magic,” Grey said softly, “And anything is possible. Especially for Arianna.”
“So, what exactly are you planning on?” Logan asked as they sat on the bed, “I know you’ve got to close the rift, but this guy Godwin is part of the council. How are you going to deal with him?”
“I just have to neutralise him,” she sighed.
Arianna rolled her eyes at him, “Godwin isn’t the real problem. So I can save my great grandmother I have to break the actual curse on my family.”
“And how are you going to do that?” Logan asked.
Arianna shrugged, “I have absolutely no idea. That’s my basic problem, Logan. I’m the one who has to know what to do so I can perform the spell but I’m not sure what to do.”
Logan wrapped his arm around her, “You’ll know what to do when the time comes. I’m sure of this.”
Arianna leaned against him with a smile, “I really wish I had you when I was studying,”
“I’ll bet you did,” he chuckled.
“Come on, we should go join everyone else,” Arianna told him, “We need to eat before we get started on this.”
Logan stood and offered her his hand, as he pulled her to her feet Arianna looked up at him thoughtfully.
“Tell me something,” she said softly, “If it wasn’t for the magic, would you even have noticed me?”
Logan dropped his eyes for a second before looking back up, “No. Ari, before the accident I was basically an ass. I didn’t care about anything but having a good time. Then I couldn’t walk and life became all about that.”
“Let me finish,” he said, he reached out and took her hands in his, “When I met you I wanted to strangle you because you flew into my world bringing the most amazing things. Fine, I normally wouldn’t have noticed you when I was the old me but because we spent so much time together I got to know you and I’ve never known anyone better.”
Grey looked up from the book in front of him as his daughter walked into the room with Logan. He could see the difference in her from their conversation last night. She’d been relaxed and wanting to listen to him but now Grey could see the Peacekeeper in her.
Arianna’s eyes were focussed and she was obviously ready to face whatever she needed to.
“Okay,” Arianna said, making everyone turn to her, “Godwin is going to try and rally the people he has working for him here to come after us. I need to close the rift now before he can use this to gain any kind of power.”
“So what’s the plan?” Jeannie asked.
“I’m going to go to the rift,” Arianna explained, “Davin will come with me as protection. Dad, you and Jeannie need to stay here as I’m going to drop the shield and allow Holston to come here. Laurie and Logan, you two need to stay here and do whatever they tell you. Logan, Jeannie may need you to wish to help her.”
Logan nodded but said nothing to Grey’s relief.
“Alright, there is only one thing left,” Arianna turned to the genie standing there, “What about your sister? Will she come after us?”
Jeannie shrugged, “I’m not sure. Jasmine is extremely fickle. It’s very possible though. I think she might because she wants to come after me.”
“Okay, how powerful is she?”
“Not majorly so but she is quite tricky,” Jeannie explained, “I think between us the four of us can handle her.”
Arianna nodded, “Davin, are you ready?”
Davin chuckled, “Not even slightly but I doubt that’ll stop you.”
Her smiled made them all smile, she turned to her father, “I don’t know what part of my magic comes from you but I think I’ll be able to win because of that.”
Grey moved forward and touched her cheek, “Listen to me closely, Arianna. You are powerful and you are smart. Use both of those because you need to be smart to stop these people.”
“I will,” she whispered.
“Look at me,” Grey said tilting her head up so that they were looking into one another’s eyes, he heard her gasp very softly as she saw the glint in his eyes, “When this is over I will teach you more about heritage. I promise.”
Arianna squeezed his hand, “I’m going to hold that to you.”
She turned to the others, “We all know what we’re doing. Let’s go.”
Arianna took a deep breath as she walked into the room beneath the Labyrinth, seeing the rift there she stared at it trying to see what she could do. It was the most astonishing looking thing unlike the one beneath the bookshop.
“Well,” Davin asked.
Arianna let out a low whistle, “I’m looking for the weak point but I can’t see it. Davin, I don’t know how to do this.”
“Fine,” Davin said, “Let’s look at this logically. Work through it as though this is a problem you’re working on in school. You did things like this.”
Arianna nodded nervously, “You do know Helen usually helped me with this sort of thing?”
Davin frowned at her frivolity, “Arianna, you need to work this one out yourself.”
She nodded shakily, stepping forward she raised her hands to the surface of the rift feeling the magic flowing towards her. Closing her eyes she moved just slightly forward into it.
“Davin, this is absolutely incredible,” she whispered, “This rip in magic is more than the stones. There’s more than we know going on.”
Davin nodded, “I know but we have to focus on closing this before we can investigate more.”
Arianna took in a deep breath, “I think I can do it but it’s going to take a lot of energy. You need to leave.”
“Davin, I’m going to use a lot of power to close this thing and I know that if you’re here I’m going to have to take power from you,” she reminded him, “I could end up killing you and you know it.”
He didn’t look happy but finally Davin nodded in agreement. He rested his hand on her shoulder.
“I’ll be outside if you need me,” he told her.
Arianna drew the power from the rift towards her feeling a little dizzy and overwhelmed at the power that flooded her. She shook her head trying to focus; she had to do this to protect everyone she cared about.
She licked her lips remembering the lessons Tor had given her on power exchange and also remembering how hard it was. Taking a test of the energies around her Arianna noticed a soft spot near the edge of the rift that was the only spot she could find that was a possible way to close the rift.
Closing her eyes Arianna touched the spot with her own power; she could feel it give slightly. A little buoyed by this she started pouring more energy into the rift and could feel the rift becoming smaller and smaller with each passing second.
Suddenly the world tilted to one side and Arianna cried out as the power pushed out against her. Arianna opened her eyes to see the rift properly, it was now an angry red and Arianna felt her stomach churn.
Arianna suddenly realised it was a trap but it was too late, the explosion threw her against the wall. Just before she dropped to the ground unconscious she saw Godwin looking down at her with a smug smile.