Chastain parted her fingers before her face and the vines opened to halfway up. “What do you want then?”
“Only to talk. To him.” He nodded.
She frowned. Worrying her cheek. “I know who you are now.”
“Is she right?” Acharius asked over her head.
“About what?” Chavias’ brow knitted.
“Did you lead her from Udora Novavax’s hut?” Acharius demanded to know.
She remembers? Chavias’ gaze fell to Chastain.
Sabine shook his arm. “Tell them. Tell them how you did it.”
He lifted his chin. “I spirit-ran. I told her where to take the other girls.”
“To guide them to us?” Acharius asked.
Chavias nodded stiffly.
“To get them away from Radix.”
The air sparked with tension between the two aggressive males. Both prepared for battle should it come.
Acharius eyed him a moment. “Why are you here?”
“To attempt amends for what I did.”
“For coming to kill me.” Acharius said coldly.
Chavias grimaced. The answer obvious.
“Dearburn is not so easily forgotten as what you did to me.”
Chavias nodded in understanding.
“Why?” Pain crossed Acharius’ face.
Chastain looked between them confused.
She doesn’t know. Chavias could tell.
“He told me I had to kill one of you or he’d kill both. I couldn’t kill you. So he became my target.”
Acharius’ expression was unrelenting. “I can’t forgive you for that.”
Chavias nodded. Gaze on the ground. Disappointment washed through him. They were close. It was truly unreasonable to expect him to.
A vision of the betrayal on Acharius’ face that day replayed in Chavias’ mind.
“But I can accept you as my brother, albeit with some animosity and broken trust it’ll take much time to regain.”
Chavias’ head snapped up. What’d he say?
Chavias’ disbelief must’ve been on his face.
“I, as everyone else, have regretted the day you became a prisoner. For what you sacrificed for that day. And it seems you continued your sacrifices while enduring your suffering. I can appreciate what you’ve done.”
Acharius caught Chastain’s waist and rounded to set her on her feet, out of his path.
He approached Chavias who was unflinching.
The two clasped forearms and gave each other a long look. An unspoken truce.
Sabine stepped from behind Chavias to look at the other woman and recognition was instant.
“Chastain!” She cried rushing to the older girl.
Chastain laughingly met her. Flowers blooming over the ground and up the tree trunks in her wake.
The two hugged tightly.
Chastain petted Sabine’s blonde head.
Ridiculous. Chavias noted, lips dancing. Since Sabine was a solid half a foot taller than the tiny redhead.
“She was one you led too?” Acharius asked from next to him.
“And you took her for mate?”
“Take is rather harsh. I think she took me.” He chuckled.
Acharius gave him a quick look.
“What is this?” Sabine plucked at a group of flowers on Chastain’s shoulders.
Chastain laughed. Lifting her arm to look at them. “It just happens. Pick one.”
“Does it hurt?”
Sabine plucked it. Eying it as she turned it in her fingers. “That’s rather unsettling…”