The door frame quickly blocked my view of the watch, but I could see Titania staring at it, so I knew it was still there. I was about three steps into the hallway when Titania jumped a little, then looked over her shoulder at me.
“It is gone,” she said.
Fighting an insane desire to flee down the hallway away from the dangerous Faerie Queen, I forced myself back into the bedroom, Arawn following close behind.
“All right,” I said. “Now let’s bring Elizabeth here. I’ll put another item from the mortal world down, and then I’ll back away as she stays in the room. If she’s not a Faeriewalker, the item will disappear when I’m three steps out. If she is a Faeriewalker, it won’t go anywhere.”
Titania nodded, then strode to the door. I guess she didn’t mind having her guards see her in her almost completely see-through wrap.
“I will have the girl Elizabeth brought here,” she announced as she yanked open the door.
“How sure are you that this Elizabeth is the Faeriewalker?” Arawn asked me in an undertone.
I chewed my lip. I’d felt pretty sure until he’d asked. But really, I was basing my theory on little more than a guess. There had been a lot of servants in that dining room when the bomb went off, and it was possible one of the others had been in Henry’s entourage and hadn’t stuck out in my mind. Elizabeth looked like a full-blooded Fae, beautiful and perfect, but genetics are sometimes fickle.
“Sure enough to stake my life on it, I guess,” I answered, my voice a little quavery.
He put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “You are probably right. The Faeriewalker must have a very powerful Fae parent, and I can’t help noticing the link between the names Henry and Elizabeth.”
I didn’t at first know what he was talking about, but it didn’t take me a long time to figure it out, not when I was so aware of how much the Fae lived in the past. The first Queen Elizabeth had been the daughter of Henry VIII. Come to think of it, she’d been famous for being a redhead as well.
“So you think Elizabeth is Prince Henry’s daughter,” I said.
“Likely. Assuming she is the Faeriewalker.”
Damn. I thought I had it bad with my parental issues, but I couldn’t imagine having Henry as a father. He treated her badly even for a servant, much less for a daughter. And here I was, turning her over to save my own hide.
I shoved the guilt aside as best I could. I wasn’t doing this just for myself. I was doing it for my dad, and Ethan, and Kimber, and Keane, and Finn. I still hated it, still wished I could have thought of another way to prove my innocence, but there didn’t seem to be one.
Titania came back into the room, bringing with her the arctic chill of her displeasure. I wished she’d put some clothes on, but perhaps the Fae didn’t have the same modesty issues as humans. She seemed quite unconscious of her state of undress. The Erlking, I noticed from his occasional appreciative glances, was much more aware of it than she was.
Soon, there was a commotion out in the hall, and I tensed up, my imagination telling me it was the Queen’s guards coming to seize me. I stared at the door with what I felt sure were scared eyes, and when someone knocked, I was so tense I jumped.
“Enter,” the Queen beckoned. I hadn’t seen her move, but somehow she had changed out of the gauzy wrap and into an elaborate white and gold kimono-like gown, and her hair was gathered in a loose but elegant chignon at the back of her head.
The door opened, and Henry burst in, dressed in his usual flashy doublet and leggings. Behind him, a Knight entered, dragging Elizabeth by the arm. She had obviously been in bed when the Knights had come for her. Her hair was disheveled from sleep, and it looked like she’d dressed in a frantic rush, her skirts dragging on the floor behind her because she’d skipped the bustle. I supposed she was lucky the Knights had allowed her time to dress at all. Tears streaked her face, and guilt hammered at me harder than ever.
Henry came to an abrupt halt when he saw me standing there beside the Erlking. I thought I saw a hint of fear in his eyes, but maybe that was just what I wanted to see.
“What is the meaning of this?” he demanded of his mother. “Why have my quarters been raided and my servant dragged from her bed?”
If Henry had nothing to hide, I doubted he would have been able to muster much outrage over the seizure of one of his servants. It wasn’t like he had a warm and caring relationship with them.
“Forgive the intrusion, my son,” Titania said in a voice that clearly conveyed she didn’t like his tone. “I had no intention of disrupting your evening and want only to question this child.”
She gestured at Elizabeth, who looked like she was about to faint from terror. The girl gave me a pleading look, but though I’d helped her against the Green Lady, I couldn’t help her against this. I prayed that Titania would take pity on her and realize that her son was the one to blame.
Henry dialed down the outrage. I guess he saw that Titania didn’t appreciate it. When he spoke again, he managed to sound calm and only mildly curious.
“Why should you need to question a servant girl? She is no one.”
My dad had told me that Henry lacked the wit and subtlety he needed to be a star player in Court politics, and it seemed he was right. His protests, even when so toned down, were as good as him screaming, “I have something to hide!” Of course, he did have something to hide, so he probably felt pretty trapped.
Titania arched one brow. “If she is, as you say, no one, then this will take but a moment.” She turned to me. “Put your mortal item in its place.”