Blue Lily, Lily Blue Page 24

Persephone reappeared then, holding the sweater with mismatched arms. She peered at the woman in an appraising sort of way; it would have seemed rude if it hadn’t been Persephone. The woman appraised her back, with a lot more of the whites of her eyes showing.

Finally, Persephone seemed satisfied. She offered up the sweater. “I made you this. Try it — oh! Why haven’t they untied you yet?”

“We thought she might be … dangerous?” Gansey answered lamely.

Persephone cocked her head at him. “And you thought tying her hands would change that?”

“I …” He turned to Blue for help.

“She’s an uncooperative witness,” Blue provided.

“This isn’t how we treat guests,” Persephone said, faintly chastising.

Calla retorted, “I was unaware she was a guest.”

“Well, I was expecting her,” Persephone said. She paused. “I think. We’ll see if the sweater fits.”

Gansey cut his eyes over to Blue; she shook her head.

“You should untie me, little lily,” the woman said to Blue. “With your little lily knife. It would be very fitting and circular.”

“Why would it be fitting and circular?” Blue asked warily.

“Because your father is the one who tied me in the first place. Oh, men.”

Blue was abruptly awake. She had been awake before, but she was now so much more than she had been the second before, that she felt as if she had been sleeping.

Her father.

The woman was suddenly in her face, hands still tied behind her back.

“Oh, yes. Suitable punishment, he said. Artemusssssssss.” She laughed at the shocked faces in the room. “Oh, the things I know! Behold the way in which it glows, within a ring of water, within a moat, upon a lake, all in a ring of water!”

Earlier that year, when Blue had first met the boys, there had been a moment when she had been suddenly struck by how she was being drawn into their tangled lives. Now she realized that she had never been drawn in. She had been there all along, together with this woman, and all the other women at Fox Way, and maybe even Malory and his Dog. They were not creating a mess. They were just slowly illuminating the shape of it.

With a frown, Blue took out the switchblade. Taking care not to cut herself or the woman’s pale white skin, she sliced the worn bonds at her wrists. “Okay, talk.”

The woman stretched her arms up and out, her face rapturous. She spun and spun, knocking glasses off the table and smashing her hands into the complicated light fixture hanging over the kitchen table. She tripped over shoes and kept going, laughing and laughing, ever more hysterical.

When she stopped, her eyes were electric and unhinged.

“My name,” she said, “is Gwenllian.”

“Oh,” said Gansey, in a very small voice.

“Yes, little knight, I thought you knew.”

“Knew what?” Calla asked suspiciously.

Gansey’s expression was troubled. “You’re Owen Glendower’s daughter.”


I don’t even know what to get. A kennel?” Ronan asked.

Adam didn’t reply. They were in a large, glowing big box store looking at toiletries. He picked up a bottle of shampoo and put it back down. His clothing was still flecked with blood from the apocalyptic drizzle and his soul still smarted from the mongrel comment. Gwenllian — Gansey had texted Ronan her identity — had been in a cave for six hundred years and had gotten his number at once. How?

Ronan picked up a bottle of shampoo and tossed it in the cart Adam pushed.

“That one’s fourteen dollars,” Adam said. He found it impossible to turn off the part of his brain that added up the sum of groceries. Perhaps this was what Gwenllian could see in the furrow of his eyebrows.

The other boy didn’t even turn around. “What else? Flea collar?”

“You already did a dog joke. With ‘kennel.’ ”

“So I did, Parrish.” He continued down the aisle, shoulders square, chin tilted haughtily. He did not look like he was shopping. He looked like he was committing larceny. He swept some toothpaste into the basket. “Which toothbrush? This one looks fast.” He sent it plummeting in with the other supplies.

The discovery of Gwenllian was doing odd things to Adam’s brain. Disbelief shouldn’t have been an option after all of the things that had happened with the ley line and Cabeswater, but Adam realized that he still hadn’t truly believed that Glendower might still be sleeping under a mountain somewhere. And yet here was Gwenllian, buried in the same legendary way. His final skepticism had been taken from him.

“What do we do now?” Adam asked.

“Get a doghouse. Damn. You’re right. I really can’t think of another joke.”

“I mean now that we have Gwenllian.”

Ronan made a sound that indicated he didn’t find this line of thought interesting. “Do what we were doing before. She doesn’t matter.”

“Everything matters,” Adam replied, recalling his sessions with Persephone. He contemplated adding deodorant to the cart, but he wasn’t sure if there was any point getting it for someone who had been born before it was invented.

“Gansey wants Glendower. She’s not Glendower.” Ronan started to say something and then didn’t. He hurled a bottle of shave cream into the cart, but no razor. It was possible it was for him, not Gwenllian. “I’m not sure we shouldn’t stop while we’re ahead, anyway. We have Cabeswater. Why do we need Glendower?”

Adam thought of the vision of Gansey dying on the ground. He said, “I want the favor.”

Ronan stopped so abruptly in the middle of the aisle that Adam nearly ran the cart into the back of his legs. The six items in the bottom skittered forward. “Come on, Parrish. You still think you need that?”

“I don’t question the things that moti —”

“Blah blah blah. Right, I know. Hey, look at that,” Ronan said.

The two of them observed a beautiful woman standing by the garden section, attended by three male store workers. Her cart was full of tarps and hedge trimmers and various things that looked as if they might be easily weaponized. The men held shovels and flagpoles that didn’t fit in the cart. They seemed very eager to help.

It was Piper Greenmantle. Adam said wryly, “She doesn’t strike me as your type.”

Ronan hissed, “That’s Greenmantle’s wife.”

“How do you know what she looks like?”

“Oh, please. Now that’s what we should be thinking about. Have you researched him yet?”

“No,” Adam said, but it was a lie. It was difficult for him to ignore a question once it had been posed, and Greenmantle was a bigger question than most. He admitted, “Some.”

“A lot,” Ronan translated, and he was right, because, strangely enough, Ronan knew a great deal about how Adam worked. It was possible Adam had always been aware of this but had preferred to consider himself — particularly the more unsightly parts of himself — impenetrable.

With a last glance at the blonder Greenmantle, they made their way through the checkout line. Ronan swiped a card without even looking at the total — one day, one day, one day — and then they headed back out into the bright afternoon. At the curb, Adam realized he was still pushing the cart with its single bag nestled in the corner. He wondered if they were supposed to have gotten more things, but he couldn’t imagine what they would have been.

Ronan pointed at the cart. “Get in there.”


He just continued pointing.

Adam said, “Give me a break. This is a public parking lot.”

“Don’t make this ugly, Parrish.”

As an old lady headed past them, Adam sighed and climbed into the basket of the shopping cart. He drew his knees up so that he would fit. He was full of the knowledge that this was probably going to end with scabs.

Ronan gripped the handle with the skittish concentration of a motorcycle racer and eyed the line between them and the BMW parked on the far side of the lot. “What do you think the grade is on this parking lot?”

“C plus, maybe a B. Oh. I don’t know. Ten degrees?” Adam held the sides of the cart and then thought better of it. He held himself instead.

With a savage smile, Ronan shoved the cart off the curb and belted toward the BMW. As they picked up speed, Ronan called out a joyful and awful swear and then jumped onto the back of the cart himself. As they hurtled toward the BMW, Adam realized that Ronan, as usual, had no intention of stopping before something bad happened. He cupped a hand over his nose just as they glanced off the side of the BMW. The unseated cart wobbled once, twice, and then tipped catastrophically onto its side. It kept skidding, the boys skidding along with it.

The three of them came to a stop.

“Oh, God,” Adam said, touching the road burn on his elbow. It wasn’t that bad, really. “God, God. I can feel my teeth.”

Ronan lay on his back a few feet away. A box of toothpaste rested on his chest and the cart keeled beside him. He looked profoundly happy.

“You should tell me what you’ve found out about Greenmantle,” Ronan said, “so that I can get started on my dreaming.”

Adam picked himself up before he got driven over. “When?”

Ronan grinned.


This house is lovely. So many walls. So, so many walls,” Malory said as Blue entered the living room a little later. The cushions of the couch ate him gratefully. The Dog lay stiffly on the floor beside the couch, crossing his paws and looking generally judgmental.

Behind the closed door of the reading room, the murmur of Gansey’s voice rose briefly before being buried by Calla’s. They were fighting with Persephone, or talking while she was in the same room with them. It was hard to tell the difference.

“Thanks,” said Blue.

“Where is that insane woman?”

Blue had just finished hauling all Neeve’s things off the mattress in the attic so that Gwenllian could stay up there. Her hands still smelled like the herbs Neeve had used for her divination and the herbs Jimi had used to try to vanquish the herbs Neeve had used for divination. “She’s up in the attic, I guess. Do you really think she’s Glendower’s daughter?”

“I see no reason to disbelieve,” Malory said. “She does seem to be outfitted in a period dress. It’s rather a lot to take in. It’s a pity one can’t publish it in a journal. Well, I suppose one could, if one wanted his career to be over in a conclusive way.”

“I wish she would just talk straight,” Blue said. “She says my father was the one who tied her up and put her to sleep, only she told us that she never slept. But that’s impossible, isn’t it? How can you just be alive and awake for six hundred years?”

The Dog gave Blue a thin, wry look that indicated he believed that was how Gwenllian had come to be the way that she was.

“It seems likely that this Artemus was also the individual who sent Glendower to sleep,” Malory observed. “I don’t mean to be rude, but the idea that he also fathered you strains the credulity rather.”

“Rather,” Blue echoed. She didn’t have an emotional stake in it either way: Her father had always been a stranger to her, and whether or not he also turned out to be a six-hundred-year-old crazy person didn’t change that. It was interesting that Gwenllian had been tied up and sent to sleep by someone named Artemus, and interesting that this Artemus person apparently looked a lot like Blue, and interesting that Maura had also said that Blue’s father was named Artemus, but interesting wouldn’t find Maura.

“Although one considers that tapestry,” Malory said.

The old tapestry from the flooded barn. Blue saw it again — her three faces, her red hands. “What does one consider about it?”

“One doesn’t know. Is she staying here?” Malory asked.

“I guess. For now? Probably she’ll kill us all in our beds, no matter what Persephone says.”

“I think it’s wise that she stays here,” Malory said. “She belongs here.”

Blue blinked at him. Although the crotchety professor had grown on her since she’d first met him, she certainly wouldn’t have pegged him for the sort to consider other people enough to be able to offer interpersonal insight.

“Would you like to know what service the Dog provides?” he asked.

This didn’t seem to have any bearing on his previous statement, but Blue’s curiosity devoured her. With restraint, she replied, “Oh, well. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.”

“I feel uncomfortable all the time, Jane,” Malory said. “That’s what the Dog is for. The Dog is a psychiatric dog. The Dog is trained so that if the Dog senses I am having anxiety, he does something to improve the situation. Such as sit beside me, or lie on my chest, or place my hand in his mouth.”

“Are you anxious a lot?”

“It’s a terrible word, anxious. It makes one think of wringing hands and hysteria and bodices. Rather I simply don’t care for people because people — my, they are going at it, aren’t they?”

This was because Calla had just shouted in the other room, “DON’T GIVE ME THAT VACUOUS PREP BOY STARE.”

Blue had previously been pleased to not be looped into the serious discussion in the reading room, but now she was reconsidering.

Malory continued, “I was paired with the Dog directly before this trip, and I must say I did not imagine it would be so challenging to travel with a canine. Not only was it quite a thing to find a place for the Dog to relieve himself, the Dog was constantly trying to lie on my chest while I was standing in that dreadful security line.”

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