Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)(8)

Reverie hadn’t just fallen. It had been deserted. Thousands of people had been abandoned and left to die—by Soren’s father, Hess. Aria understood why Soren might not want to bring attention to that fact.

“Sable and a few of his top people have the coordinates to the Still Blue memorized,” he continued. “But there’s more to it than just knowing where it is. There’s a barrier of Aether at sea somewhere, and the only way to the Still Blue is by breaching it. Sable said he’d found a way through it, though.”

The chamber fell silent. They all knew that way was Cinder.

Perry rubbed his jaw, the first trace of anger appearing on his face. Across the back of his hand, Aria saw the scars Cinder had given him, pale and roped.

“You’re sure Cinder’s there?” he said, turning to Roar. “You saw him?”

“I’m sure,” said Roar.

Seconds passed.

“Do you have nothing more to add, Roar?” Perry asked.

“You want more?” Roar drew himself up. “Here’s more: Cinder was with the girl named Kirra, who was here at the compound, according to Twig. I saw her take him into the Komodo thing. You know who else is there? Sable. The man who killed your sister. The ships we need are also there, since I’m assuming the one outside isn’t going to carry us all to the Blue. It looks to me like they have everything and we have nothing. There it is, Perry. Now you know the situation. What do you recommend we do? Stay in this miserable pit and talk some more?”

Reef slammed his hand on the table. “Enough!” he bellowed, pushing up from his chair. “You cannot speak to him that way. I won’t allow it.”

“It’s grief,” Marron said softly.

“I don’t care what it is. It doesn’t excuse his behavior.”

“Speaking of excuses,” Roar said, “you’ve been looking for a way to come after me for a while now, Reef.” He stood and spread his hands. “Looks like you’ve got it.”

“This is exactly what I’m talking about,” Soren said, shaking his head. “You people are animals. I feel like a zookeeper.”

“Shut up, Soren.” Aria rose to her feet and took Roar’s arm. “Please, Roar. Sit down.”

He jerked away. Aria flinched as pain ripped through her, pulling in a hissing breath. She’d reached for Roar with her good arm, but his sharp movement had given her a jolt, igniting a hot flare in her wounded bicep.

Perry shot out of his chair. “Roar!”

The room fell quiet in an instant.

Aria’s arm trembled, pressed against her stomach. She forced herself to relax. To hide the waves of pain that tore through her.

Roar stared at her in silent mortification. “I forgot,” he said under his breath.

“I did too. It’s all right. I’m fine.”

He hadn’t meant to hurt her. He never would. But still no one moved. No one made a sound.

“I’m fine,” she said again.

Slowly, the attention of the room shifted to Perry, who was glaring at Roar, his gaze burning with rage.


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Anger made Perry feel strong and clear-headed. Sharper than he’d felt since he stepped into the cave.

He drew a few breaths, forcing his muscles to loosen. To let go of the drive to attack.

“Stay,” he said, looking from Roar to Aria. “Everyone else, leave.”

The chamber emptied in a rush, Reef quelling Soren’s objections with a few firm pushes, Bear last to step outside. Perry waited for the knock of his walking stick to fade away before he spoke. “Are you hurt?”

Aria shook her head.

“No?” he said. She was lying to protect Roar, because the answer was obvious in her braced stance.

She looked away, her gaze falling to the table. “It wasn’t his fault.”

Roar scowled. “Really, Perry? You think I’d hurt her? On purpose?”

“You’re out to hurt at least a few people. I’m sure of that. What I’m trying to figure out is how wide you’re casting the net.”

Roar laughed—a bitter, clipped sound. “You know what’s funny? You, acting so superior. What I did was an accident— what about you? Which one of us spilled his own brother’s blood?”

Anger washed over Perry. Roar was throwing Vale’s death in his face. A low blow—the lowest—and totally unexpected.

“I’m warning you this once,” Perry said. “Don’t think you can say or do anything to me because of who you are. You can’t.”

“Why? Because now you’re Blood Lord? Am I supposed to bow to you, Peregrine? Am I supposed to follow you around like your six loyal hounds?” Roar tipped his chin toward Perry’s chest. “That piece of metal has gone to your head.”

“It better have! I swore an oath. My life belongs to the Tides.”

“You’re hiding behind that oath. You’re hiding here.”

“Just tell me what you want, Roar.”

“Liv is dead! She’s dead.”

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