We all gathered by the front of the steam boat. Solomon was staring at the floor, looking frustrated and depressed. For some reason, it made me sad and I wanted to comfort him but I had no idea what to do. When the boat stopped, we filed off.
We walked for a while and, soon, Ben had to support Solomon.
"Master, maybe we should go back," he said.
"I'm fine," he muttered.
"Are you sure?" I asked. "Because you're looking-"
"I'm fine," he interrupted with a bit of a snap.
I hesitated but walked on. We took the long way around London. Mama walked close to Papa and I glanced at the tall buildings in the distance. Part of me wanted to go back there but all it held was nightmares. Nightmares and heartache.
Finally, we reached where the road branched into four roads. Behind us was the one to London. In front, was the one to our old village. To the left a little was the road to Richard's. The road to the right, I wasn't sure where that one went.
"Well, this is where we part ways," Papa said and I looked down.
"Thank you for letting us come with you," Solomon said weakly.
Papa sighed. "Mr. Bailey-"
"Call me Solomon, please."
"We can still talk about this," he said but Solomon shook his head.
"I think the man we're looking for will be able to help."
"Who are you looking for?" Mama asked. "Maybe we can help. We know this area very well."
"Thank you but I understand he enjoys anonymity," he said and shook Papa's hand. "Thank you again."
Papa nodded grimly as Solomon shook Colin's hand and kissed my mama's. He pushed Ben off of him when he got to me and cleared his throat. I looked up at him. His eyes were tired but, when our eyes met, he smiled a little.
"Maybe, when we both return to New York, we can take another stroll," he said quietly.
I smiled back. "That would be lovely," I whispered. He leaned in to kiss my cheek and I remembered who he was looking for. I grabbed his hand. "His name is Richard," I breathed. "He lives in a barn across from an inn."
He hesitated then kissed my cheek again, straightening up.
"Wait," I said. "I can tell you-"
He shook his head, though. "You've done so much already," he said. "Goodbye, Lady Kendra."
"Goodbye... Solomon," I said and his eyes met mine briefly before letting Ben help him down the road to the right.
"I hope he'll be all right," Colin said. "He looks ill."
"I am sure he will be fine," Papa said. "Come on; it will take a day to get to Richard."
I stopped walking and looked over my shoulder. I couldn't see them anymore and bit my lip. Why wouldn't he let me tell him how to get to Richard?
"Kendra?" Mama asked. "Are you okay?"
"They're going the wrong way," I said slowly.
"What do you mean?"
I shook my head. "Nothing. Never mind."
"What did she say?" Ben asked as we walked on.
He had me feed and I felt strong enough to walk on my own for now.
"His name is Richard and he lives in a barn," I said and Ben stopped walking.
"Do you think that's who they're going to see?" he asked.
I turned around. They had already disappeared among the trees and I bit my lip. I had seen Richard in her mind but it could have been from my desire to see him.
"I don't know," I sighed.
"If it is, maybe we should follow."
"I can tell there's an inn up close," I said and kept walking. "We'll ask the innkeeper and go from there. I need to rest, Ben."
"What is wrong with you, Solomon?" he asked, stopping me. "Seriously. You're very ill."
"I'm missing blood," I told him and his eyes widened. "Duke Moreau was about to tell me what to do but then we had to leave. He said I have two options: feed from my master - who's dead - or my mate - which I don't have." I shook my head. "He made it seem like there was someone on the boat that I could feed from, though."
Ben sighed again. "All right. After we see this Richard then we'll go back to New York and you can ask him then."
I nodded. "Sounds like a good plan."
We started walking again and reached the inn an hour later. It also served as a bar and everyone stared as we walked in. The innkeeper was a woman and she smiled flirtatiously at me.
"Well, hello there," she said. "What can I do for you gentlemen?"
"We need a room and information," I said.
"The room is 20 gold," she said. "The information, though, the price varies."
She winked suggestively and I sighed, irritated.
I passed the key to Ben. "I'll be there in a bit."
"I'm looking for a man," I said and she arched a brow. "Not like that. He goes by the name Richard the Fairy."
She giggled. "I hope you're well equipped if that's who it is," she said and I looked at her, confused. "They call him a fairy for a reason, sweetie."
"Oh. Got it."
She pulled out a piece of paper and drew a rough map.
"There's an inn," she said, "here. He's across from it in a barn here."
"Hold on there," she said, grabbing my hand when I tried to leave and I hid my cringe.
I rolled my eyes as she led me into a back room.
"You were right," I said irritably, slamming the door behind me half an hour later.
"What do you mean?"
I showed him the map. "We should've gone with the Moreaus."
"Well, you rest up a bit and we'll backtrack."
I just nodded and got into the bed, falling asleep at once.
"Sun's down, let's go," Ben said when he woke me up. "There's a full moon so that'll help you."
"Yeah," I yawned.
"I'm sorry I can't help you."
I shook my head, shouldering my pack. "Maybe Richard can."
"I wonder why the Moreaus are going to see him," he said. "Do you think they're friends?"
"They did say they know this area well," I said.
I could feel the moon giving me strength in spite of the clouds and looked around.
"Ben, do you feel like we're being followed?" I asked quietly and he frowned.
"Yeah, I do.... It feels... unkind."
We got to where we had separated from the family and picked up our speed. It started to rain and I got irritated. I just wanted to get this over with.
Rain began to fall once the sun had set. Colin was on Papa's back, fast asleep. I led the way, excited to see Richard again. I started to get an uneasy feeling, though. I tried to push it back but that was hard to do.
That's when I saw the barn and started running. Richard was tending to a horse.
"I've been waitin' for yeh, little 'un," he said and I giggled, hugging him.
Colin had woken up and Papa put him down. He gaped as Richard flew us into the air a few feet. He chuckled as he touched back to the ground.
"Yer sister gave me the same look," he said after saying hello to Mama and Papa. "Last time I saw yeh, yeh were in yer mother's stomach."
Richard chuckled. "Come in out of the ran."
We followed him inside and I looked around eagerly. I hadn't been inside it and I was interested to see it. It was spacious but mostly empty. There was an upper deck that he flew up to, whistling a merry tune. He lowered a rope ladder and Mama and I went up first.
He helped us up. There was a small living area with a bed, a short table, and a kettle hanging over a fire. It was currently cooking something that smelled very good.
"Maker yerself at home." We did so and he sighed. "Let me guess, yer here to talk about dear Kendra."
"Yes," Papa said. "It is about her star."
Richard frowned. "What do yeh mean?"
"I still haven't found him," I said sadly.
He arched a brow and leaned forward. "Vampires know their stars right away," he said and I nodded, already knowing this. "However, there are times where they are a lot like humans." He pointed at me. "Yeh were violated when yeh were a little girl. Don't look guilty. It wasn't yer fault. Yer view on men, though, is distorted. In that way, yer like a human. Yeh also don't have the same amount of time that yer parents did."
"What do you mean?" Papa asked.
He shook his head. "It ain't puberty that Kendra's been goin' through. Because she hasn't marked her star, she's slowly going insane." I gasped, covering my mouth. "But don't look so scared, little 'un. Yeh don't have to be scared anymore."
"But I haven't found my mate," I said desperately. "If I'm running out of time-"
"Yeh had two companions with yeh," he interrupted. "Who, by the way, are lookin' for me, too."
"So?" I asked and he smiled. I leaned forward. "Wait. Are you saying Solomon or Ben is my star?"
"Yeh know the answer to that, little 'un," he said. "Yeh also know which one it is."
I gaped at him. "Solomon Bailey is my star," I breathed and Papa sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"I thought so," he muttered and I glared at him.
"Why didn't you say anything, Papa!?"
"I tried," he said. "I kept getting interrupted, though."
"Well, what are we waiting for?" I asked, getting to my feet. "Let's go!"
"It ain't that simple," Richard said and I sat down slowly. "He'll be here soon. However, someone else will be, too."
"Who?" Mama asked and he smiled sadly at her.
She shook her head immediately. "Not possible. He was murdered."
"I'll explain when they get here," he said. "Just know that things are gettin' dark. Everything will make sense soon, though."