Inside the room, the three statues were still in place, Thomas and the other two mages frozen in time. Coming to Thomas’s room felt increasingly futile; like many mages, Thomas didn’t keep many notes, and the ones Sarah could find were indecipherable. Still, he was a member of the house, and she was determined to free him. His rooms were the best chance to find a way to do that.
“What is going on?”
Sarah spun around to find Matthew standing in the doorway. “You should still be resting.”
“I’m feeling better. I have been for days. And you’ve been hiding things from me.” Matthew walked over to Thomas. “For instance, you said he was fine. I thought he wasn’t coming to see me out of anger.”
“I didn’t want you to worry. You need to focus on recovering.”
“Has he been like this since the attack?” He bent down to try to touch Thomas. “Frozen in time?”
“Yes, and yes. I assume Solomon did it, though not before he managed to stop those two.”
Matthew looked at the other two mages. “I recognize them, though I don’t know their names.”
“Too bad. That information would be useful.”
“Sarah, do you not trust me?”
“Why would you ask that?” In several other conversations, they had danced around this issue. It was unsettling for him to ask about it so bluntly.
“Not telling me about Thomas. Keeping me isolated and bed-ridden. I just can’t help but feel like you regard me with suspicion.”
“I didn’t want you to worry, that’s all. Too many pieces are in motion, and I’m trying to keep everyone safe.”
“Yes. I’m concerned for you. I don’t want you in harm’s way. That’s true for everyone in this house.” Deception was part of the illusionist’s training, but Sarah still felt a twinge of guilt for bending the truth.
“Sarah . . . Oh.” Rebecca, breathing heavy, stopped in the doorway upon seeing Matthew.
With a wry smile, Sarah admonished him, “Look, you’ve worried your caretaker.”
“Sorry, Rebecca. I just needed to get out of that room for a bit.”
“It’s fine. I just don’t want you over-exerting yourself.”
A loud cracking noise caused all three to turn and look. Further into the room, behind Sarah, Julia materialized.
As quickly as she had appeared, she vanished.
“Julia!” Rebecca yelled after her, but there was no response.
“What was that?” Matthew asked.
“I have no idea.” There was no need for Sarah to feign confusion. “But I think we should find out.”