Not to mention the unhappy faerie prince who was currently thrashing around on his floor.
“How long are you planning to keep me here?” Kieran’s voice was muffled. He pulled a piece of blanket away from his face and stared at the ceiling as if he could come to understand what Diego saw in it.
“Keep you here?” Diego rolled onto his side. “You’re not a prisoner. You can go whenever you like.”
“I cannot,” Kieran said. “I cannot return to the Wild Hunt without bringing the wrath of the King upon the Hunt. I cannot return to Faerie, for the King will find and slay me. I cannot wander the world as a wild fey, for I will be recognized, and I do not know even now if the King is seeking me.”
“Why not return to the Institute in Los Angeles? Even if you’re angry with Mark, Cristina would—”
“It is because of Mark and Cristina that I cannot go there.” Kieran’s hair was changing color in the dim light, deep blue to pale white. “And I am not angry with either of them. It is only that I do not want . . .” He sat up. “Or perhaps I want too much.”
“We can figure it out when the time comes,” Diego said. “What will be best for you.”
Kieran looked at him, an uncanny, sharp look that made Diego push himself up on his elbow. “Isn’t that what you always do?” he said. “You decide you will find a solution when the time comes, but when the worst happens, you find yourself unprepared.”
Diego opened his mouth to protest when there was a sharp rap on the door. Kieran was gone in a flash, so quickly that Diego could only guess where he’d disappeared to. Diego cleared his throat and called, “Pásale!”
Divya slipped into the room, followed by Rayan. They were in their uniforms, Rayan wearing a thick sweater over his. Both he and Divya had found it difficult to get used to the cold air in the Scholomance.
Divya carried a witchlight, its rays illuminating her anxious expression. “Diego,” she said. “Is Kieran here?”
“I think he’s under the bed,” said Diego.
“That’s strange,” said Rayan. He didn’t look anxious, but Rayan rarely betrayed much emotion.
“He could be in the wardrobe,” Diego said. “Why?”
“The Cohort,” said Divya. “Zara and some of the others—Samantha and Manuel and Jessica—they’ve just Portaled in with Professor Gladstone.”
Kieran rolled out from under the bed. There was a dust ball in his hair. “Do they know I’m here?” He sat up, eyes gleaming. “Give me a weapon. Any weapon.”
“Hold on there.” Divya raised a hand. “We were actually thinking of a more restrained approach. Like hiding you.”
“I was already hiding,” Kieran pointed out.
“He was under the bed,” Diego said.
“Yes, but since Zara Dearborn is on her way to talk to Diego, this isn’t the safest room,” said Rayan. “And the Cohort suspects Diego’s loyalty to their cause, anyway.”
“They do,” said Divya. “We heard them talking.” She held out a hand to Kieran as if to help him up. He eyed it with surprise, then rose to his feet unassisted.
“I would not kill her if she was unarmed,” said Kieran. “I would challenge her to a fair fight.”
“Yeah, and then everyone would know you were here, including the Clave,” said Divya. She snapped her fingers. “Come on. Let’s go. Quit wasting time.”
Kieran looked slightly stunned. He cut his eyes sideways toward Diego, and Diego nodded. “It’ll be safer for both of us.”
“As you command, then,” Kieran said, and followed Rayan and Divya out of the room, the witchlight wavering over them all. They slipped into the shadows and were gone; Diego barely had time to get out of bed and shrug on a T-shirt before the door banged open.
Zara stood in the doorway with her hands on her hips, glowering. Diego wondered if he should thank her for knocking but decided that she probably didn’t understand sarcasm.
“I’m just about fed up with you,” she said.
Diego leaned back against the wardrobe and crossed his arms over his chest. Zara’s eyes skated over his biceps. She smirked.
“I really had hope for our alliance,” she said. “But you’d better straighten up and stop sympathizing with Downworlders, criminals, and ingrates.”
“Ingrates?” Diego echoed. “I’m only allowed to hang out with the grateful?”