Reckless 4 - The Silver Tracks

Reckless The Silver Tracks

Powerful foxes, a new friend with narrating skin, the fairies are gone, but the Alder Elves are back, intending to appropriate Mirrorworld.

The fourth adventure through the Mirror leads to the Far East, where Jacob and Fox finally track down Will, who is travelling with rival hunter Nerron. In spite of his misgivings, Jacob agrees to go with them to the Island of the Foxes, in quest of another magical Mirror.

But their search quickly leads them into more peril, and as Jacob seeks security for himself and Fox, he is reminded of a disturbing promise he once made that now threatens everything.

Fox felt Jacob’s breath on her neck, warm and familiar. He was sleeping so soundly that he didn’t wake up when she gently eased out of his embrace. Whatever he was encountering in his dreams made him smile, and Fox ran her fingers over his lips as if she could read what he was dreaming. The two moons that shone on her world dappled his forehead with rusty red and pale silver, and birds whose names she didn’t know cried outside the inn.

Doryeong ... Her tongue could barely pronounce the name of the port city where they had arrived the day before. They had given up. Maybe that was why Jacob was sleeping so deeply. After all the months in which they had lost his brother’s trail and picked it up again countless times. A time or two, they had almost caught up with Will. But by now they had been searching in vain for weeks for any sign of him, and yesterday, as the sun had set over a strange sea, they had finally decided to call it off. Even Jacob believed that his brother did not want to be found after all that had happened, and that it was time to go their separate ways. So why could she still not sleep? Was it because she wasn’t used to being so blissfully happy?

Fox pulled the quilt over Jacob’s shoulder. Their own path. Finally. A sprig of white blossoms filled the room they were sleeping in with lush, sweet fragrance. Two more travelers were sleeping on the mats the landlady had wordlessly rolled out for them. The ferry to Aotearoa ran out of Doryeong. An old friend of Jacob’s, Robert Dunbar, kept sending enthusiastic telegrams from there, which told of three-eyed lizards, of enchanted whale bones, and of wild kings who had the fern forests of their homeland tattooed on their skin.

Their own path. Fox kissed the moonlight off Jacob’s face and carefully slipped out from under the quilt that warmed them both. The night lured the vixen outside. Maybe if she wore the fur, all this human happiness wouldn’t make her heart overflow so much.

She stole past the two stone dragons that guarded the entrance to the modest inn, and under trees that swayed their branches in the breeze from the nearby sea, she changed. The inn stood on an unpaved road, and the flat wooden houses that lined it wore their roofs like wooden cowls. Doryeong was nothing like the seaside village where Fox had grown up. Even the fishing boats on the dark waves that lined the harbor just a few houses away seemed to come from a fairy tale she had never heard of before.

The vixen looked up at the stars, and in their constellations she found images of all the roads she had traveled with Jacob these past months. Varangia, Kasakh, Mongol, Zhonggua ... A year ago, all these names had meant nothing. Now they were tied to unforgettable memories—of the time when she no longer had to hide her love. They had soon lost count of how many weeks they had traveled farther and farther southeast. At some point, they had even almost forgotten that they were searching for Jacob’s brother. Perhaps, in the end, they had simply wanted to leave everything behind them that might cast a shadow on their newfound happiness: the renewed treachery of Jacob’s father, the death of the Dark Fairy and the role Will had played in it—and the Alderelf who wanted their child and sent hunters of glass and silver after them. In a foreign land, all of this was so much easier to brush aside.

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