The Isle of the Lost (Page 30)
“I would hate to think you’re betraying your friend,” Jafar said with a sorrowful look on his face.
“Don’t worry, Dad. None of us have any friends,” Jay scoffed. “Least of all, Mal.”
As they’d agreed, the next morning Jay met Mal at the crowded marketplace so they could “pick up” (read swipe) supplies for their journey to find the fortress. Jay hung back and snatched a bunch of fruit from a couple of tents while Mal stopped at a fortune-teller’s stand and traded a stolen pair of only slightly chipped earrings for a tattered pack of tarot cards.
“What are those for?” Jay asked.
“No one’s allowed into the library right? Where all those documents are locked up and sealed…”
“And the only person who has the key is Dr. F, and he loves tarot cards.”
“Glad to see you’re awake,” Mal replied.
“So, how sure are you about this whole thing? I mean, a little sure? A lot sure? Just-want-something-to-do sure?” asked Jay, juggling a few bruised peaches.
“I don’t know. But I have to at least try to find the fortress, especially if the Dragon’s Eye is there. Also, don’t you think it’s weird that we’ve never left the village? I mean, this island’s pretty small, and we’ve never even tried to look around.”
“What’s there to look at? You said it yourself—we’re probably headed for Nowhere.”
“But if somehow there’s a map of the island in the library, we’ll know exactly where in Nowhere we should be heading to find the fortress. There’s something out there, beyond the village. I know it.”
“But say we do get a hold of the Dragon’s Eye and it can’t do anything?” Jay asked.
“Diablo swears that it sparked to life!”
“But how? There’s no magic on the Isle. Nada.”
“Well, maybe there’s a hole in the dome, or something,” said Mal.
“A hole?” scoffed Jay.
“I told you, I don’t know; all I know is that the raven swears he saw it spark, and my mother wants me to fetch it, like I’m an errand girl. If you’re too chicken to come with me, then go back and steal some more crap for your junk shop,” Mal said, annoyed.
“I’m not chicken!”
“Yeah—more like a parrot,” said Mal.
Jay sighed. She had him there. “Fine,” he grumbled. “Maybe you’re right: maybe there is a hole.”
Mal’s and Jay’s squabbling voices carried throughout the marketplace, and Evie couldn’t help but overhear. She was at the bazaar for her first-ever shopping trip. Since nothing had befallen Evie for having left the castle and gone to school, Evil Queen was more convinced than ever that Maleficent had forgotten about their banishment, or at least didn’t care that they had returned. Evil Queen was so excited to be back in the village, she was running from storefront to storefront, saying hello to everyone and filling her cart with all sorts of age-defying elixirs and new beauty regimens.
Evie squinted at their faces. Mal was scowling and Jay looked annoyed, as per usual. Was she imagining it, or did she hear them say something about a hole in the magical barrier? The memory of that burst of light that had shot out of Carlos’s invention the night of the party came to her quickly.
“Are you guys talking about a hole in the dome?” she asked, coming up to the two of them.
Mal looked up suspiciously, but when she saw Evie her voice turned thick as honey. “Why, Evie! You’re just the person I’ve been looking for,” she said.
“She is?” Jay asked, confused.
“Yes, she is,” Mal said definitively. “Now, what were you saying about the dome?”
Evie wondered if she should tell them what she knew. She knew she couldn’t trust Mal, and she had an inkling that Jay was behind her missing poison-heart necklace. She hadn’t seen it since the party and suspected he’d lifted it when he’d taken her cloak that evening.
“Nothing,” she said.
“Tell us,” urged Jay, crossing his arms.
“Why should I?” Evie sniffed. Mal had trapped her in a closet! And Jay wasn’t any better, really—the little thief.
“Because,” Jay said. Then he was stumped. “Um. Because if you don’t, Mal will curse you?” he added, even though he didn’t sound convinced himself.
“If you haven’t noticed, there’s no magic on this island,” Evie said huffily.
“Not yet,” said Mal. “But there may be one day.” She took Evie’s arm in hers and whispered, “Look, I know we didn’t start off on the right foot, but I think we should let bygones be bygones. It’s a small island, and we shouldn’t be enemies.”
“Totally,” said Mal with her sweetest smile.
Evie knew Mal wasn’t being sincere, but she was intrigued enough to play along with it.
She was about to tell her what she knew about the dome when Evil Queen burst out of Bits and Bobs, wearing a jet-black velour sweat suit with QUEEN embroidered across her derriere. “Evie! I got some new eye shadow for you! Oh!” she said, when she saw Evie wasn’t alone. “If it isn’t Mal!” she added nervously. “How are you, dear? How’s your mother? Is she here? Is she still mad at me?”
“Uh…” Mal blinked.
Evie wished her mother would stop talking, but of course that was a fruitless wish. Her mother continued to babble on nervously. “Tell your mother to come around and see me sometime. I’d be happy to give her a makeover! I’ve seen her photos in the paper. She’s looking a bit green lately. She needs a stronger foundation,” Evil Queen said.
“I’ll uh, let her know,” Mal said.
“You do that, sweetheart! And if I may say so, your purple hair is fabulous! It really brings out your cheekbones!” Evil Queen gushed.
“Thank you? I guess?” said Mal, who looked distinctly uncomfortable.
Jay laughed. “Take the compliment, Mal. Sorry, Evil Queen, Mal isn’t used to compliments. You know Maleficent has no interest in beauty unless it can be used to glamour someone into doing her will.”
“Right. Let’s go, Evie,” said her mother.
“Oh, can Evie hang out with us?” asked Mal with a syrupy smile. “We were just about to grab a few unhealthy snacks from the Slop Shop.”
Evie was torn. On the one hand, she knew she should stay away from Mal if she wanted to be safe, but on the other, she never got to hang out with kids her age.