Blue Lily, Lily Blue

By: Maggie Stiefvater

Book III of The Raven Cycle



P RO L O G U E


ABOVE Persephone stood on the bare mountaintop, her ruffled ivory dress whipping around her legs, her masses of white-blond curls streaming behind her. She was gauzy, immaterial, something blown between these boulders and caught upon one of them. The wind was fierce up here with no trees to block it. The world below was gloriously autumnal.

Adam Parrish stood beside her with his hands shoved into the pockets of his grease-stained cargo pants. He looked tired, but his eyes were clear, better than when she’d seen him last. Because Persephone was only interested in important things, she hadn’t considered her own age in a long time, but it struck her as she looked at him that he was quite new. That raw expression, that youthful hunch of his shoulders, the frantic sprawl of the energy inside him.

What a good day it is for this , she thought. It was cool and overcast, with no interference from the sun’s force or the lunar schedule or nearby road construction.

“This is the corpse road,” she said, aligning her body with the invisible path. As she did, she could feel something inside her begin to hum agreeably, a sensation very much like the satisfaction that came from aligning book spines on a shelf. “The ley line,” Adam clarified.

She nodded serenely. “Find it for yourself.”

He stepped onto the line immediately, his face turning to

gaze along its length as naturally as a flower looking into the sun. It had taken Persephone rather longer to master this skill, but then, unlike her youthful pupil, she had not made any bargains with supernatural forests. She was not much for bargains. Group projects, in general, were not her thing.

“What do you see?” she asked. His eyes fluttered, his dusty lashes resting on his cheeks. Because she was Persephone, and because it was a good day for this, she could see what he was seeing. It was not anything related to the ley line. It was a confusion of shattered figurines on the floor of a lovely mansion. An official letter printed on county stationery. A friend convulsing at his feet.

“Outside of you,” Persephone reminded him mildly. She herself saw so many events and possibilities along the corpse road that no single one stood out. She was a far better psychic when she had her two friends Calla and Maura with her: Calla to sort through her impressions and Maura to put them in context.

Adam seemed to have potential in this department, though he was too new to replace Maura— no, that was a ridiculous way to put it, Persephone told herself, you don’t replace friends. She struggled to think of the proper word. Not replace.

Rescue. Yes, of course, that was what you did with your friends. Did Maura need rescuing?

If Maura had been there on the mountain, Persephone might have been able to say. But if Maura had been there on the mountain, Persephone wouldn’t need to say.

She sighed deeply.

She sighed a lot.

“I see things.” Adam’s eyebrows formed either concentration or uncertainty. “More than one thing. It’s like — like the animals at the Barns. I see things . . . sleeping.”

“Dreaming,” Persephone agreed.

As soon as he’d called her attention to the sleepers, they came to the forefront of her consciousness.

“Three,” she added.

“Three what?”

“Three in particular,” she murmured. “To be woken. Oh, no. No. Two. One should not be woken.”

Persephone had never been very handy with the concept of right and wrong. But in this case, the third sleeper was definitely wrong.

For a few minutes, she and the boy— Adam, she reminded herself; it was so difficult to find birth-given names important — both stood there, feeling the ley line course beneath their feet. Persephone gently and unsuccessfully attempted to find the bright strand of Maura’s existence in the tangled threads of energy.

Beside her, Adam was once again retreating inside himself, most interested, as always, in the thing that remained unknowable to him: his own mind.

“Outside,” Persephone reminded him.

Adam didn’t open his eyes. His words were so soft that the wind nearly destroyed them. “I don’t mean to be rude, ma’am, but I don’t know why this is worth learning.”

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