The Isle of the Lost (Page 31)

Evil Queen nodded. “Sure! I’ll see you at home, sweetie.” As she left, she mouthed, “Reapply your lip gloss!”.

When her mother had disappeared into the crowd, Evie picked up the conversation where they had left off. “You guys want to know about the hole in the dome, or not?”

Mal and Jay exchanged glances. “Of course we do,” they chorused.

Evie shrugged. “Well, something happened the night of the party that may have to do with the dome.”

“Is that right?” asked Mal with a raised eyebrow.

“You need to talk to Carlos,” said Evie. “He knows what happened.” She shivered from the memory, at the bright light that had emanated from that little machine. For a second there, she had worried that they had broken the universe somehow. She still remembered the vibrant, sharp feeling of electricity in the air. It had felt like…magic.

“Carlos? Why? What does he have to do with anything?” Mal demanded as they passed a tent selling colorful scarves, and Jay practiced his parkour by running across the walls and rooftops.

“Because he was the one that did it,” said Evie.

“Did what?”

“Punched a hole in the dome.”

Jay barked a laugh and dropped down next to them. “Yeah, right—as if that little guy can punch anything. Come on, Mal. We’ve got work to do.” He began to turn away.

Evie stared at Mal. Mal stared at Evie.

“I’m not lying,” she said to Mal.

“I didn’t think you were,” said Mal, her green eyes flashing. Evie met them with her calm blue ones. Finally Mal said, “Okay.”

“You actually believe her?” Jay gawked, sounding right then like Iago.

“I think we need to check it all out,” said Mal.

“But we’re headed to Dragon Hall,” said Jay.

“No, we’ll head toward Hell Hall first. I want to talk to Carlos,” Mal decided. “And you’re coming with us, Evie.”

Evie didn’t argue with that. Something big was going down. Something had started, the night that Carlos had turned on that machine. And against her better judgment, Evie wanted to see how it would end.

So, onward to Hell Hall they went; but now the two-some was three.

One more day of freedom before his mother came home. Carlos surveyed his domain. Considering that it had been the headquarters of a rather epic party earlier in the week, it didn’t look too bad. The Broomba had worked wonders. Then again, the place always was a bit of a wreck, so who would notice?

The iron knight who towered over the staircase was as solid as ever, the draperies just as heavy and dusty, the faded wallpaper and the holes in the walls lending just that ruined touch that other decorators on the island tried to copy, to no avail.

Carlos was enjoying the rare, relative peace in his house when it was shattered by the sound of the front door knocker pounding so hard, he was sure its booming echo could be heard across the entire island.

He opened the door, then slammed it shut when he saw who was on his doorstep. “Go away, Mal—haven’t you done enough?” he yelled from inside the house.

“Open up! It’s important!” Jay demanded.


“Carlos!” That was Evie’s voice. “Something happened with that machine of yours the other night. Something big!”

Wait—what? Evie had told them about his invention? But she had promised! He cracked open the door the tiniest bit so that only his left eye was showing. “You told them what happened?” he said accusingly. “I trusted you!”

Evie pleaded, “Come on, open up! I brought you a pillow!”

Carlos opened the door grudgingly. “Fine. You guys can come in. But don’t even think of locking anyone in the closet this time, Mal!” He turned to Evie. “Is it made of goose down?” he asked excitedly. He hadn’t really believed she would bring him one.

“Yup, the vultures who brought it said the goblin who found it swore it’s from one of the Auradon castles,” Evie said, handing him a pillow in a blue silk pillowcase with a royal insignia.

He accepted the pillow and led them into the living room, pushed some deflated black balloons off the couch, and glowered at them. “Well, what did my machine do?” he asked.

Mal raised an eyebrow, and he immediately regretted his tone of voice. “I mean, care to enlighten me?” he asked politely.

“Evie?” prompted Mal.

Evie took a deep breath. “Okay, so the night of the party, Carlos switched on this machine he’s invented—it’s a box that looks for some kind of signal that lets you watch other TV shows—right, Carlos?”

Carlos nodded. “And music, and lots of other things, through radio waves.”

“So when he turned it on that night, it let out this huge blast of light!” she said breathlessly. “And it burned a hole right through the tree-house roof! We saw it go right through the dome!”

Carlos nodded.

“And the TV suddenly came alive with all these colors! And there were a bunch of new shows! Not just the usual Dungeon Deals and King Beast’s Fireside Chats!”

“But how does that prove it broke through the dome?” asked Mal, who looked skeptical, and Carlos couldn’t blame her. He hardly believed it himself.

“Because we’ve never seen those shows before! Which means the signal didn’t come from the relay station on the Isle of the Lost. Which means it had to have come from a forbidden network on Auradon…” said Evie.

“Which means…” Carlos prodded.

“The blast broke through the dome. For a second,” Evie finished triumphantly.

Mal turned to Carlos. “You really think that your machine did that?”

“It might’ve,” he admitted.

“Do you think there’s a possibility it let magic in, and not just radio waves?”

“Magic in? I don’t know. Why? Do you know something we don’t?” There had to be a reason Mal was here. She had to have some kind of angle on this. Mal never paid any attention to anyone unless she wanted something. What did she want?

He could see her weighing her options. Would she tell them? She didn’t know him every well except to tease him, and from what he’d observed so far, Mal wasn’t fond of Evie in the least. Jay might be in on it—he had to be, otherwise he wouldn’t be here.

“Fine. I’ll tell you guys,” Mal said finally. “Jay already knows. But this has to stay between us. And Evie, no hidden backsies.”


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