The Isle of the Lost (Page 32)

Evie put up her hands in protest.

“Okay, so the night of the party, my mother’s raven, Diablo—who’d been turned into stone by the three so-called ‘good’ fairies twenty years ago, came back to life. And Diablo swears he saw the Dragon’s Eye, my mother’s missing scepter, spark to life as well.”

Carlos stared at her, and no one spoke for a long moment.

“But that would mean…” Carlos said, his eyes blinking rapidly as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Magic! That magic had been able to penetrate the dome for a second!” Jay said excitedly. He had been silent until now, looking around Hell Hall most likely to see if he had missed pocketing anything good from the other night.

Carlos himself was still trying to process what Mal had told them. It was one thing to get to watch new television shows, but it was quite another to hear that magic had penetrated the invisible barrier, and that Maleficent’s missing scepter—the most powerful dark weapon in the universe—had been brought back to life.

“Yes,” said Mal. “Diablo swears it’s true. And so now my mother has tasked me with getting the Dragon’s Eye back. Just in case it happens again, the magic returning. So that this time, she’ll be ready.”

Jay coughed. “And so, um, we should get on the road, Mal, before it gets too late,” he said. “You know I hate to miss a meal.”

Carlos could sympathize with that, especially since meals came so rarely.

“Wait a minute. Before we go, I want to see this box of his,” Mal said, motioning to Carlos.

Carlos was about to argue but decided it was wiser to let Mal have her way. “All right,” he said. “Let me go get it.” He ran through the safe way into his mother’s closet and returned with the machine.

He handed it to Mal, who inspected it closely. She shook it, put it up to her ear, and shrugged. It looked just like a regular box to her, nothing special, and certainly not powerful enough to break through the dome.

“Can you make it work again?” she asked.

“I haven’t tried.”

“Try.”

He hesitated for a moment, then fiddled with a few knobs and looked fearfully up at the ceiling. “Okay. Here we go.” He pressed the switch.

Nothing happened.

He tried again.

Again, nothing.

He shook his head. “Sorry. Maybe it was just a one-time deal.”

Mal crossed her arms, looking stymied. Carlos knew that look—it meant she was about explode. What if Mal thought they were just pulling her leg? Letting her think they had made a discovery, when all along they were just making fun of her? He had to think of something….

“Wanna see the hole in the ceiling?” he offered. If Mal wanted proof, he could give her proof.

Mal thought about it for a minute. “Sure, why not.”

Carlos took them to his tree house, and the four of them inspected the ceiling. It was definitely there, a perfectly round, tiny black hole.

“Rad,” pronounced Jay, bumping fists with Carlos.

Carlos grinned proudly. He was still hugging his new pillow. He was looking forward to trying it out soon. Would he actually sleep through the night for once without tossing and turning?

Mal peered up at the ceiling. “I don’t know how much I believe your little invention actually blasted a hole in the invisible dome, but Jay’s right, we should get going.”

Carlos sighed, unsure of whether to be relieved or distressed. Mal was about to leave the room when the black box on his desk suddenly began to beep.

Beep.

Beep.

Mal turned around and stared at it. “Why’s it doing that?” she asked.

Carlos ran over to check. “I don’t know, but it’s been beeping on and off since it blew a hole in the roof and the dome.”

“Maybe it’s looking for a signal?” said Evie excitedly. “Maybe it senses something.”

“Like what?” he asked, looking down at this invention with something like awe. He never thought it would really work. But if Diablo was right, then this thing of his might have actually broken the magical barrier. And now Evie was hinting at something more? He’d only hoped to get a glimpse of the outside world, not bring magic back into the island.

“Yeah, what do you mean, Evie?” asked Mal.

“Like maybe now it senses the Dragon’s Eye! You said it’s never done this before. Maybe it’s because that’s never happened before. It’s never had anything to talk to,” Evie said, rather astutely.

“You think it could be communicating with the Dragon’s Eye?” asked Mal.

“Like a compass. Or a homing beacon,” said Jay. His eyes gleamed as he studied the machine hungrily, and Carlos put a protective hand on his invention. Jay was most likely already calculating how much he could get for something like it at the shop.

“Could be,” said Evie.

“She might actually have a point,” said Carlos.

“A homing beacon,” echoed Mal.

“I was just guessing,” said Evie. “I don’t know anything about anything.” Carlos wanted to tell her that she was selling herself short, when he realized that he always did the same thing.

“No, you don’t” said Mal sharply. “But you’re still coming with us.”

Evie jumped back. “With you? Where? I agreed to come to Carlos’s, but…” She shook her head and tugged her cloak tightly around her shoulders. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“No way, you have to help us find the Eye,” said Mal. “You’re a natural at this. You’re so good at it. I need help, and you want to help me, don’t you? Don’t you want to be my friend? I want to be yours, Evie.”

“Oh I—I don’t know….”

“Shush! It’s settled. And I’ll take this, thank you very much,” Mal said, reaching for the box.

“No way!” Carlos said, as Mal tried to pull it from him.

Mal tugged it to her side. “Let go, Carlos!” she growled.

He yanked it back. She was not taking it. He’d made it himself!

Mal glared. “I mean it! Let go, or you’ll be sorry!”

Carlos shook his head, trembling all over.

“Fine. You win. Keep the box, Carlos, but you have to come with us if you do!” Mal ordered.

“Come again? Go with you—where?” No way. He wasn’t going anywhere. Especially anywhere dangerous.

[X]

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