Algernon’s dark gaze pierced her—intense, yet too solemn to be a glare. “I’m aware. That’s why I’ve come here: so you may have your answers.”
Elon began to lift Carissa into the wagon, but she stiffened. Elon said, “We need to load up, Carissa. The caravan is leaving. And if we share a wagon with Algernon, we’ll get to hear his answers.”
She nodded, and with Elon’s assistance, clambered into the wagon. He climbed in after her.
Algernon cleared his throat. “Carissa. I’m sorry for hurting you. You have to know that was never my intention.”
The muscles in her jaw tightened. “No. Your intention was to hurt my husband.”
“You have to agree that he was at least partially responsible—”
“I don’t agree at all. It was your fault for allowing her to join us. Or for joining us in the first place when Elon had warned you—”
The wagon lurched forward as the caravan began to move, and Carissa gripped Elon’s arm to steady herself. Dirt clouded the air, thickening in only seconds. Lands, she hated Esmeray.
Carissa grabbed a blanket from the floorboard and wrapped it around her head, trying to shield her eyes and nose. They traveled in silence for a few moments, low tones of hushed conversation, the plodding of horse hooves, and the squeak of wagon wheels the only noise in the otherwise dead forest.
She turned to glance at Algernon.
“Say a man is walking the street one night with a companion. A robber jumps from the shadows, chases one of the men down, and stabs him seven times before taking his money. His companion stands by and watches, and the wounded man dies. Who is responsible for his death?”
“No. The robber is responsible for his murder. Both the robber and his companion are responsible for his death.” He jutted his chin at Elon. “So is he responsible for my sister’s death.”
“No, he’s not. If you’d just listened—”
“And do you think I knew what was at stake, Carissa? That I’d sacrifice my sister’s life by simply desiring to help you—even if it were a desire stemming from selfishness? If Elon had bothered to inform me of the consequences of my decisions, don’t you think I would have listened?” He raised his eyebrows. “The yare wolves may have been responsible for killing Kybelle, but Elon is responsible for allowing it.”