CHAPTER 36 - Of a Dungeon (Part I)

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I woke up with a start. Letting my eyes adjust to the dim light around me, I sat up straight. But my hands felt heavy and I looked frantically to my sides - my hands were cuffed - thick iron chains affixed to the walls.

Where was I?

I shut my eyes close as the events before I passed out came rushing to me.

Everyone knew.

There would be articles written about it. It was only a matter of time when every person of the Four Realms would know what I was.

I looked at my trembling hands as I realized that Amelia was going to find out too.

Despair hit me anew and I laid my back on the stony floor of the... prison? Was that why it was so cold down here?

Of course, I was in a dungeon. Where else would an evil rare Luesha be?

My stomach growled loudly. And it was freezing. I remembered Ralph's words - The cold bothers the Fire Elementals more.

I clenched my fists tight - if the circumstances were different, I might have lit up my fire. But there was a reek of dead silence all around me and inside of me. As if something had died.

I tugged onto my veins. They were silent. Murdered.

Wards. Of course.

And just like that, the tears broke loose. I slumped down hard against the stony wall and hugged myself closer.

This was not supposed to happen. I had a sister. Who would look after her?

I was supposed to have one small trip to the Winter Palace and go home. Back to doing the chores, looking at the poultry grow, nurturing my backyard garden, working at the Post and at Uncle Barak's coffeeshop.

Being locked up in a dungeon as one of the worst Abomination of the Four Realms, was not the plan.

I did not hold in the tears. I was done. Nothing could be worse than this.

I fell asleep and woke up again. I lost count of the naps I took. But every time that I opened my eyes, nothing changed around me. Just a small plate of hardened bread and cheese appeared, which I devoured to the last crumbs. No guards patrolled around a dangerous, unpredictable Luesha. There was not even a window in the cell wherein was locked up.

Looking at my clothes which were now reduced to a sorry state, I realized just how gruesome my condition was. I was still in the same white tunic and baggy brown trousers, the clothes that I had worn since the day my blood had been taken. The cut on my palm ached but I had no energy to cry over it. I was done.

Leaving me alone with my thoughts was dangerous, as I had come to realize. They now kept wandering to all the astonished faces who had been present to make a verdict on my life.

I had managed to turn the ring of the Conquest into a courtroom.

***

Everyone saw.

I froze.

Everyone knew.

Every single person in the amphitheatre. Every single person saw my Luesha powers.

The gong went off.

"Eleni, what have you done?" A panting hoarse voice spoke besides me.

I was numb. What had I done?

Everyone knew.

Somebody pulled me by my hand. "Stop, wait. There's a misunderstanding."

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