Chapter 32: All's Well That Ends Well

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"So you really are as powerful as they say," Cain mused, handing me a warm cup of tea with honey. We sat together on the ground, leaning against one of the tall bookcases. A faint tremble in my fingers caused me to spill some of the tea when I took the cup, but at least the nausea and vertigo had faded away. "With only two or three exceptions, myself included, your magic generated more True Darkness than I've ever witnessed in all the time I've walked this earth."

"What good is such a power if I can't even keep it under control?" I sipped at my tea and closed my eyes as I savored the sweet taste of the honey.

"You'll learn to, once you're ready to open yourself up to it." The look in his amber eyes was too intense, too fiery, so I averted my gaze, feeling a treacherous heat warm up my cheeks.

"Does this mean that we're done for today?"

He sighed, scratching his chin. "We are." He got up and held out his hand to help me, but I put my hand on the bookcase instead and used it to push myself up. My silent proclamation of independence produced a small smile on his lips. "Same place, same time tomorrow. Don't be late, little Sorceress." With those words, he turned around and strode out of the library.

Shaking my head to chase away the re-emerging dizziness, I stumbled up the stairs toward my room. A quick glance at the fireplace taught me that my egg was still doing fine. I knelt down in front of it and stared at the black scale, translucent in the light of the flames. A small figure with two recognizable wings was visible on the inside. I smiled, feeling an inexplicable joy rush through me at the sight of the baby Dragon.

A knock on my door startled me. "Come in," I said, grabbing the fire utensils and turning the egg once more in its bed of flames. My mouth involuntarily curled up into a broad smile when I saw Larry idling in the doorway. "Hi, Larry." I beckoned him to come further into the room.

"Hey, lassie." His blue eyes scanned my pale face. "Is everything all right?"

"Just a bit tired, that's all." I deemed it best not to tell him about Cain's first lesson. Besides, I had my suspicions that that was not the reason why he was here anyway. My heart sank, a heavy weight pressing on my chest.

He fumbled with the hem of his tunic, as though he was preparing himself for an uncomfortable conversation. I sat down on my bed and patted the spot next to me. Sinking down onto the soft mattress, he took a deep breath. "Rowan looked rather upset when I saw him this morning. He barely said a word to Ellie and me at breakfast before stalking off, mumbling something about training. We also noticed that you were missing, although we knew you had a training session with Cain, but—"

"Larry, breathe." He gave me an apologetic look, and I grinned. "What are you trying to say?"

He sighed. "Are you and Rowan okay?"

Now it was my turn to lower my gaze and fidget with my clothes. "Not really."

Neither of us spoke for a moment. Larry's hand landed on mine, putting a stop to my frantic movements. When I looked up, sympathy softened his gaze. "Does this have anything to do with the rebellion?"

I swallowed past the lump in my throat. "Yes." 

Larry's face was a paragon of pure kindness and I realized that still waters really ran deep. Larry might not talk that often, but I had long discovered that he was thoughtful and fair, and a loyal friend as well. I could be honest with him about the chaos in my head and he wouldn't judge me. Not like Rowan and Ellie perhaps would.

"I don't want to do this, Larry. This attack they're planning ... It won't end well. Not for the rebels, at least. I won't be able to distract Cain like they want me to, because he'll see right through me, through the facade that I put up for him, just like he sees through everything ..." My whole body convulsed with tearless sobs, and Larry's hand rubbed my back while he listened to my rambling. "I'm scared, Larry. It seems like Rowan has forgotten everything the Seer told me—and Ellie too. Now that he's reunited with his mother, all Rowan can think about is freeing her from the chains that bind her to the Dark Sorcerers and he doesn't care that he's sacrificing me in the process. He and Ellie more or less forced me into cooperating, but this is not the way the Dark Sorcerers are supposed to go down. The rebels' plan will fail. It's destined to fail, Larry, because only I can defeat the Dark Sorcerers."

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