Chapter 33: Preparations

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An endless succession of intensive training with Cain, looking after the Dragon egg, sharpening my hand-to-hand combat skills with Rowan and sneaking into dark, abandoned rooms inside the Onyx Tower with him afterwards had left me completely exhausted by Primsí, the holy rest day that concluded the week. Nevertheless, here I was, back at the Lair about fifteen minutes before the clock would strike midnight, to discuss the preparations for the rebels' attack at the Blue Fire's Fair.

Rowan and I were back to being head over heels in love, and I instantly killed any form of doubt that still plagued my mind in the few moments when I had nothing to do. Ellie and Larry were relieved that our little skirmish had been resolved and the four of us had gone out into the city last night to have a drink. Or five. Which was why, despite having gulped down a generous amount of Anti-hangover potion, fatigue still throbbed at the back of my head and fogged my thoughts.

At least I knew now that I had a taste for red wine.

Taylor Ford had been setting forth his ideas for the attack for almost an hour now, although I had barely heard a word of his monologue. Resting my chin on my hands, I stared at a crack in the wooden table and the tiny spider that hid inside it, crawling around with its miniature legs. I was just starting to doze off when someone nudged me with their elbow, making me jump as I quickly blinked the haze out of my eyes. The whole room had gone quiet, all heads turned my way. Ford's sharp eyes narrowed and a deep red blush spread across my face when I realized that he had asked me something and was now waiting for an answer.

"I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" The corners of his mouth crept downward with disapproval and I cringed, but held his gaze nonetheless, too stubborn to be intimidated by his air of superiority.

Ford sighed, not bothering to hide his annoyance with me. "Like I said, recent checks show that we don't possess enough Instant Blaze potion to fill all of our bombs. We need at least twice the amount we currently have, or all of our careful planning will be for naught."

"And what can I do about that?" I ignored the dread that made my stomach churn.

"I need you and your companions to steal more for us."

You've got to be kidding me.

"Why us?" Larry asked. It was the first time he'd spoken up in the presence of the rebels and several people widened their eyes in surprise.

What? I wanted to scream at them. The fact that he doesn't talk doesn't mean that he can't.

"We don't have access to the place where the potion is stored, but the four of you do," Ford explained. "On top of that, the supply you will have to steal is secured by several protective spells, and since Kenna is the only one with magical powers in this rebellion ..."

Although I already had an idea of what the answer would be, I asked the question nevertheless, "Where can we find this supply?"

Ford's gray eyes sparkled with amusement; he enjoyed watching me squirm in the corner which he had driven me into. "The barrels with the potion are locked away in the storage rooms of the Tower of the Honored. We need two more barrels to fill our bombs."

"By the Light," Rowan said, breathless. "You want us to rob the bloody Dark Sorcerers themselves? Do you realize that this could jeopardize the entire plan?"

"I do, soldier." Ford sighed, but I didn't buy his lamenting act. "Yet, I'm afraid there is no plan without those barrels."

This was not what I had signed up for. I balled my fists to stop myself from throwing the pitcher of water that stood in the middle of the table at Ford's arrogant face. I had never wanted to be a part of this rebellion in the first place, much less to risk losing my head by stealing potion from the Dark Sorcerers' stock. Rowan's eyes reflected a similar disinclination to abide by Ford's wishes, though his expression already showed signs of reluctant consent.

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