Feel the Burn Page 54

Izzy—General Izzy—studied Gaius coldly. “Those were days past, Rebel King. With your sister back, many say you’ve . . . lost your edge.”

“And what do you think?” he asked her. “Do you think I’ve lost my edge?”

Her smile small, Izzy again took Gaius’s arm and continued toward the main table. “I think Duke Salebiri had best pray that you have.”

Talan pushed open the door to his sister’s room and walked in. Sitting up in the bed, she was in complete darkness. Even the pitfire was not lit, nor any candles or wall torches.

And, in that darkness, she gazed forlornly out the open window.

“Could you possibly look more pathetic?” he asked, in no mood for one of his sister’s dark episodes.

“Get out.”

Talan lifted his hand and, with a wave, lit all the candles and torches and the pitfire.

“Do stop feeling sorry for yourself,” he ordered her.

“I want to feel sorry for myself. I want to sit in the dark and be miserable.” Talwyn snapped her fingers and everything went out again.

Becoming truly annoyed, Talan flicked a finger and brought the light back. Snarling a little, Talwyn snapped. Growling back, Talan flicked. And it went on like that for so long that when Rhi walked in carrying a tray of food for Talwyn, the siblings were about to start lobbing the giant fireballs they held at each other.

“Stop that!” Rhi slammed the tray down on a nearby table. “Right now!” She clapped her hands together and the fireballs fizzled out. “Are you trying to set the whole house on fire?”

“She’s being a prat.”

“You’re being a right bastard!”

Talan geared up to start lobbing things at his sister again, Talwyn more than happy to fight back, her fingers twitching.

Rhi stomped across the room and pressed her hand against Talwyn’s wounded leg. The pain she was feeling as the bone quickly knitted itself together with the help of Morfyd’s magicks slashed through Talan’s system. Rhi was allowing him to feel what his sister was feeling but, in Talwyn’s usual way, refused to show anyone.

Talan dropped to one knee, unable to support his weight on that wounded leg.

Looking up at his sister, he asked, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Tell you what?”

“That you were in so much pain?”

“Pain is a part of life.”

“See?” he told her, again lighting everything with a flick of his finger. “This is why I want to throw fireballs at you. Pain is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. Or, even worse, wallow in that pain.”

“It does when you’ve been an idiot.”

Rhi winced for Talwyn and asked, “Because you tried to kill your mother?”

Talwyn looked down at her hands, shrugged. “She made me mad,” she admitted.

“The big thing is,” Talan noted, moving over to the bed and sitting next to his sister as the pain he’d felt eased away, “is that she never got mad.”

“What?”

“Our mother is rage. Especially in a fight. But with you . . . she was calm, controlled . . . precise. Plus, I’ve never seen her fight like that before. Those new skills she has, combined with this newfound control of hers, just made her attacks on you more devastating. You need to find out what she did to get like that. Who she’s been training with, learning from. And then you need to start learning too. Learn everything you can.”

“He’s right,” Rhi agreed, placing the tray of food on Talwyn’s lap. “I’m sure if you talk to Auntie Annwyl—”

“How can I talk to her?” Talwyn asked, clearly ashamed. “I tried to kill her.”

“Oh, come on! You act like you’re the first in the family to try. You, sister, are not the first and, honestly, I doubt you’ll be the last.”

Rhi gave a sad little nod. “He’s right.”

“You’ll sit here. By Annwyl,” Izzy said, tapping the chair.

Gaius cringed. “Do I have to?”

“Of course. She’s the queen and you’re a king. Grandmum will be up here with you as well.” She leaned in and whispered, “But don’t worry. Annwyl mostly reads at these things. And Grandmum is too busy sniping with Ghleanna about . . . well . . . everything to bother paying any attention to you at all.”

“Excellent.” He took Izzy’s hand and kissed the back of it. “As always, General Iseabail, it’s been a delight. You’ll have to save me a dance tonight.”

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