“How is she?”

Aisha quietly closed the door to the bedroom before answering Sarah.

“She’s resting. Physically, she seems whole.”

“I think we should have Rebecca look her over.”

“Later. After she’s recovered her strength a little.”

“Very well,” Sarah reluctantly agreed. “Did you secure the crystal?”

Aisha pointed at the coffee table in the middle of the living room. “In the box, just like you asked. What is it?”

“If my guess is correct, it’s a chaos crystal. I noticed it in her hands the second time she appeared in front of me.”

“Chaos crystal?”

“Physical concentration of chaos magic. Highly unstable. I’ve only heard of them, never seen one.”

“But you’re not a chaos mage, are you? How did you know what it was?”

“No,” Sarah chuckled. “But Julia’s old mentor was.”


“Jason. And my teacher made certain I learned about other types of magic.”

“So what does it do?”

“It’s chaos magic, so it can do almost anything. However, without proper training, it’s nearly impossible to control. Do you know where she got it?”

Aisha was taken aback by the question. “I’m not certain. I know I didn’t give it to her.”

“I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I simply want to learn as much about this as possible.”

Aisha wasn’t feeling defensive but surprise. She recognized Julia’s handiwork in the crystal, but either Sarah didn’t, or she wasn’t sure. Either way, she didn’t know if Julia would want that information to be shared, so Aisha remained silent.

“Well, let’s go talk to her.” Sarah took a step towards the bedroom door, but Aisha quickly blocked her way.

“Absolutely not.”

“Aisha, I know you’re worried about her, but I need her. The House needs her.”

Aisha didn’t move. “This is your House, and I respect that. But she has been through something I can only imagine was incredibly traumatic. Your priority is the House. My priority is Julia. She needs rest.”

“But . . .”

“No. There will be time for other things later.”

“Aisha . . .” Sarah studied her, looking for any opening in the other woman’s resolve. “Alright, alright. I’ll wait. I’m going to take the crystal, though. For safekeeping.”

“That’s fine.”

Sarah took several steps towards the door to the hallway, then stopped and turned back to Aisha. “I hope you’re right, that there’s still time. I don’t know how much we actually have.”

“I’ll let you know when she wakes.”


After Sarah left, Aisha sat with her feet up on the couch and her knees below her chin. A few tears rolled down her cheeks. It was relief, mostly. Relief that she had Julia back. Relief that she could take care of her.

After a few minutes, she got off the couch and went into the bedroom. Walking over to the door on the far side, she took a green crystal out of her pocket and inserted it into the handle. The door opened into the cabin they shared.

Aisha gently lifted Julia, still sleeping, off the bed and carried her into the cabin. It was the only place she could be certain they would be safe. At least until Julia woke up. She placed Julia on the bed and then laid down next to her to wait for her to open her eyes.

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