"Where's the fire?" Luke asked, coming to my side. He'd followed me out of the store and had to jog a bit to catch up.

He must've been feeling better if he was running—it wasn't something he'd been able to do prior to seeing the healer.

"That place freaked me out."

"The place or the healer?"

"A bit of both," I admitted.

"What did she say to you? At the door when she gave you that pouch?"

I still held it tightly against my chest. "It was nothing." I looked over at him, and he raised an eyebrow.

"Okay, it was something. A warning. She said, the awakening is 'coming upon' me and that it will try and consume me. Or something."

His expression turned grim.

"What's the awakening?" I asked, not quite sure I wanted to hear the answer.

"In gypsy lore, it's considered a time when you open yourself up to the spirits—when the dark magics run wild in your blood. It's part of learning the Death Arts, but that's when you need to be especially careful. The spirits and the magic...they can take you over, they can overwhelm you. They can change you."

"Swell," I mumbled under my breath. Another thing to worry about. I might finally learn the Death Arts only to be consumed by them?

We walked the rest of the way to the corner in silence. A cab headed in our direction. Luke raised a hand and stepped off the curb to flag it down. He opened the cab door for me, and I scrambled in.

"So what now?"

"We go back to the apartment and check on Darla."

"And after that?"

"You go home and then come back in a few weeks when my uncle is back, and he can get you started on your training."

I looked at him in shock. "You said you could help me."

"Colina, I know what I said."

"You took my money. You promised to teach me." I forced the words out between clenched teeth. I'd been a fool to trust him. But not only had I started to trust him, I'd come to believe he was starting to like me. I felt like an idiot.

"I did, but it was a mistake. I should never have promised to teach you. Only the elders in the guild can do this type of teaching—men and women who have been practicing the Death Arts for years. For me to teach you... It wouldn't be safe. The gypsies aren't wrong. Dealing with the Death Arts can be dangerous."

I shook my head and tried to calm the panic I felt rising within me. "I can't wait a couple weeks."

"Why?" he demanded.

I had started to believe I had a chance to get out of this whole mess in one piece. But now I knew I had no one to turn to, no one to help me. I was totally alone in this, and at the thought, a deep despair filled me. I turned and looked out the window of the cab. I said in a quiet voice, "You said you'd teach me."

"It's just a few weeks, and then my uncle will be back."

I needed to make Luke understand that I was out of time.

* * *

We made it back to the apartment. Darla fussed over Luke, and he looked annoyed, so I tried to stay out of their way.

I was still trying to get my head around what Luke told me in the cab. If he refused to teach me, I would have no choice but to go out on my own and try to find someone else to guide me in the Death Arts. But who? Where would I go? Home was no longer an option. I could demand my money back and head out into the streets. At the thought, I felt panic in the pit of my stomach.

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