Chapter Thirteen: Dearest Wish

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Chapter Thirteen:

Dearest Wish

Soren straightened up, grasping his wounded arm in one hand. The power from the red lindworm was absorbing into his body much faster than the blue had mine. Every so often he hissed in pain, but his eyes were clear and he moved without effort.

"Satupoika? Your mother is Satu?" Soren asked.

Seppo nodded. "Yes, she is."

Satu. Satu. I'd heard the name before. I was always brought along to Soren's council meetings as a cupbearer, though my real job was to listen and look for anything that would be of gain to us. One night when one of the goblins had too much to drink he complained about a rejected marriage proposal. Soren had laughed in his face and asked what he expected from Satu, she was the fiercest she-goblin in the realm, after all, and she wasn't about to give that up for some brute seeking her claim.

"You're not a goblin," Soren accused. "Not a human either."

"No," Seppo said, "I'm both."
Both? He wasn't like me. Somehow I could tell that.

He sighed. "You see, when a female and a male love each other very much—and one of them masters the self control needed to not ravage their sexual partner—sometimes, that results in something known as a baby."

"A halfling," Soren snorted with contempt. "Figures Satu would have such an unconventional son."

Seppo raised his eyebrows. "My mother is an unconventional woman."

I looked closer at the halfling. He had sharp eyes and a long nose, ears tapered to tips, but his build was lean and lanky, more like a human's, and when he smiled he bore no fangs. In all my years in the Permafrost, I'd never seen anything like it.

Unconventional was the word Soren used, but I had a feeling he was trying to be polite to our savior. I had a feeling the word he wanted to use was taboo.

Seppo's sapphire eyes latched onto me. "Close your mouth. You'll swallow a bug. Besides, I'd like think this is nothing new to you at all, sweetheart. Considering..." he trailed off but motioned between me and Soren with his little finger.

A choked sound came from Soren, whose hand was still clutching his arm. The puncture wound went deep into his nerves and muscles. His face didn't betray an ounce of pain on his face, but his eyes grew wide a Seppo's words. "Let's talk about my choice of sexual partner another time, shall we?" he grunted. "I don't know if it escaped your notice, but the damn lindworm bit me and the venom usually is fatal."

This time the choked noise came from me. Soren's arm was a nasty shade of yellow and green. Lindworm venom wasn't usually fatal; it was always fatal. It hit me with the force of a tempest and the pain from the fight turned into a much deeper, less physical pain. It could've been me clutching my arm, dying slowly. It should've been me. The newfound feelings inside of me that had taken root during my time with the svartelves churned into a mixture with rage and pain. I could only stare at Soren who turned paler by the second.

He looked down at me. His eyes were soft. "I'll be alright," he said. "I have to be."

"I thought goblins couldn't lie to themselves," I said.

"Well," Seppo pointed out, "he's lying to you. He has a couple hours at least, maybe a day or two. The power he absorbed should keep the venom from killing him for a while. We might be able to figure something out."

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