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Chapter 43: In Which It's All A Piece Of Bread

I smirked and got to my feet, wondering, not for the first time, what the old man would say if he weren't obligated to say the right thing.

"Good night," I said and left his bedroom without waiting for a reply.

My heart felt watery in my chest as I made my way through the winding corridors down to my room. It was clearer to me now more than before what had motivated Harlock Cooper to go so far as kill himself so that he could have revenge. Along with this knowledge I was strangely exhilarated, for I knew for the very first time what I had to do, what I wanted to do.

I wanted to find the man capable of killing an infant girl - Luenelaine's killer. I wanted to know who he was, I wanted to see the whites of his eyes and find a tender place in his soul that I would fill with suffering. Suddenly every Wielder in the Tournament seemed a likely suspect; I passed their names and faces through my mind's eye, daring them to show me their true colours.

I changed and got into my bed, my blood bubbling with sinister excitement. I would rip my opponents apart; I would bring shame to them, I would destroy their names and their pride. I was going to win tomorrow, and always.

Even in my sleep that night, my mind was occupied with anger.

***

We strode down the corridor in the direction of our waiting room and had to pause and move aside to allow the passage of several people in Jumma outfits carrying two stretchers with two limp men in them. It was Fordalios and Malvidas of Jumma, two magicians who had made quite a name for themselves. Whether they deserved their reputations was up for speculation for they were both unconscious and dripping wet.

Burgen whistled between his teeth when they were out of earshot and shook his head. "I would have loved watching that fight, wonder what Kir-Moot did to them."

"Only the worst," I promised. I was less concerned about how badly beaten those two were, what interested me was the fact that they were wet. Water, in one form or another, was a hint of the terrain.

"Kir-Mootians are ruthless people," I added, the memory of a particular slave trader making me feel a little queasy.

"At least they train their women Wielders as well though."

I nodded, Burgen and I were of the same opinion on that matter. It was a waste not to allow women to become magicians. "Even though they're still ruthless."

"Maybe the women more so," Burgen said. I nodded, knowing which woman in particular he was referring to.

"You shouldn't concern yourselves with such irrelevant matters," said the Grand Master's voice from behind us. We both stopped and turned and waited for him to limp his way towards us, his cane clicking on the tiled floor. "There are only two things you need to be discussing. One is Gruitfeld and the other is Effe."

Burgen and I exchanged glances, I could not help myself, I shrugged.

"We've already discussed that," I said.

"Deeply," Burgen added helpfully.

"Oh?" asked the skeptical Grand Master.

"Burgen'll take down one," I said, "I'll take down the other, and that's it, it's going to be a piece of bread."

"Cake," Burgen corrected.

"We didn't have cake in the streets. we said bread," I paused, "Although, if you think about it, we didn't have that either."

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