Chapter Thirteen, Secrets

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"The girl's power is already massive

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"The girl's power is already massive. Not even her father could do what she did tonight," Reyortsed paced slowly past Gregk the demon, concealing his true opinions with a cool and collected demeanor. "It is remarkable that such strength should develop over such a small stretch of time. Had you crossed her path now instead of when you did, you wouldn't have survived.

"I consider myself lucky, then," growled the demon in his gravelly and ancient voice. "She's more than she knows, which makes her even more dangerous than if she did, since the Guardians place ethics above a quick victory."

"Intuitive as always, my friend," Reyortsed said, pressing his fingers against the sudden searing in his shoulder. "Excuse me a moment."

Reyortsed guided his strong and slender frame gracefully out the door into his private chambers before allowing himself an irritated grimace of pain, angered by his own weakness.

I should be able to handle this better, but it only gets worse. Reyortsed reached out a shaking hand and grasped a bottle of ointment from behind a secret panel. He ripped his shirt away from his shoulder and began rubbing the foul-smelling solution into the strange birthmark on his shoulder that had given him pain for years.

No, not pain. I know pain, better than most. This is different, like a part of me fighting another to the death, burning its way free.

The pain dulled and Reyortsed started to straighten his shirt, but instead traced the red and angry mark with his finger:

Suddenly, something in his mind clicked.

***

The mark on Bennie's shoulder tingled with an itch as she walked along through Pelanca after their debriefing about the Blackout. At the same time she reached to scratch at it, she noticed Perce going for the matching tattoo on his finger. If he had seen her look, he did a good job of pretending not to notice.

What the heck was that all about?

She stopped to buy a bracelet at a street kiosk on her way out that matched her moonstone necklace.

"Very nice," Perce said as Gem helped Bennie clasp the bracelet on. "We'll have to go sightseeing in Pelanca one of these days, and go to the beach."

"I'm just glad that in Pelanca they take any currency and exchange it for you instead of—what beach?" Bennie said.

"And here I thought we went over all this already," Perce grinned. "How when Pelanca was created this island was built?"

"Yeah, I guess I never thought about it," Bennie said. "What else is there beside the island on this plane of existence?"

"Only the island is known," Perce said. "No one has ever come back from sailing to the horizon on the silver seas, but the beach and the surrounding sea is a nice vacation spot for Guardians."

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