Chapter 2

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It was sunlight that finally woke Dyson. He wanted to stay in bed, reminisce in the memories of his dream for just a tiny bit longer, but it was too bright out to ignore. Still, he was reluctant to let the images go just yet. He couldn't help but wonder, had it even been a dream?

He sat up straight at the realisation that it probably hadn't been one. It had felt real, it must have been real. He hadn't seen Kasia for so long, he couldn't even put a number on it, yet there she had been. Somehow less than she used to be, but still her in every way. Deep, dark eyes, messy hair, curious mind. Right in front of him, yet worlds away.

When she had spotted him in the mirror, he could feel that she recognised him. Of course, he also knew that she couldn't remember him, but on some level of her consciousness he was still there, still in her mind somewhere. How could any of it even have happened? Dyson closed his eyes again, trying to conjure up the image of Kasia. He pushed aside her smile, the light in her eyes when they met his and tried to focus on her surroundings instead. There was clutter all around, things he wouldn't ever have associated with Kasia in his memories. It took him a while to remember that she had held something that had looked familiar when the connection was first established. A warm feeling on his wrist brought him back to reality and simultaneously answered his question – the bracelet.

Questions toppled over each other in Dyson's mind. The bracelet of worn leather set with a magnificent example of a Tiger Stone had been his constant companion since he entered this place, he never even took it off. Relics from this realm rarely made it back to the humans, but somehow Kasia must have found one. It was too weird to be a mere coincidence, but he had no other explanation. She probably didn't even know what it was she had found. He couldn't believe his luck and had to stifle a hearty laugh when he felt someone move beside him in bed. His heart skipped a beat, but Alaya had only moved in her sleep. Dyson turned to look at her and waited for any other movement, but there was only the soft sound of her breathing. Lying there, without the wings and armour, Alaya almost looked peaceful, but Dyson wasn't fooled. She could never find out about what had just happened.

***

Kasia woke up with one of the worst hangovers of her life. Groggily she kicked off her sheets and tried to roll out of bed, just to land belly down on the floor. What had happened? Why did her hand throb along with her headache, as if it were some sort of competition to see which one could annoy her more?

A warm pulse on her wrist jolted her memory and she instantly sat up straight. Last night had been crazy. There were still angry red marks in the shape of half-moons on her hand from Madame Flora's iron grip, but somehow she was glad that the lady had at least given her the bracelet for her ordeals. Her grandfather always used to say that certain gems and stones had an energy about them, which, depending on the owner, one could almost feel on a physical level. She used to play with his collection when she had still been little, but nothing of the sorts had ever happened back then. She jotted it down to the eccentrics of an old man, but now, she wished she could tell him that he had been right. There was no other way to describe it than a second heartbeat, a steady companion that made her feel strangely safe.

The longer she concentrated on the stone, the more her headache seemed to vanish. She felt at ease, calm, maybe even a semblance of happy. Deep down, Kasia knew she should tell someone about what had happened. She even had the feeling that there was someone in particular she was supposed to talk to, but when she tried to imagine that person, the thought just slipped away from her. Who would even believe such an insane story? Instead she decided to clean the cuts on her hand, because she was pretty sure that she had been too beat to do it properly when she got home. But when she stood up, a jolt went through her wrist, the shock had definitely made her skip a heartbeat.

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