TWENTY TWO

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RAVENNA MANAGED TO get through a third of the book before a knock sounded on her door

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RAVENNA MANAGED TO get through a third of the book before a knock sounded on her door. Brows furrowed, she folded the corner of the page and set the book aside. Light streamed through the windows, illuminating her room. She made her way toward the door and opened it. Caelan stood in the hallway, his arms folded across his chest. His gaze scanned her over and his eyebrows furrowed. "Did I wake you?" he asked.

Ravenna leaned against the doorframe. "No," she said, shaking her head. "I was reading. What did you need?"

His eyebrow arched. "The spell book remained unlocked the entire night?"

Ravenna snorted. "No. I have more than one book to read."

He nodded. Amusement shimmered within his eyes. "Your breakfast is cold."

She blinked. She hadn't even noticed the sun rise. "It is?"

"It is. I was about to prepare lunch. I just wanted to see if you planned to eat at all today."

"I had planned on it," she said. She glanced back behind her shoulder, at the fiction book. A small part of her wondered whether food was really necessary.

"Come have lunch then," Caelan said. He started toward the stairs. "Once we are finished, I will return to my study. If you have nothing else to do for the day, I could use an assistant."

Ravenna followed after him. "For the spell?"

"Not the spell," he said. "A spell. I found a spell that I thought might benefit you."

"What is it?"

Caelan didn't answer. He led her down the stairs, toward the kitchen. As they entered the room, Ravenna noticed a plate of fruits and toasted bread sitting on the table. Her lips pressed together. "Thank you for fixing me a plate," she said as she picked it up.

He hummed. "Is there anything in particular that you would like for lunch?"

She shook her head. "Anything is fine with me."

He nodded. He started to move about the kitchen, collecting random ingredients. She cleared the plate and set it into a wash bucket. As she began to scrub at the dishware, Caelan began to tear apart a head of lettuce.

"So what's that spell supposed to do?" she asked as she dried the plate and put it away.

Caelan chopped a few vegetables and mixed them with the lettuce. "It's a defense spell. It's fairly simple, but it will prove useful should you be attacked."

Ravenna nodded and watched as he divided the concoction of vegetables onto two plates. He drizzled a yellowed oil over it and then carried both plates toward the table. He sat down across from Ravenna and passed her a plate.

Lunch went by quickly. Ravenna tore through the food on her plate, her stomach ravenous from the lack of breakfast. She didn't hesitate to fix herself a second plate. Caelan watched her eat, his expression amused. When they were both finished, and the plates were cleaned, Caelan lead her toward his study. As they entered, Ravenna blinked. "What happened here?" she asked, surprised.

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