THIRTY SIX

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THE HOUSE FELT SO EMPTY without Caelan's presence in it

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THE HOUSE FELT SO EMPTY without Caelan's presence in it. Ravenna shuddered, and hugged her arms tighter to her chest. It was a strange notion for her mind to process, as she had been with Caelan for quite a while now. It was strange to be by herself now. Even when staying at the tavern, there had always been someone nearby, whether that be Vyses or a random drunkard. The loneliness of before had faded from the forefront of her mind, lingering only in the depths of her memories.

Being entirely alone now, however, seemed to drag that loneliness back to the surface of her thoughts.

She took a seat atop the stool that stood near his desk. Her eyes raked over the various scrolls that covered his desk. She pursed her lips. For a moment, she didn't touch anything. She just listened to the quiet of the household.

A muted thud disturbed the silence. Ravenna glanced toward the window. Her lips pressed into a firm line as she watched Henry the Thief attempt to steal another batch of carrots from the garden.

This time, Ravenna let him. She stood and wandered toward the kitchen in search of food, of something to really take her mind off the loneliness. It didn't take her long to rummage together some ingredients for a stew. As she prepared her meal, she watched Henry fumble about the garden. She found that if she listened hard enough, she could even hear his whispered curses.

As Ravenna ate, a seed of curiosity sprouted within her. She couldn't help but wonder more about the spell that Caelan was perfecting, or about that ingredient he'd rushed out to get. She knew his end goal with the spell --to create a being entirely of magic, to act as a servant around the household. Yet she couldn't help but muse over the possibilities of the spell. If in the wrong hands, a multitude of magical servants could very well turn into an army of powerful warriors.

When she finished eating, she cleaned her dishes and returned to Caelan's office. There would be more information about the spell in his office, even if it was just his notes. Not to mention that she couldn't help but feel more relaxed in his office. She could still smell him, still feel him there almost. It calmed her hectic nerves.

She started with his desk, poking around at the scrolls that sat atop it. Most of them were stained with age and torn around the edges. A few even had a hole or two within the paper. The scrolls didn't seem to have much to do with the spell, however. There weren't any scribbles or notes that had been recently added. Pulling a drawer open, Ravenna rummaged through the items inside the desk. There wasn't much. A jar of rabbit feet here, a collection of blank scrolls there. Each drawer seemed to reveal something different. By the time she found a jar of discarded snake skins, Ravenna felt ready to move on.

As she stood, her hip bumped against the desk. She heard a small, metallic click. Her eyebrows furrowed as she surveyed the desk again. She'd already gone through all the drawers.

Her hand lifted and ran along the underside of the desk. An unexpected ledge met her fingertips. She squatted down and peered under, too curious for her own good. The underside of the desk seemed to have split in half. A portion of it had moved aside, ever so slightly, so that she could see a small lever attached to the side of the desk.

She hesitated at first, and then pulled on it anyways.

There was another click. She poked her head over the edge of the desk, just in time to see an opening appear in its surface. The scrolls atop the desk seemed to move around it, avoiding the hole on their own accord. She stood. Within the opening was a slender black book. She picked it up, surprised as it was only about the size of her palm. She'd never seen a book so small before.

It opened easily, and she recognized Caelan's handwriting inside. Confusion surged through her. It was not the leather-bound book that he usually scribbled his notes in.

The notes that were written within this book seemed disjointed, almost like a puzzle. It wasn't like the spell-book that Ravenna had, where it had a mind of its own. The words within this book were simply written as an encryption. It was just Caelan's heavily guarded way of thinking.

Her eyebrows furrowed. She flipped through the pages, struggling to read what was written. She knew enough about Caelan to know that this book held the information she was looking for. It was just difficult to decode.

Disappointment fluttered through her after a while, when she felt a headache brewing at the depths of her mind. Closing the book, she returned it to its spot within the desk and flipped the lever. There was no need to stress about it tonight, she reminded herself. She had several days to attempt to learn about Caelan's spell.

She entered her bedroom slowly, lost in thought about Caelan's spell, and what he'd said earlier about her magic. It bothered her that he still didn't seem impressed with her ability to control her ice. It also bothered her that he seemed inconsistent with his lesson. At first he wanted her to completely control her ice, despite her emotions. Now he wanted her to have more emotion when controlling her ice. It made everything incredibly confusing for her.

As she took a seat in her chair, she couldn't help but wonder whether Vyses would be consistent with his teaching style. He already seemed more up front with his teaching style, at least in comparison to Caelan's secretive lessons.

She pulled her knees to her chest and sighed. There would be no sleep tonight, even with Caelan's protective spells hard at work. She wasn't sure what exactly she wanted to do to pass the time. She supposed she could practice some of the sword movements that Vyses had taught her. Her stomach twisted.

The moment that she stood, her gaze flickered toward the spell-book.

It was unlocked.

Thank you for your continued patience and support! Remember if you ever want to read ahead (or just read a better quality version of this book) that this story is also available on Tapas! There are a solid 71 parts available right now :) <3

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Thank you for your continued patience and support! Remember if you ever want to read ahead (or just read a better quality version of this book) that this story is also available on Tapas! There are a solid 71 parts available right now :) <3

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