Chapter 5

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Ten paces from one end of the room to the other. Forty paces to complete a pass around the perimeter. Quenoor completed the circuit and started again, passing the door. The door sat directly in the middle of the south facing wall. The very ordinary wood door. The door that no matter how hard Quenoor tried he could not open. He couldn't hold the handle long enough to turn it. Blasted thing was solid copper and just wrapping his fingers around it made him almost too weak to move. Not even wrapping his hand in the fabric of this shirt helped.

"Fucking mages." He glared at the door as he passed it again. The room might not look like a prison cell, no bars and no stench, but he knew better. No windows, and the copper doorknob wasn't the only security measure. He could feel the magic radiating from the walls every time he got close.

The jangle of keys outside the door caught his attention. He stopped his pacing and turned to face the door. It swung open to reveal Serenity. She gave him a nod.

"Come, your help is needed."

"Like fucking hell I'll help you." Quenoor glared at her. "I helped that damn mage and look what it got me."

Serenity let out a long sigh. "We simply took precautions. I can let you out if you agree to come take a look at a patient in the infirmary."

"Why? This place is overrun with mages. You self-righteous twits can figure it out."

"Tier'ghan already 'figured it out' but we need someone with your ... experience." Quenoor glowered at Orvil as he walked up behind Serenity. "Come. Charlemain doesn't have much time."

"I expect to be paid for this," Quenoor muttered. "You know what I am, then you know there is a price to pay."

"I also know that you're not the barganing type. You don't belong to the Seelie or Unseelie. You don't ascribe to their customs."

The comment caught Quenoor off guard. "Just who are you?"

Orvil simply smiled and gestured for Quenoor to follow. "Come, you want paid, then do what is asked of you."

The trip to the infirmary took them through a winding route away from the main areas of the campus. Something Quenoor was silently grateful for. He still hadn't been able to restore his glamour and the last thing he wanted was to be gawked at by a bunch of humans. Once inside the infirmary, Serenity led them down a long hall with evenly spaced doors. Convalescence rooms most likely. Magic couldn't solve every problem, and sometimes it caused more.

Serenity stopped at the next to the last door and gestured to it. "I'll be waiting outside. Please do what you can. Charlemain doesn't deserve this."

Orvil opened the door and let them in. The first sight to greet Quenoor was Tier'ghan's grinning face. Stupid mage. What did he have to be grinning about?

"Quenoor! You're okay!" The mage jumped out of the bed he'd been sitting in and rushed over. Quenoor had a fraction of a second to realize what was going to happen before Tier'ghan swept him up in a tight hug. Shock froze him for a moment before an unwelcome rush of heat swept over his face.

"Put me down. Now."

Tier'ghan gave him a last squeeze and then set him on his feet. The smile never left his face. "I've been so worried about you! I hadn't even got to thank you."

"I'm not here for you."

"Right! Charlemain!"

Quenoor flinched as Tier'ghan grabbed his hand and pulled him over to the curtain that divided the room. The warm grip sent a swarm of tingles up his arm. He shrugged it off as latent magic and then forgot about it as Tier'ghan drew back the curtain. He recoiled and if it hadn't been for Tier'ghan's grip on his hand, he would have retreated across the room.

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