23 | Chapter Twenty Three

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Bitter amendments.

For a few weeks now, Connor has been on edge, hoping that with each passing day, Michael would send his approval to cast the Paladin memory spell. But while he sat in the lounge of his dorm, raking his eyes over the mahogany interior, slouching in the dark crimson leather seats, he realised today was another day of shattered hopes.

"Damnit," said Connor, letting out a lingering sigh. "With no signs of Michael, guess today is another day wasted."

This approval was a long shot, and Connor knew that due to the commotion at the Citadel. He had gotten a fair idea that the issues with the shadows have now taken his brother's full attention and that he may never get to use the spell to give Macey peace of mind. Connor quickly rose to his feet, letting an adornment fall from his breast pocket, listening to the metal jewellery clatter and resonate.

Connor gasped. "I forgot I even had this. Perhaps I should ask Shaz if she knows anything about it.

He clicked the intricate watch open, checking for any damage to the unknown item before placing it back into his pocket. His attention then looked over to the slowly opening door, furrowing his brows at Iza who held a few books in his arms.

"Oh," said Iza, taken back at Connors appearance while placing his books on a nearby bench. "Thought you'd be out and about. Or..."

He tilted his head to the side then began to squint at Connor. Iza then folded his arms and shook his head, looking somewhat dazed and confused.

"You look extremely tired." Iza then pinched at his chin and sighed. "Something has been troubling you. Is it the Citadel?"

Connor shook his head, biting at his tongue. "It's not. I have uh ... other pressing matters."

Iza let out a low chuckling sound, sitting himself down at the bench he put his books on. "I'm concerned about your lack of sleep which is leading to insomnia. You know these walls are thin, and I can hear you talking to yourself at three in the morning."

Am I up that late? Connor brushed his fingers through his hair, perplexed at what Iza just told him. He knew that he was up at late hours in the night, attempting to figure out Macey's problems somehow. Connor didn't know how much she had consumed his line of thought with her mere presence. All he wanted to do was see her smile again and to not worry about a single thing.

"I apologise," Connor said while he yawned. "I didn't mean to keep you up so late."

Iza smiled. "It's fine. These events must be significant if it's got you up at the crack of dawn."

Connor felt a smile stretch along his face, shaking his head softly to the side. "Yeah. They're a real headache to deal with."

"You sounds like my father." Iza's chirpy demeanour quickly turned sullen as his shoulders became squared and his gaze downcast. "He's been researching the cause of the shadows for what feels like years now. My mother only recently halted her findings to look after my siblings."

His fingers kept fiddling against each other, then Iza let out a slow lingering chuckle. "It's got me thinking that maybe I should head back home and help look after my family. Perhaps study to be a White Enhancer another time."

It's very rare that Connor has seen Iza so gloom. It gave him a somewhat twisted feeling in the depths of his gut, making him crease his face in confusion. Nothing excited the ice sage quite like becoming a White Enhancer, but helping people out was his true calling — especially his own family.

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