Chapter 22 (40th of Taru-Des in the year 6198)

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Rise the storm

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Rise the storm. Roar like a lion. Fly like a dragon. And be the light of this world.

Proverb 7

From his perch on the balcony, Anthony kept a watchful eye on Reane as she mingled around the floor of the palace's cavernous main ballroom

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From his perch on the balcony, Anthony kept a watchful eye on Reane as she mingled around the floor of the palace's cavernous main ballroom. They'd already spent time in several of the smaller halls, but as the hours wore on, Reane and Sheala had moved to where the big fish were. He tried to stay out of the view of the other guests, feeling that the patch over his eye was drawing attention.

"I really don't understand those two," he complained to Brentai as Reane worked with a new group of potential targets.

Swirling a glass of wine in his hand, Brentai smiled. He kept his attention on Sheala, who relegated herself to working more one on one. "It's a complex friendship. They're really two of a kind."

"But this is madness. If one of them gets caught, there's no way to escape. Neither one of them blends in very well."

"The night is still young, my friend. As it progresses and they feel that the chances increase of meeting someone the other already has, they'll move to more escapable positions. You should be so lucky to get the chance to see one or both of them get out of real trouble. They're both bright women. Quick thinkers on their feet. They've done this many times."

Anthony noted how gracefully Reane's hand moved as she picked a coin from the purse of one of the men she was conversing with. If he had not done his own share of picking pockets over the years, it would have been all but unnoticeable. All the while she kept everyone's attention distracted with flourishes of her other hand. He admired the way she moved. The way she was so nonchalant about what she was doing. She fascinated him, and it showed enough that Brentai noticed.

Reane's First Mate turned his back to the gala below and leaned against the marble railing. "You know, Reane would kill me if she found out I told you this. But I think she's taken a liking to you."

"What?" As the words settled into Anthony's mind, a thought of Daphney raced into his head to push out what he was currently thinking. He remembered the gentle girl he had left behind. The way she smiled. The way she cared so much about him and how he cared so much about her. "No, I don't believe that."

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