Chapter Nine: Jasmine

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My head could have only been resting on my pillow for a few seconds before there was a sharp knock at my door. "Time you were up, Jasmine. We need to be at the temple in half an hour." I groaned into my pillow. I had to live with the one person who needed to get to the temple two hours before morning prayers actually started.

Usually getting up early didn't bother me too much, but I'd had so little sleep and it was freezing outside this early that the prospect of leaving my comfortable, warm, bed was proving rather more difficult than normal. The knowledge that I would have to go straight from prayers to 'Operation Clean Up' in the city centre wasn't doing much to entice me to get up either.

I sighed and resisted the urge to tunnel down further inside my covers and instead forced myself to get straight out of bed. The longer I stayed in it, the harder it would become to make myself get up. I hit the shower straight away, turning the temperature up as far as it would go and letting the warm water wake me up gently. I changed into the standard white dress I had to wear for prayers and put my hair back. I then shoved a thick beige cardigan into a bag for afterwards and went downstairs to find Noni.

She was in the kitchen, finishing off her breakfast.

"Morning, Noni." I grabbed a mug of steaming liquid from the counter and sat down at the table.

"Good morning, sleepy head. You're late up today."

"And you're strangely cheery for someone who has only had three hours sleep," I replied, eying the clock on the wall.

"Ah, young people nowadays have no stamina. When I was your age I could stay up dancing all night and still look as though I'd had my full eight hours in the morning. That was the only way to make sure my parents didn't work out that I hadn't been in bed!" She winked at me and got up to leave. "I'll see you in a few. Finish up as quickly as you can. Caleb won't be happy if you're late."

"I know," I groaned, looking down at my breakfast. I could hear her chuckling as she made her way down the corridor.

"Are you not ready yet?" Caleb demanded when he poked his head through the door a few minutes later.

"Not quite. Go ahead without me. I'll catch you up soon." He didn't look happy with the arrangement but there was nothing else he could do about it, so he went back out grumbling.

"Mind you're not late."

"Don't worry, Caleb. I'll be there before you have a chance to notice I'm missing, promise."

I heard his steps retreating down the corridor and out the front door. Noni's followed shortly and then silence descended over the house. Peace at last? I wasn't entirely sure how much I liked the quiet - I'd always preferred to be around people, probably a side effect of growing up in such a noisy, bustling part of the city I suppose. If my powers meant I had to go live in seclusion... well, I was pretty certain it would only be a matter of days before I went insane from the silence.

I sighed and hurried to finish my breakfast. It didn't taste great - it had to have been almost cold by the time I got down to the kitchen - but I didn't know when I'd next get the chance to eat again today, so I had to finish it.

I was surprised when I heard footsteps coming towards me along the corridor and at first presumed that Caleb had forgotten something. But the sound was too light and fast to have been made by Caleb, who hobbled slowly up and down the house as though trying and make as much noise as possible. It never occurred to me to panic though. City citizens were always stopping by to talk to Caleb and ask him for advice. I presumed that this was someone who had forgotten how early he left for the temple.

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