Chapter 3

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"You're Lady Lavender," Ink guessed, blinking in confusion. The woman barely managed to curtsey without stumbling. Ink noticed a large flask hanging from the leather belt around her waist.

"In the flesh." The woman replied. There was a sort of an ageless quality to her, as if she was wearing the many faces of time

"I'm here to—"

Lady Lavender waved her hand at her. Ink stopped. The other woman unhooked the flask from her belt and took a swig. Ink frowned. "Darling, I felt your destiny before you even stepped through the door. Honestly, it took you long enough."

"You—you felt my destiny?"

Another drink. "Well, of course! It's not often that the heir to a fallen kingdom just so happens to be the chosen one of the universe's overseer. You're powerful, dear. I do notice these things. I'm surprised you haven't come to visit me already. I bet I could find the fate of this world in the lines of your palm."

"I'm sorry," Ink said, "but would you be able to back up? And maybe—" she glanced around "—get inside before we start with the whole kingdom thing?"

"To when? Everything's etched in stone, love. Time goes every which way. I'm just here to navigate."

They stepped into the little store, Ink moving hesitantly

"Right," Ink mumbled slowly. "I guess... who's the Lord of Dreams? And what do they want with me? And what about that 'fate of the world' thing? And what do these papers have to do with anything?" She pulled out the burnt scraps.

"Mm." Lady Lavender pulled out a chair and sat down at the desk. She reached into a drawer and pulled out several instruments: a deck of cards positioned face down, revealing the delicate pattern of a flower field; a crystal ball that sent shards of light flickering across the walls and a carved obsidian pedestal for it to rest; a small amethyst pendulum in the shape of a tear; a silver hand mirror; a small pouch that Ink guessed contained runes. "The papers are for a summoning, of course."

"You're not making any sense."

Lady Lavender took another drink.

"Seriously?" Ink almost laughed. "Is that really a good idea?"

"Helps clear my mind."

"Sure." Ink replied. "Look, if you can't help me, I'll—"

"Wait!" Lady Lavender's voice raised to a shrill crescendo. "You need me! I know—" everything about her wet slack. She sat back in the wooden chair, eyes gazing off at something Ink couldn't see. Her lips quirked up into a delirious smile. "Of course," Lady Lavender laughed dreamily. "Indigo child, give me your hand. Right one."

Ink extended her hand hesitantly. "It's Ink."

"Yes, yes." She traced her long nails along the lines that ran along her palm. Her gaze hadn't focused yet, but Ink couldn't be sure of whether that was an effect of the alcohol or of some otherworldly interference. "Did you know that palm reading isn't based on the actual pattern of the lines themselves, but on how the psychic reacts to each one? The left hand represents future. Potential. Right now, that's what you need to know." Her voice was dreamy, distant. "This line here—" she tapped a line along the top of her palm "—is your heart line. That one isn't important. Not yet, anyways." 

Lady Lavender winked at her. "And here—" she ran her fingertips along the one just below "—is the head line. Your thoughts, your logic, your beliefs. You're confused, but don't worry. In the upcoming year, all will make sense. And last, just below the head, lies the life line. You have an adventure approaching. Big changes. I guarantee that you'll live through it, though it's important to remember that life is qualified in the most basic sense simply by the beating of a heart and the intake of breath." 

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