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“I want to live. I don't want to die. I did it once and it sucked. My whole life I've been trying to find out who I was, what I was about, what I wanted to do. And now, I know who I am. I understand what I am. ”

Cian turned his attention back to the young woman sitting on his floor and took in her sincere expression. “And what is that. ”

“I want to live. I want to be what I am. What happened between us. . . that was amazing! Beyond anything in my life. I never felt so alive! That was like. . . ” She shook her head. “I can't even define it. But I felt alive. And honestly, these last few days, though my brain has felt kinda off and weird, I actually feel motivated to do something other than coast through life. ”

Sliding from his chair, he walked over to her and squatted down. “Then you're going to live, Amaliya. You're not a self-loathing, hateful fledgling or an insane one. You're already accepting what is going on and that puts you far ahead of most. ”

“Why do you hate it?” She tilted her head up to look at him curiously.

He reached out and ran his fingers over her soft cheek, then across her jawline. The desire to kiss her and push her down on the floor rose. His teeth grew sharp at the thought of driving them into her throat or more erotic places.

“You should take a bath. Freshen up. I have work to do. ”

Her very still body showed that she was feeling the heat growing again. Before she could act on it and doom them both, he stood up and returned to his computer.

“There is a master bedroom upstairs with a large bathroom. ”

Awkwardly, she crawled to her bag and pulled it close to her. “Is that where you sleep?”

“No. ” He shook his head and pointed to a nearby wall that looked like burnished brass. “I sleep there. I told the contractor it was a panic room, but its actually my sleeping chamber. Roberto takes good care of me, but once you have been nearly turned to ashes by the sun, you do not take any chances. ”

Amaliya walked over and pressed her hand against the wall. He watched her slowly walk along its length, feeling the cool metal under her fingers. He fancied the thought of those fingers on him and quickly pushed it away. He had not felt this way in a long time and it disturbed him deeply.

“So its a big box,” she said, and disappeared around the far corner.

“Essentially. To anyone else, it looks like a walled in elevator shaft or something of the sort. That was the idea at least. ”

She walked around it and came out the other end. Her hand was still resting on the cool metal. “So how does it open?”

“The walls retract up into the ceiling. I can open them one by one if I want. ”

“Will I sleep here, too?”

Cian felt a pulse of arousal, but he knew he could not deny her safety. “Yes. ”

Nodding, she walked toward the second staircase that led to the upstairs. “Thanks, Cian. Again, I'm sorry. ” Her expression was wistful, but thoughtful.

“No worries,” he said with a smile.

She ascended the steps and he could not help but watch her skirt sway over her hips.

“I'm so fucked,” he whispered to himself.


The Summoner strode down 6th Street, hands tucked behind his back. The club scene was not as wild tonight as it would be on the weekend, but there were plenty of college students and young professionals out and about.

Now that he was no longer Professor Sumner, he had let his hair grow to its normal length and it hung around his shoulders. It was almost white and glowed slightly in the glare of the neon signs. He could not remember the original color of his hair anymore. It had slowly turned this color the more magic he had performed and the darker the magic was.

He was clad in a simple black shirt and black trousers. It was a boring outfit. He had yet to change over his wardrobe, but his intense good looks were drawing plenty of attention. The goatee was gone now as was the glamor he had thrown up that made him look older and like a version of his long deceased father.

“He looks like Sting,” a girl whispered as she hurried past with her girlfriend.

He smiled at that and swept his hair back from his face and gave her a rakish smile.

“Sting is old and doesn't look like that,” the friend responded with a snort.

The Summoner found that amusing. Humans were ridiculous when it came to their concept of age. Continuing on, he strolled slowly away from the elegance of the Driscoll Hotel.