iv) Abia channels frost into the ugobok


Abia channels frost into the ugobok, trying desperately to keep it from regaining its monstrous strength. She thinks of the Jiko’s former realm, and of Grumalla, gardening, lonely. She wonderes if the place is still cold, now, or if their actions really did help to warm it up. She imagines that she’s facilitating the transfer of its frigid clime, through her flesh, along every nerve ending from her heart through her fingers, and into the scaly hide of the ugobok, keeping the dangerous creature sedate.

The snake twitches and shudders as Cang works on its eye. Abia keeps her touch anchored, gentle but firm, moving with the body of the snake. Her face is calm, neutral, but inside, she’s terrified she might break contact or concentration, and in that instant, the ugobok’s enormous tail will flick and summarily kill her friends. She ruminates on this, pictures fleshy, animal cells overcome with tiny points of frost — partly to keep the spell alive and vibrant, and partly to ignore the bloody violence Cang wreaks with his knife.


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