i) The object in Cang’s hands grows hot


The object in Cang’s hands grows hot. By degrees, it quickly shoots up until his skin sizzles and cooks. He lets out a yelp and whips his hands back, letting the glowing thing from Ulxurix’s desk topple to the floor. When it hits the ground, its internal glow flickers, fades away.

“Looking for a souvenir, dearie?” asks Ulxurix, cutting the stunned silence that’s fallen over the room. The wizard’s tattoos shift and swirl. “Something to remember old Ulxurix by?”

Cang wheels on her, his best market-day grin straining on his face. “Of course mum! Not often one has the opportunity to visit the Gabjeoš lighthouse, and its famous witch.”

At this, Ulxurix fumes. Her tattoos shift quickly in hue, from a pale blue to a steaming crimson. “Witch?” she saays. “I am no witch. Am I, Abianarin?”

Abia looks between her and Cang, but says nothing.

Fassn, his mouth still full of dental implements, says, “No witch! Cang, say she’s not a witch!”


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