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Evelina took the three travelers through a cave where a contraption similar to the one in Daryn’s tower hoisted them towards a top landing. They arrived in a glass chamber with the walls and floors appeared to be made out of glass and seats were made out of rocks.
Alba sat on a rock with Nonna while holding Nessa, which turned out to be the famed dragon that everyone talked about. Nessa was one of many litter of white dogs that seemed to run free on the damp mountainside.
Evelina sat across from them with Daryn kneeling beside her, with her hand in his, flipped up so that he could place two two fingers on top of her wrist. “There is a slight arrhythmia,” he announced and produced the vial out of his pack he carried on his back and helped her to drink it. “You have the same illness that killed Alba’s parents. Except in you, it scarred your heart. This medicine will heal the scar over time and kill the disease that lives inside of you.”
Evelina set the vial down and looked at Alba, whispering, “My darling child, I’m so sorry for abandoning you. I was in no position to care for you when I could hardly care for myself. I hopr your childhood has not been so hard.”
“Indeed, no!” Alba responded. “I have had a wonderful time growing up in Fiammetta. The sisters are all so good to me. But I admit, there were times, I felt lonely because I didn’t have parents like all the other children. But look at me now! A grandfather, an uncle, and an aunt! And even K—”
Evelina saw that Alba stop short but did not press on. Instead she smiled and turned to Nonno. “I was wondering when my message would find you. You are very hard to track. Even with all my ability, I could not see you.”
“I’ve been following a wind to which my wife’s spirit drifts upon. You know, we are creatures prone to love for life.”
The elders all agreed.
“Love is for life,” Evelina agreed. “It is a gift and a curse to our kind. I am only sorry to have put that curse to lock up Daryn and wasted my days wanting him to come back to me.”
“It is the soul of stubborn people,” Nonno sighed.
“A tired soul,” Evelina added. She stood up and began to walk away. They followed wordlessly as if she had a magic spell over them, bidding them without a word. She took them through a tunnel lit with crystals and showed them to individual rooms carved into the mountain.
Nonno claimed fatigued and entered his chamber. Alba meanwhile watched Daryn hold Evelina’s hand like a knight to his lady who gave him a most tender and sincere look that it squeezed Alba’s heart.
She realized that this was love. Heartbreak. Sadness. Anger. Yearning. Forgiveness.