I was just exiting Zargiss office when Thelia called me. I turned and smiled at her. She smiled back. ”Jose is a smart girl. Shes also determined. ”

”So, she let you be near? ”

”Not only that, shes letting me teach her how to write. Shes very determined. ”

I nod. ”I am glad you
e spending time with her. I don think she had anyone she could trust down below. ”

Thelia hummed to herself then said, ”Kesar, I think Jose has good instincts, especially when it comes to those shes willing to trust, but I am not sure Einnig should be around her alone. ”

”I haven left them alone since the first day. I already know how he is. ”

Thelia turned and made me stop. ”Im sorry to talk about your brother this way, but I also know how you seem around her. You are drawn to her. I can see it. Shes drawn to you too. ”

”Im not forcing her to choose me. If she wants someone else or wants to be alone, then I will let her. ”

Thelia smiled sadly. ”I wasn implying that you were forcing her. All Im saying is that Im happy that she has someone she trusts while here. Im happy you have someone who makes you smile. ”

I scowl at her. ”I smile! ”

”Not like you do with Jose, ” she says in a sing-song voice. She laughs as I continue to scowl. ”Don be like that, Kesar! Im teasing you! ”

I roll my eyes as fast feet are heard getting closer. We turn to the sound and see Verah running up. She pants as she slows down. ”Oh good! I found you! ”

Thelia look at each other then back at the nurse. ”Is something wrong? ” I ask.

She shakes her head. ”No. ” She thinks for a moment. ”Actually, I hope not. Jose wanted me to find you. She had a scared face when I left. ”

I felt my heart jump. Thelia smiled. ”Ill see you tomorrow, Kesar. ”

I follow Verah back to the infirmary, cursing at how late it was. I hadn showered because the meeting with Zargis had taken a lot longer than I had planned.

When we enter the infirmary, Jose wasn in her bed. I scanned the room, but found no sign of her. Worried, I stride towards the bathroom and knock. ”One moment please! ” said Nallus voice.

I sigh in relief and go to Joses bed, seeing her pad of paper open and the word ”pee ” on it. I smile, glad to see she was using what she learned to communicate.

A moment later, the bathroom door opened and Nallu helped Jose back to the bed. Jose looked tired and a little scared, but she smiled at me as she sat down. ”Do you need anything else, dear? ” Nallu asked.

Jose shook her head. Nallu smiled and took her leave along with Verah. When we were alone, Jose pointed to me with a questioning look. ”My meeting with Zargis took much longer than expected. Im sorry. ”

She nodded her understanding and laid back, sighing.

I push some hair from her face and give her a caress on the cheek. ”Did you have fun? ”

She shrugged.

”Thelia said you were learning to write. ”

Jose nodded. Then she grabbed her pen and paper and wrote something down. I waited until she showed me. ”Thelia Zargis happy. Zargis hit Thelia. Zargis Thelia learn. Jose happy. ”

As I read, I could tell she was confused and didn have all her words or grammar yet, but I got the idea she was trying to send. ”They did learn to trust each other. Yes, they are happy. But Zargis did not mean to hit Thelia. He lost control. ”

She gave me a blank look.

”Its hard to explain. ” I took her paper and pen and set them aside. ”But yes, Jose, you can be happy too. You can stay here and be happy. ”

She looked like she wanted to believe me, but didn know how.

I shook my head. ”Don try to understand everything right now. When you
e ready, youll know. ”

She nodded and closed her eyes. Before long, she was asleep.

I went to my room and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I ate and stretched, then made my way to the training grounds. There, I saw Caroo, a childhood friend. ”Kesar! When did you return from the lowly world of the humans? ”

”If you had been here yesterday, you would have known, ” I tell him, hugging him.

Caroo laughed. ”Any excitement? ”

I shrugged and found a knife to practice with. ”Mostly dull. ”

”Mostly? ”

I gave him a glare. ”Nothing special, Caroo. ”

”Come on, Kesar! Give me something! ”

I rolled my eyes and prepared to spar, however Otreg gestured me over. I went. ”What? ”

Otreg started to walk. ”I hate to make you work more than you have to while home, but I need you to keep a close eye on a few people. Thelia was in town just an hour ago when Switch approached and threatened her. ”

”Switch? I thought he liked Thelia? ”

Otreg shrugged. ”I don know whats going on, but he wants to take down and show her something. She tried to be polite, tell him no, but he got mean. ”

”Is he not worried about the dragon-mappers? ”

”Apparently not. ” Otreg sighed in frustration. ”For a dragon who can fight worth shit, hes sure getting cocky! ”

”Who else? ” I asked.

Otreg named them and let me go, telling me Cam is my partner. I meet her in the war room with Zargis. They both look grim. ”How is she? ” I ask.

”Not doing well, ” Zargis said, shaking his head.

”Hes jealous! ” Cam hissed. ”He finally knows that Thelia is Zargiss mate and is jealous! ”

I nod my head slowly, seeing where she was going. Zargis growled. ”I don care what he is! Thelia did nothing to him! ”

”Except leave him for you, ” I say bluntly.

”They were never together! ”

”You took her away right after they kissed, ” Cam said.

”Whose side are you guys on? ”

”Just pointing out the facts, ” I tell him and sit down. ”But if he wanted revenge, why go after her? Why not go after you? ”

”Maybe to get her away, seduce her. Maybe the threat was an empty one? ” Cam tried.

”Whatever the case, I don want him near the castle! ” Zargis hissed.

I shrug. ”Switch wouldn dare get close after Thelia came running to you. Hes going to use someone else. Someone we won be expecting. ”

Kesar is right, ” Cam agreed. ”He knows how you get when angry. He won come get her himself. ”

”That does not mean we lower our guard though, ” I say to Zargiss deepening anger. ”It means we stay alert at all times. ”

He nods. Takes a seat and groans.

The door opens and Pira, a maid, walks in. Her head held high as all the staff were told to do because they are no less important. ”I apologize for interrupting, but Kesar? ”

I look up at her. ”What is it? ”

”Verah sent me to tell you that a girl named Jose has disappeared. She left a note saying something about Thelia and writing. ”

I curse. Standing, I hurry out and search for Jose. She wasn anywhere on the infirmary floor. One of the guards posted said he saw her crawling down the stairs, but didn stop her because she looked terrified.

I searched every floor until I reached the second where Thelias room was. Knocking, I let myself in. In the sitting area of Thelias chambers, the Queen and Jose were curled up on the floor before the fireplace. Jose was holding Thelia, as if she could protect her from the world. I left quietly, not wanting to disturb them, then telling everyone where she was and to leave them alone.

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