Of course! She'd been looking at it so one-sided, but now the answer danced across her mind like the dormant magic there.
And so, Elenia plonked herself down on the stairs and rested her hands on her temples. Whitney had been wrong – she was strong. Just not as maggots expected.
Devil. Devil, hear me. Stop what you are doing.
Silence. A low hum of wind pulsed through the gap in the door. It took Elenia a moment to notice that the talons were missing.
Devil? Can you hear me? Just a yes or no would be fine.
She sensed in her head the other presence. It felt a little like Lorden—the same unnerving block in her head—but less subtle. More hostile.
Yes, said a voice.
Devil. Sans dragon.
He had. No longer did the door rattle. Yet, Elenia didn't creep forward.
I don't trust that.
A hint of mirth in his tone. A bitter hint. Elenia ignored the mix of confusion and doubt invading her thoughts, and kept their link stable as she unwound her legs from the stair. One step, two steps, three—
The door rocked, nearly completely off its hinges now, but what had moved it had not been the talons alone this time. No, the roar that made Elenia cower back to her step also did damage to her surroundings. Lethal damage.
She sipped in oxygen. That liar. In between breaths, and as her breathing stabilised, Elenia started to glower. That liar. Nobody lied to her. She was the heir to the Dartoc-6 Monarchy, after all! People did what she wanted. People would do what she wanted.
Now, the scene in her mind stood out as clearly as if she saw it with her very eyes.
You will stop hunting me! If yelling was possible in the mind, Elenia positively screamed. You will leave me alone!
A droning sound. Or was it a rumbling? She couldn't tell over the anger beating through her veins. When she thought he wouldn't replied, a deep cough reverberated around her mind.
You will stop.
Elenia, I am trying. I must fulfil my orders...yet, I will not fulfil my orders—
No, she challenged, you will not.
You have to leave before I hurt you any further. Warn the others. I don't want to get them. I must—no, I must not. Go. The front door. Go. Go!
She opened her eyes, lid by lid, testing the...the air for the dragon. She stood up. Still nothing. Nobody trying to break down the door, and no violet eyeball through the lone, grubby window.
Elenia stood up, and tiptoed to the door. The intrusion in her mind had almost faded after she'd relinquished active magic, but he still danced around the edge of her consciousness.
She wrenched open the door. Nothing. No dragon. In the levway, the same. Towards the castle, nada.
Almost like a trap.
She reached out for the last of the intrusion, and mind-spoke to him.
He didn't reply. A moment later, Elenia heard wingbeats on the roof flap away.
Giving Devil one last glance, Elenia sprinted off – towards the castle. She had business there – not simply because her mother lingered there, but because she’d seen it happen.