Beth nodded. This was a small price to pay for peace of mind.
“Then we’re ready.”
She nodded again, closing her eyes and relaxing back into the chair.
“This won’t take long,” she heard Lucius’ voice say right beside her. “You won’t remember this conversation either.”
She took a deep breath and prepared herself.
When Beth opened her eyes again, she was sitting in a chair in the great hall. She slowly woke to the sound of violin music. Laughter broke through her mind, the giggle of children, which made her frown and stir a little more. Her neck ached from the angle at which she’d slept. She lifted her fingers to her eyes and rubbed them slightly, trying to wake up.
“Evening,” said a familiar male voice beside her. A sweet smell pierced her senses.
She opened her eyes, stretching. Storm was sat beside her, a cigarette in between his fingers. Mary was the other side of him.
“How are you feeling?” Mary asked, sounding slightly concerned.
“Sorry, I must have fallen asleep. I haven’t been sleeping well recently; I’ve been crying myself to sleep most—” Beth frowned at herself. Why had she been crying herself to sleep? Everything must have just been getting on top of her.
She sat up a little straighter and rubbed her cheek, frowning once again as her fingers brushed two raised lines on her skin. Scars, obviously, but where from? She must have scratched herself in her sleep.
“Did I miss anything?” she asked.
“Just the small children dancing,” Storm said, gesturing over to the centre of the room as he reached for a wine glass on the table.
Beth followed where he’d pointed, locating the source of the giggling that had woken her. About twenty young children – none older than twelve, none younger than three – danced with each other to the music played by the band up on the dais that Beth had eaten her breakfast on this morning.
“I didn’t know there were children here,” Beth said, genuinely surprised.
“As you can see, there aren’t many, but there they are nevertheless,” Storm murmured, taking a drag on his cigarette.
As Beth watched the children dancing, she thought about her first day in the Dimension. It had flown by, yet she felt as if she had been here forever. She recalled meeting Fate in the library, and the words she’d spoken as she’d left.
Beth considered them.
She turned to Storm beside her, drawing his gaze to her, which appeared a light shade of purple under the bright candles overhead.
“Storm, will you teach me to fight?” she asked.