'I've seen people do horrible things, Tayna,' he said, his eyes hooded and sad, 'things that I never thought a person would have the indecency to do. I - I don't want to rule anything out...'
Tayna opened her mouth to say something, but stopped herself. She bit her lip, then said, 'Will, I know that Marinia and Valda might seem like the most horrible people in the world right now...but they're still children. Like you and me, they might think themselves grown up because they dress like it and can master their element a little quicker, but they're not. If they have any weakness, that's it.' She stood up quietly, standing in front of him and reaching for his hand, she hesitated but grasped it tightly. 'I won't ask...' she said softly,
'Hmm?' he questioned,
'Where you've been to think such horrible things about people,' she explained. 'I wish I could tell you that I thought that too at one point...but I never have. Maybe it was my mother who stopped that. She always used to tell me, when a child stands in a dark room, what's the one thing that they look for?'
Will remained silent, looking at her expectantly. She squeezed his hand tighter, 'they look for the light.'
Will looked at her hand, it was an alien gesture, and his cheeks flamed as he looked up and saw her up close, her beautiful eyes, still a colour that he couldn't explain, her long lashes and the way her freckles were clustered around her eyes and across the bridge of her nose. He would never have met somebody so pretty in Vincula, he knew that for sure, the Secret South was incredible and otherworldly, and Tayna was just another small part of that.
Suddenly, she slapped him lightly, twice on the cheek with a playful smile. 'Come on, you,' she smiled, 'I suppose we should tell Andrel what we know. I bet he's thinking up all sorts of scenarios for what we've been doing all this time.'
Embarassed, Will remained stagnant as Tayna locked the Spirit book and slotted it carefully back in the cabinet. When she headed for the door, Will quickly remembered and span around.
'I walked in here with Marinia. You can't walk out as Tayna.' She pouted childishly, crossing her arms obstinately before convincing herself that he was right.
'Fine,' she grumbled, taking out her wand. She held it aloft and said, 'dissimulo - Marinia.' Immediately, her face began to change, her freckles fading away, her hair darkening and growing down to her waist. Her shirt unbuttoned, her skirt shortened, her socks became stockings once more, and she rose up on her toes as high heels formed, making her even taller.
'There,' she said, suddenly looking self-conscious, walking to the door with shaky ankles, teetering on her heels like she was standing on ice. Will opened the door for her, and as light hit her face, her composure changed, she stood straight, made her lips look fuller and hooded her eyes threateningly, strutting out into the library with Will following, amused, behind her.