“Did you see her?”

                “I met with Zoë Wren, yes. And she will not be able to resist, her love for Nala is and has only ever been rivaled by her love for the child’s father,” Chance replied as he faced Leon.

                Leon smiled, satisfied.

                “But why send me? Why not go yourself? Surely one as powerful as you can convince a girl as weak as Zoë to return to the Karsaë quite easily,” Chance said as he turned toward the window and looked out at the coming storm.

                Leon clenched a fist, keeping a tight rein on his anger. “Because Zoë Wren is not a common Karsaë woman, the fact that Raven gave his life for her should prove that much.”

                Chance turned his head slightly, still looking out the window more than back into the dark room. “Could it be that you are jealous of what the mutt could get and you couldn’t, Leon? Or is there something behind this that you are not saying?”

                “You will not speak your mind, healer! Zoë has a much bigger part in my plans than you can see.”

                “More than you will let me see,” Chance added softly as he returned his full attention to the low rolls of thunder.

                “I will kill you if you cannot keep your tongue in check.”

                Chance slowly turned and faced the slim blade that Leon had pointed as his throat. “You know very well you cannot do that, Leon. You need me too much, for my council and planning, and what I know about Zoë.”

                Leon clenched his jaw and pressed the blade harder against Chance’s skin. “Tis not you I need, but your mind.”

                “Sadly, they are a joint package. You cannot have one that works without the other.”

                Leon grinned, his teeth gleaming in the flashing lightning. “That is where you are wrong. I have found a way to get only one and make it work for me.”

                Chance’s eyes widened. “But that is not what you were selected for! You cannot do that!”

                “Hate to tell you,” Leon said as he stabbed Chance in the throat and stepped aside as the healer’s body hit the floor. “But I just did.” He leaned down and looked into the dying man’s eyes for a moment before leaning closer and inhaling his last breath.

                “So that’s where you’ve been hiding, Zoë Wren,” he said as Chance’s memories and knowledge sank into his own mind. “I shall come to visit you to see what your decision shall be, dear Zoë.”

The End

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