“Thanks for your help, Mister Josa,” Twila said.
“Please, call me Kilieg,” he said. “Take the book with you.” He held it out to her.
“I couldn’t,” Twila said. “What about your work?”
“My work is transcribing old books into pristine new ones,” Kilieg said. “Keep the history alive and well.” He looked down at the book. “This one… this one I finished with. The old one is a bit moldy and in terrible condition, but if you take it with you it can at least prove useful one final time.”
“Then I’ll accept,” Twila said. “Thank you.”
“No, thank you,” Kilieg said. “The young people around here, none of them ever come to read and learn about the past. You, you came to learn and you dedicated yourself to research. Even if it was only a short time, it was nice to meet someone like you. Perhaps… perhaps you’ll return when your struggles are over and study some more?”
“I would love to,” Twila said.
Twila left with Fang on her shoulder. Axra and Lilly followed behind, thanking Kilieg on their way out.
“Thank goodness,” Lilly said. “She seems to be doing better.”
“Yeah,” Axra said. “I think your hug helped her.”
“Oh… no, I’m sure you helped her a lot more,” Lilly said. “I… I think she draws courage from you..”
“Really?” Axra asked. “If that’s true then…” She looked over at Lilly. “Geez, cut it out. You’re embarrassing me.”
“S… sorry,” Lilly said.
“We’re sending you back,” a middle-aged Djinn woman said. “We’ll trust you not to tell the rest of the planet dwellers about this.”
“We won’t,” Twila said. “Thank you all, for everything.”
“Hold on to me,” Axra told Lilly. “It might stop you getting speed sick, or whatever they call it.”
“I… I couldn’t,” Lilly stated. “Y… you’re the princess and I’m…”
“You’re my close friend,” Axra said. “You always have been. If it helps you, I’ll let you hang onto me anytime.”
“W… well okay,” Lilly said. She held onto Axra’s back as the trio was transported back to the ocean.
Somehow, this trip didn’t feel unsettling for Lilly. Maybe it was that she’d already done it once before and she was over it. Or maybe it was the feeling of Axra’s arm around her shoulder; the sensation of her head against Axra’s chest.
Twila immediately teleported them back to Jeriska.
“Bonnie and the others should be at the Inn still,” Axra said. “We should hook back up with them. Especially now that we know what Eritos is.”
“Go ahead of me,” Twila said. “I’m going to see if my aunts have left yet.”
“You don’t want us to go with you?” Axra asked.
“I always welcome your company,” Twila said. “But, in this case, I’ll have to decline. I’ll meet up with you guys shortly.” She bowed and headed towards the extravagant Inn.
“I wonder what that’s about?” Axra asked.
“Well, sometimes, people need to talk with family alone, you know… about certain things” Lilly muttered.
“True enough,” Axra said. “I’m glad that you’re doing okay.”
“Oh… yes,” Lilly said. “I… I think my body got used to it… or… never mind.”