Chapter 3

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Though she was ashen and shaking and in awe, Lhynette did not back down. Khyrhyelle looked at Lhynette with a grimace and guilt in her eyes. She had known FireQueen would "test" Lhynette and knew it would not be pleasant. But she also knew FireQueen would render an accurate appraisal of the witch's worth. Khyrhyelle began to ask Lhynette how she was and got cut off by the dragon.

"Enough. What do you require of me?" FireQueen had risen to her full height.

Khyrhyelle's eyes fixed on the dragon's. This time it was FireQueen who felt the momentary shock. Khyrhyelle spoke her ancient name, Serafanyelle, and in that fraction of a second, a huge battle sword magically appeared under the maw of the dragon. It floated menacingly for a count of five. Then Khyrhyelle released it and the sword fell, crashing among the gems. The cavern stilled. Their eyes never left each other the entire time. Then FireQueen laughed flames high into the air. After which the High Witch recounted the events surrounding the coming of the wizard.

When Khyrhyelle finished the story, they prepared to leave. FireQueen had agreed to transport Lhynette, Qelharre and Albera to the wizard, break through the barrier and bring them back. Not an easy task for dragon or witch.

The three witches followed the dragon from the cavern through various passageways. In theory, Khyrhyelle, Wyxotte and Qelharre knew the route from the cavern back to the surface but none of the three had ever walked it. FireQueen knew it by heart. She did not venture out often, usually once a season when she grew restless, hungry or both. And then only at night. She nor the witches had any desire for her to be seen.

It took them slightly less time to reach the exit than it did to arrive at the cavern, mostly due to the route being easier to navigate. The passages were much wider (to accommodate the dragon) and rose steadily.

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