Chapter 26

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He gave her request serious thought, but something deep down told him that it would crush her if she found out he had been with her sister. He couldn't explain why. Arhyvhynne had never really intimated that she had any feelings other than gratitude for him. But he somehow felt that she did. And he knew that he harbored a tinge of guilt concerning it. "All I can say is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the Rune or any of the other stuff that's happened. It's just something personal."

"Does it in some way concern Eyrmysse?"

Damn! "No," he lied.

"What is it you think I will see that frightens you so?" Arhyvhynne's voice was small and her deep blue eyes reflected the innocence that was there. "Is it the way you feel about me?"

Hearing her and seeing her like that tormented Uriel. She had practically laid her emotional self bare before him. The tinge of guilt suddenly turned enormous. There was a catch in his voice as he said her name. "Arhyvhynne, please. I can't. It wouldn't do anybody any good."

A dismayed Arhyvhynne studied Uriel, but he couldn't tell if it was from the lack of expressing his feelings or submitting to a scan. "I don't want to have to force you, Uriel, but the Council may not allow me an alternative." The High Witch was about to add something when a knock at the door stopped her. She went to the door, opened it a few inches and sternly reminded Ghemella that she did not wish to be disturbed.

"I am sorry, High One," the Guardian apologized, "but Padxyffu is here with me. She has some rather urgent news that she felt should be delivered immediately."

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