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“Whoa!” Rhys laughed. He loved seeing her put in her place.

Willa made a face at Rhys but didn’t say anything. When Matt went back to eating his pancakes, she sat down on the stool next to me.

Since I’d first met Willa, it was clear she walked around with a sense of entitlement. She was nice to me because she thought we were equals, but she definitely didn’t feel the same way about everyone else.

“I am thirsty,” Willa said after a minute, sounding pouty.

Automatically, Duncan stood to get water for her, but Matt shook his head, stopping him. Uncertainly, Duncan sat back down. As a tracker, he spent a lot of his life waiting on changelings. Trackers were considered staff and treated as such by royalty.

“You know where the fridge’s at,” Matt said between bites.

Willa opened her mouth but didn’t say anything. She turned to me, hoping I would come to her aid, but I only shrugged. She did know where the fridge was at, after all.

After a minute of deliberating, she got up and went over to the fridge. Rhys snickered under his breath, but Matt shushed him.

I found the whole thing kind of amazing. Finn had been Willa’s tracker, and a strict one at that. But she never listened to him or treated him with as much respect as she did Matt, who by Trylle standards was much lower in rank than Finn.

In the five minutes he’d known her, Matt had managed to whip her into shape better than anyone else ever had.

Willa hung around me for the rest of the afternoon, and she seemed relieved when we split off from Matt and Rhys. Rhys wanted to play some war video game or something, and I didn’t feel like it.

Instead, Willa and I stayed in my room. Duncan stood outside my door for a bit, but eventually I felt sorry for him, so I had him come in and sit down.

She sorted my clothes because she liked doing that, and I lay on the floor, watching Willa and thinking about how weird it was that this was my life. She organized them in some way that I didn’t understand, even after she’d explained it to me.

All the while, she talked about how great her training had been going. Willa had power over the wind, and she hadn’t thought anything of it before the attack.

Now she wanted to be as prepared and strong as she possibly could. She figured that my training would start right away too, since I needed to be more prepared than anyone else here.

The night went on much the same way, and I was surprised when she joined us for supper. This time she even ate what Matt cooked, and I felt as if the whole world were turning upside down.

I went to bed shortly after, but I tossed and turned all night. My mind raced too much to really sleep. It felt like I’d only just fallen asleep when someone shook me awake. I pushed the person off, snuggling deeper in my covers.

It wasn’t until I had buried my face in my pillow that I realized I should probably be alarmed that someone was in my room. What with evil trolls trying to kidnap me and all that.



“Holy hell!” Tove Kroner shouted and jumped back from the side of my bed.

I’d sat up, almost leaping out of bed, preparing to attack whoever had just woken me up. It turned out to be Tove, and I didn’t understand what I’d done to him.

As far as I knew, I hadn’t even reacted yet, other than sitting up. But Tove stood off to the side of the room, pressing his palms to his temples. He was bent over, his dark hair falling over his face.

“Tove?” I swung my feet over the edge of the bed and stood up. He didn’t respond, so I stepped closer to him. “Tove? Are you okay? Did I do something?”

“Yeah.” He shook his head and straightened up. His eyes were closed, but he’d dropped his hands from his head.

“I’m sorry. What did I do?”

“I don’t know.” Tove opened his mouth wide and stretched his jaw, reminding me of someone who had just been slapped in the face. “I came in to wake you up for your training. And you…”

“Did I hit you?” I supplied when he trailed off.

“No, it was in my head.” Tove stared ahead thoughtfully for a minute. “No, you were right. It was like you slapped me inside my head.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Have you ever done anything like that before? Maybe when you were scared?” He turned to look at me, ignoring my confusion to satisfy his.

“Not that I know of, but I don’t even know what I did.”

“Hmm.” He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “Your abilities are still developing. They should fully present themselves soon, and maybe this is part of that. Or maybe it’s just because I’m me.”


“Because I’m psychic,” Tove reminded me. “Your aura is very dark today.”

He couldn’t read minds or anything, but he could sense things. I projected, so I could get in people’s minds like Elora could and use persuasion, and Tove received, so he could see auras and was more sensitive to emotion.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“You’re unhappy.” Tove sounded distracted, and he made for the door. “Hurry. Get dressed. We have much to do.”

He left my room before I could ask him more, and I didn’t understand what Willa saw in him. I wasn’t sure if she really had a crush on him, or if her interest only stemmed from the fact that his family was powerful. The Kroners were next in line for the crown, Tove specifically, if I couldn’t fulfill my duties.