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The Phoenix Ring

By:Alexander Brockman

o hers.

Their lips barely touched, hers pushing the magic out of his, when she playfully pushed him away. “If you want a kiss,” she said, a smile on her face, “You’re going to have to do better than that.”

Then she jumped up and ran across the beach, sand flying in her wake. Aidan grinned and took off after her.

Aaliyah knocked on Bartemus’s new office door and walked inside.

“You know, the point of knocking is to get a response before you come barging in,” the warlock said.

“I don’t like it,” Aaliyah said. “Aidan’s not a murderer, and forcing him to ignore his conscience will destroy him.”

Bartemus slowly nodded. “I know, and this pains me more than anything. One day, when this is over it will be your job to bring him back. Until then, he must be prepared to slay Malcommer, no matter what the cost.”

Aaliyah clenched her fists. “You’re a monster.” Then she turned and slammed the door.

Bartemus sighed. “Aye, lass. That I am.”

Epilogue

Rickentoh marched into the throne room, his body glowing with power.

“You killed them!” he yelled. “My dragon and twenty-seven others, dead because of you and your stupid warlock!”

“Careful, Rick, be mindful of who you are speaking to. And where is my stupid warlock.”

“Dead, just like the rest of them. And how does that help you, Malcommer? How does this fit into your plan?”

“That depends. Who killed Edwin?”

Rickentoh felt for his knife, which of course had been removed before he had been allowed into the throne room. “The new Thunderheart, who else?”

Malcommer laughed. “Then, young pupil, this fits perfectly into my plans. Just perfectly.”

“Mail delivery,” Timothy said, throwing a small package at the still drowsy Aidan. He had been sleeping so peacefully before his ever-tactful friend woke him. The wizard slowly ripped open the paper. Inside was a letter that smelled like home, and another, individually wrapped package. The letter was fairly short:

Aidan,

I suppose that was the best reaction I could have hoped for, considering how I lied to you for so many years. But I am done lying, and there is one last thing you should know. When your father departed, he left a note saying that when the time was right, I should give the contents of this package to our son. I suppose this is what he meant. I have no idea what it is so special about it.

I love you,

Your mother

Aidan picked up the package, which seemed to already be radiating a strange sort of power. It was covered in cloth and hay, and fell out of its wrapping as soon as Aidan picked it up.

It was a perfectly round stone, white, with red stripes running in one direction. Aidan’s heart rose into his throat, and Timothy dropped his own mail when he saw it.

It was a phoenix egg.

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