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.“Continue compressions for another minute,” he ordered.I watched the clock, knowing it was a countdown to the inevitable, but I clung to the sliver of hope which I knew was nothing but a fool’s wish.The clock inexorably ticked the seconds off until the minute was up.“Stop compressions,” the doctor ordered, and the sweat-faced nurse stopped chest compressions.Another doctor held the paddles in his hands and placed them on Adam’s chest.“Clear,” he called, and the other health care providers stepped back as he sent a pulse of electricity through Adam’s body which caused his arms to twitch.He looked up at the heart monitor and shook his head, “Asystole.”“Do we have a pulse?” the first doctor asked, and again the second doctor checked.He shook his head firmly, and the first doctor turned to me.I nodded and began to sob uncontrollably.I don’t know what I would have done without that nurse there to give me something to hold onto, but I knew it was over.My brother was dead, and I was now utterly alone in the world.“Time of death: 12:02am,” the doctor said matter-of-factly before ordering his team out into the hallway, where they probably did some sort of paperwork.I cried in the nurse’s arms for a few more minutes before deciding there was nothing left for me in the hospital, at which point I awkwardly thanked her for her kindness and left the building as fast as my feet could carry me.I took my portable stereo with me, which was still playing its tragic, tortured song.And I know now that, right then, it was exactly what I needed to hear.Chapter XXX: Leaving on a Jet Plane“Jezran,” I heard Pi’Vari’s voice from somewhere above me.“Jezran, you need to wake up,” he insisted.“Oh dear, I hope he will recover,” I heard Chester say in his usual, butler-tone laced with uncharacteristic tension.“I’ll be just fine,” I said groggily.“How long have I been out?” I asked, trying to sit up and surprisingly, I was able to do so.Naturally, I wasn’t able to do so without paying a price, as a fit of retching overtook me but thankfully my stomach was empty so I didn’t make a mess.“Perhaps twenty minutes,” Pi’Vari replied after I had regained control of myself.“What happened at the Tower?”I shook my head.“No time to explain,” I said, cursing my decrepit body for failing me yet again.“We have to get ready to leave, and I mean now.”Pi’Vari got a worried look.“Things went that badly?” he asked, a sliver of fear creeping into his voice.I finally cleared the blurriness from my eyes and found Pi’Vari’s blue-haired head, and I saw that his face held the same measure of fear as his voice.“Worse,” I said bluntly.“Pryzius, Gaeld, and whoever else he brings along are taking us to Coldetz.”Dancer bristled at the mention of Gaeld.“Dancer fight Gaeld?” he asked, and to the little man’s credit, there wasn’t a trace of fear in his voice.I shook my head.“No,” I replied firmly before adding, “at least…not yet.We have to wait until we’re in Coldetz before making any kind of move against them is even an option—which is almost certainly the same thing Arch Magos Rekir is telling Pryzius right now.”Pi’Vari stood up stiffly.“You are not suggesting what I think you are suggesting,” he said, a mixture of dismay and abject terror warring for control of his voice.I stood up slowly, with Dancer’s help which I thanked him for with a curt nod.“I have no idea what I’m suggesting, Pi’Vari,” I retorted.“But what I am certain of is that we have less than a half hour to ready ourselves before they arrive.”Pi’Vari blanched and Chester had to lean up against the wall, probably to keep from fainting.“They are coming here…now?!” my herald all but squealed.“Yes,” I confirmed, “they’re coming here now, and we need to be prepared for them when they arrive.” I turned to Chester, who looked like he was about to have a nervous episode I really couldn’t afford right then.“Chester!” I barked.The head butler regained his senses at the sound of my voice.“Y-yes, my Lord?” he stammered.“Fetch me a pen and paper,” I ordered.“I have instructions for you to follow after we depart.”“Very good, sir,” he replied, and turned to walk down one of the corridors adjoining the entryway, still using the wall for vertical support in case his legs failed somewhere along the way.I rolled my eyes.“The rest of you,” I continued, turning to my companions, “need to gather a whole bunch of things we don’t actually need—but they need to look like things we would use for setting up shop in a new city.Pi’Vari,” I snapped, catching my herald’s attention which had clearly been drifting, “gather a whole collection of more or less useless books from the library and package them carefully, as though you don’t want anyone knowing what they are.Use the House staffers to assist you, and make sure you get at least fifty volumes.”Realization dawned on Pi’Vari’s face and he nodded eagerly before proceeding at a jog toward the library.“Dancer,” I said, looking down at the fearless little warrior.“You need to be ready for Gaeld,” I explained slowly [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]