Happy tears flowed from Andrea’s eyes, similar to the ones from Darian’s. But what sent her flying back from the happy haze was Verna’s solemn face.
“But keep in mind that this is a very large scale spell. We are powerful, but even combined, our powers might not be enough to defeat the plague.”
Andrea’s heart pounded. But Darian’s face still glowed with happiness. It made her realize: hope was enough. They just had to trust the Zahteva.
“We’ve got a long day ahead of us,” said Verna. “The best you can do for me right now is to sleep.”
Andrea’s body was already very tired, so she fell asleep almost immediately.
Nightmares filled her head. Plagued people fell, her body among them. But beyond the spiraling chaos of her dream she could see hope. Like the sun rising, orange above the clouds. It shattered her nightmare, turning it into a masterpiece of gold and white.
She opened her eyes, well rested. Verna was tending the wound on her leg, which she hadn’t really noticed for a while. Her stomach heaved as Verna slowly peeled the bandage away.
But there was nothing more than a tiny scar. “I accelerated your recovery when I first started on you,” she explained, “so you didn’t bleed out. This is what was expected.”
Andrea was amazed. “Can I move my leg?”
“Sure,” Verna said. Andrea shifted her leg and other than a dull ache, it was back to normal.
Verna sighed, and then said, “Today is the day that we stop the plague.”
Andrea’s stomach was momentarily aflutter with butterflies. “I know,” she moaned. “Do you think you can do it?”
“I don’t know,” Verna said, her face lined with honesty. “But I hope so.”
Darian sat up in a cot next to hers. “When will you begin?”
“Not just us,” said Verna.
“What do you mean?” asked Andrea.
“There’s something we must explain to you once we get down out of the Hollow,” Verna said nervously. She twisted her fingers together.
“What?” Darian demanded.
“Come with me,” Verna said.
Andrea realized her leg was better, so she slowly eased herself to the edge of her cot, setting her feet upon the ground. She almost fell flat on her face, if Darian weren’t there to help her up. She was surprised at how shaky her steps were, as if she were a newborn just learning to walk. She held tightly onto Darian’s hand as they slowly inched down the stairs.
The chilly air met her, and for once she didn’t feel weak and cold. She felt strong and composed. They would do this. They could do this.
All of the Zahteva were standing in the clearing already. Polla gave them her most charming smile and said, “There’s something we need to tell you.”
“Or so we’ve heard,” muttered Darian.