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.But she’d freed herself.Shaking her head, she passed out the mirrors, refusing to look into them again.Instead, she passed the box back to the tutor and made her escape into the corridors, heading back to her bedroom.Her head was spinning and she definitely needed to lie down before she went to the library.Chapter Ten“I’M SORRY ABOUT HER,” IMAIQAH SAID, twenty minutes later.She’d been in the bedroom when Emily had entered and thrown herself down on the bed.“She’s a.”Imaiqah shrugged helplessly, unable to find a suitable word.Emily smiled, despite the exhaustion crippling her body.“A right royal pain in the bum?”Imaiqah flushed.“Yes,” she agreed finally.“She hasn’t managed to test out of half of the basic classes and she’s still a pain.”Imaiqah had asked Emily what had happened and Emily had told her, although she wasn’t entirely sure why she’d told her friend everything.Part of her wanted to keep it to herself.“Oh,” Emily said.A moment later, she realized what Imaiqah had said.“Test out of the basic classes?”“Everyone has different levels of power and skill,” Imaiqah pointed out, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.The teachers Emily had known back home wouldn’t have admitted that out loud, even if they’d had to come up with complex explanations for why something that was so evidently true was actually false.“You must have noticed that some of the students in your first class were much older than you.”Emily nodded, slowly.She’d assumed, when she’d thought about it, that Professor Locke’s warning about the perils of missing history had eventually convinced older students to return to his class.But it did make sense; why should a genius student from the first year remain in a basic class if they could work at a much higher level?Her head swam again and she started to retch, then cough.The world began to fade out around her.“Eat this,” Imaiqah ordered.She was suddenly much closer–had Emily blanked out for a long moment? “You pushed yourself too far.”Emily took the food–it looked like fudge to her–and tasted it, before taking a bite and swallowing it as quickly as possible.There was a sudden surge of energy running through her body, one so powerful that she realized just how far she’d pushed herself–and just how worn she’d been afterwards.She should have gone straight to the kitchens to eat after freeing herself from the hex.“Keep eating,” Imaiqah said.She passed Emily two more packets of food, which Emily devoured greedily.“And relax!”She cleared her throat, and then returned to the original subject.“The basic classes teach the basics.You have to master them to proceed to the more advanced classes, and then–if you want–to follow a specialist path.If you don’t master the basics, you have to stay and repeat the class time and time again until you get it right.”“I see,” Emily said.A thought struck her.“So I could move ahead to an advanced class now, without taking the basic class?”“If you could pass the tests,” Imaiqah said.She looked up, her eyes wide.“Could you pass the tests?”“Probably not,” Emily admitted.She shook her head, wondering how Imaiqah had managed to remain so sane, stuck in a school where she was very much a social outcast.“I’ll just have to learn as quickly as possible.”Imaiqah nodded.“There’s a rumor going around that you’re a Child of Destiny,” she said.“Even I heard the rumor.Is that true?”Emily froze.She thought hard.A dragon.and now a rumor that she was a Child of Destiny.No wonder Alassa had been so interested in her, even though she hadn’t mentioned that particular issue to Emily when she’d been trying to bully her into her clique.Alassa’s parents would probably trade half of their kingdom for a real Child of Destiny who was willing to work for them.They might even have put pressure on Alassa to try to make friends with Emily.“Not really,” Emily said, finally.She doubted that the literal truth would amuse anyone, least of all Alassa.Absently, she wondered just how much trouble she would have found for herself if her father had been named Fate.“I’m just a normal student -”“- Who arrived on a dragon,” Imaiqah finished, with a grin.“Do you realize just how many social queens you embarrassed just by arriving on a dragon?”Emily flushed.It hadn’t been her who’d summoned the dragon, let alone enrolled at Whitehall; indeed, she hardly seemed to do anything.She hadn’t chosen her parents, or to be kidnapped by Shadye - and Void had pushed her into attending the school rather than teaching her himself.Her status as a semi-Child of Destiny came from birth, rather than actually achieving it for herself.Alassa gloried in the accident of birth that had made her a Royal Princess; Emily found it rather irritating.Perhaps, if Alassa had been fawned upon from the day of her birth, it explained her vast sense of entitlement.Or perhaps she was just a silly girl with more magic than sense.“I didn’t mean to do anything of the sort,” she mumbled.Who was spreading the rumors in the first place? Void? Or the Grandmaster? But why would they tell the students that one of their number was a Child of Destiny? The necromancers wouldn’t be the only adults who might want a Child of Destiny dead before she came into her own.“I’ll try and come on foot next year.”Imaiqah giggled.“I came in a coach.It was the first time I’d ever left my home.”Emily settled back and started to ask questions, trying to learn as much as she could about her new friend.Imaiqah freely admitted that she’d been born in Zangaria, which was–Emily guessed–at least partly why Alassa thought that she could push Imaiqah into doing her homework and other services.Her father had been a reasonably successful merchant with five children, enough that he’d been happy to allow Imaiqah to go to Whitehall when a travelling magician spotted her talent and offered her a scholarship.The description of life as a merchant’s daughter didn’t sound appealing, although Emily suspected that Imaiqah’s family were far more prosperous than the peasants in the kingdom.As far as she could tell, Zangaria was a near-absolute monarchy.That didn’t bode well for the Kingdom’s future, or for Imaiqah herself.The door banged open and Aloha marched in, followed by two of her friends.One of them, Emily was surprised to see, was a teenage boy with an oddly freakish body, as if he’d tried to force himself to grow up faster and bungled the spell.His arms and legs were the size of a mature man, while his chest was still small and ill-proportioned.The other was a girl with hair so black that it seemed to absorb light, carrying a small cat in her arms [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]