The boat left Darnassus and Kage’s mother far behind. Robin breathed a sigh of relief as she watched the island disappear. So, she hadn’t broken Miss Sage. That fear was over with. She’d actually succeeded, or, she’d helped Sage’s own chi in righting itself. If Miss Sage was right she had, in a sense, healed and balanced the elf’s two sides. Sage was, theoretically, no longer stuck in her worgen form.


She felt a sense of pride when the worgen’s chi had slid into place and stopped battling her. It wasn’t easier than righting Kage’s, but it had taken less energy. The problem had come when she’d been leaving the city. Instead of just seeing the people as she exited, she’d occasionally catch a glimpse of their energy flows, seeing their chi as if it was plain as day. Oxplow had told her such a thing was possible. Robin focused on letting the sight go, releasing the energy she’d held to see Sage’s flow to end what she felt was utter violation of the passerby’s privacy.


She’d hurried through the town and took the first hippogryph available to the boats. It wasn’t until she’d boarded the boat that she’d realized there’d been no reason to rush, to hurry, no one could’ve seen what she’d done. She wasn’t even sure it was even a crime, but it made her knees tremble, or maybe that was the rocking of the waves?


Robin sank down in a chair below deck. She rested her head on the table and closed her eyes. It was all behind her now, anyway. She’d managed to help someone.


“Please don’t tell me you’re feeling sorry for yourself because you realized that you might be more than you ever thought you could be. Most people rejoice and do cartwheels. You? You look like you sold the prize mechanical squirrel for a jar of goblin spit.”


That voice. Robin’s head snapped up and her gaze met none other than Ceera’s cold eyes. She glared. “What are you doing here? How did you even find me?”


Ceera snapped her fingers and two chocolate chip muffins appeared on the table between them. “That’s no way to greet your aunt. Muffin?”


The muffin was blown off the table and onto the floor by a small bit of chi. Ceera frowned and shook her head. “Such a waste. You and the muffin. Do you even understand? When I used you as a vessel, I knew you were slightly unusual, but you weren’t anything special. No magic. None of the usual Gyroshock glory. But you’ve grown into something very impressive. Perhaps the smartest and most impressive of us all. And your grandfather. Now, he was something. Until…he went mad and tried to create a dimensional rift to enter the land of purple polka-dot bunnies. Never did find out what happened to him.”


“I really don’t want compliments from you. I don’t want anything to do with you. I’d rather you leave.” Robin kept her eyes on Ceera. She didn’t dare let the mage out of her sight.


“That isn’t true. We both know who I really am. And you’re desperately seeking out a relationship with Ciera. All that sisterly love and I feel left out." She sighed. "Besides, I’m here to applaud your efforts. With a present for my niece.”


Ceera smiled and set a round stone on the table. It was tiny, just a little bigger than a coin. In the center was an imprint of a tiger’s paw. “You’re partial to Xuen. I picked up this trinket somewhere in Pandaria.”


Robin reached out to touch it, her eyes widened and she looked to Ceera, blinking. “There’s no magic on this.”


“Why would there be?” Ceera leaned back in her chair, chuckling. “I know you could sense and break any spell I laced it with. Your mastery over chi is, at least, as strong as my mastery of magic. I realized that when you broke those fel bars for that Ida girl. Very heroic, by the way.” Ceera’s iconic witch-hat shifted colors from blue to red.


The coin hit the wooden table with a thud. The monk studied Ceera as the familiar fear began to make her body shake. “How…how do you know…about that?”


“The same way I know about what you did for the girl Kage. Pretty compassionate of you, especially to do that for a mage girl. The same way I know about your exploits with that group against the flame druid. Templars, right? Yeah. You would join them. All holy and righteous. Arialynn’s an especially irritating light sucking bitch.”


Robin slammed her fist down on the table. “Don’t call her that.”


Ceera laughed. “Okay, she’s not a worgen. Would you prefer glorified moron? But we’re off track. What else do I know? Oh, yes, I know…that you can see my chi if you want to. I know what you just did for that woman, Sage, was it? I wouldn’t feel too bad about it. It’s a family trait. Manipulating people’s lives. It comes natural to us. That you can do it so directly is a feat I’m jealous of.”


“You’re…not. You’re not connected to us anymore. So how do you know any of this? Been spying on me?”


Ceera smirked. Her chair was tilted at an impossible angle, it should’ve tipped over and sent her on her rear by then, but it stayed stable.


“You’re not.”


“Of course I’m not, dear niece. Of course. I have my ways of finding things. Like weaknesses. I know yours. I know what would make you finally shatter that noble façade. You do, too. I’m right here in front of you. And you’ve never wanted to drain the life from someone as badly as you do me. But you’re afraid because you’re intelligent.”


Robin stood, fists clenched as Ceera talked.


“You know I’m dangerous. You never doubted for a second that I was anything but evil. Even after I gave them the recipe to let all of you go, but you can’t figure out why I did that. So you want to believe I’m good. That I’ve seen the light. You want to, but you can’t. Which is why you won’t try to murder me right here with my own chi. You’re wondering…how I know what I know. What I want, if anything, and…if killing me will have consequences you can’t live with.”


Ceera’s chair settled back to the floor and she leaned across the table, whispering. “I’m the only person you fear more than yourself. And you’re wondering now…how much stronger you will have to become to stop me.”


“I want you to go.” Robin stood and backed away from the table. 


“Isn’t it maddening? You don’t know if there is any danger. You just have to prepare for it. Good luck when you journey beyond the portal, Robin. We should get together when you return. Have a chat and a muffin.” Ceera smiled and vanished in a flash of fire.


Robin stumbled and plopped down onto the floor of the cabin. She kept looking at the spot Ceera had vacated. The woman was just trying to rattle her…it couldn’t mean anything. But how did the mage know all of that? The rest  could’ve been disovered by spying, but how did Ceera know what she was seeing?


“At least Miss Sage is better. Ceera can’t take that away from me. She can’t make me doubt that I did the right thing.” She stood and crawled to a hammock. She needed to rest. The rocking of the boat was making her sick.


Author Robin
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