They appeared together as a group in the center of the deserted coliseum. An explosion of dust rose around their feet. Kayn noticed for the first time how massive the coliseum was. She’d still been a little bit out of it while the stands had been full to capacity with people. An extremely buffed gorgeous guy strode towards them and he began to shamelessly flirt with Lexy. Kayn glanced at Grey. He looked annoyed.
Kayn asked, “Who is that?”
Grey answered, “That’s Silas, and he’s Ankh. He won the Summit one year and chose to stay here. He also appears to have a giant crush on Lexy. She’s the star of the show this Summit and Silas is a bit of a fame whore.”
“You sound jealous,” Kayn teased.
Grey winked and said, “She’s my friend. I’m just looking out for her. She’s made a few questionable choices as of late.”
Kayn smiled at Grey, she hip chucked him and teased, “Right, just friends.”
He wasn’t expecting it and began to laugh as he almost toppled over. Lexy had fought everyone quite recently, and all by herself. She appeared unaffected by the whole thing. Dragons could tuck their traumatic emotions down so deep that they could appear undamaged in the aftermath of a storm. They could bring them back up as fuel for their inner fire when the dragon inside was required of them. The wind picked up and blew Lexy’s scarlet hair around and had the appearance of fire. Her crimson flames flickered in the wind. The wind blew Kayn’s hair around and a blonde mass of curls ended up in her mouth. She tucked her hair behind her ears. She glanced at her wrist and its lack of always present elastic bands. She glanced over and Silas was grinning at her plight.
Silas spoke to her, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Kayn. I have heard a few impressive things about you.”
Kayn took his hand and he gallantly turned it over, kissed the palm and closed it. She felt sick to her stomach. How could he possibly know about something that Kevin used to do? Something out of a children’s book. She was being silly, there’s no possible way he could have known about that. She was being seriously paranoid. She gave him an uncomfortable smile and took the hand he’d kissed and held it in the other one. Kevin...She was going to be forced to see him again. She would never be prepared to do that. What difference did the timing make in the long term? What was done was done. They were done. Her best friend had now taken on a new role as her enemy. They followed an overly exuberant Silas from the center of the coliseum and through another intricately etched gold archway. Maybe this bathing thing would not be that bad? She could use some pampering it felt as though she hadn’t had the opportunity to have a nice hot bath in what seemed like forever. Kayn smiled as Silas yammered on about how amazing it was that the two had survived twenty years in the testing. The group joked around and laughed. Kayn quietly followed them. It felt like she was walking slowly to the end of a plank. She kept trying to meet Frost’s gaze and he appeared to be deep in thought. She had finally stopped looking for his approval in every move she made. This was more than that. She felt queasy. She felt like something was off in some way and she knew what that meant. She felt like something was coming. Something was wrong. Did everyone else feel this way? They walked through another spectacular gold carved intricate archway into a white room full of round steaming pools with flower petals. They floated on the surface of the warm water. There was an intoxicating scent in the air. On the left side of the enormous room, there was a rich burgundy curtained off area. A change room? Silas gestured the five of them into the curtained area. Behind the curtains there were six small pools of water full of flower petals. Standing around the pools were dozens of scantily clad people, both men and women. No, this was definitely going to be uncomfortable. Kayn could only assume were royal servants. The five of them stood together as a confused group until the strangers walked up and skillfully removed their sarongs. Kayn glanced at Zach. He was in seventh heaven. He stripped down in front of his pool full of giggling women. He did not appear to be the least bit concerned. He grinned and stepped into the pool while women climbed right in and began to bath him. Melody and Haley were next and then Astrid. Kayn endeavoured to take off her sarong by herself, but soon there were half a dozen people scurrying around her to help. She crossed her arms across her chest and stepped into the steaming pool. She noticed Zach staring at her. She glared at him.
He winked and mouthed the words, “Just try to relax. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”
She began to laugh a little bit out of sheer nervous energy. He’d seen her nude on many occasions, because he’d walked in on her while she was changing countless times. The three of them had shared a room for a long time. Eventually Zach began to share a room with the guys, but for the longest time they’d shared a room as though they were partially immortal siblings. Her train of thought was interrupted. She was passed a glass of red wine and instead of declining it, she decided if there was ever a time to take the glass of wine without a second thought it was probably right now. She drank the entire glass without coming up for air and her pool was full of grinning faces. Kayn felt like she should at least be carrying on a conversation with the people who were submerged in the pool soaping her down. She felt like shrinking under the water so nobody could touch her. It felt like an invasion of her privacy. She wasn’t accustomed to having anyone’s hands, but her own on her body. She had never had anyone’s hands on her while naked before. What do you say? Were you supposed to talk? How were you supposed to react? She had backed into the corner of the pool and squeezed her eyes closed. She felt like a cat being scrubbed down against its will. She was attempting to look like she wasn’t absolutely mortified at the experience as a whole. She didn’t want to offend anybody. When she opened her eyes the male servants had disappeared from the water. She had no idea what to do so she kept silent. She took a deep breath and began to relax in the absence of strange male hands.
The wine had begun to work its magic. Leaves were placed over her eyes and a mud of some kind was plastered on her face. She couldn’t open her eyes under the leaves. She was afraid the mask would sting her eyes. She laid her head back and attempted to enjoy the pampering. She was left alone to soak in the bath with a strange mint scented concoction on her face. Someone began washing her feet without warning her, and it tickled to the point that she couldn’t help it. She kicked and began to giggle. Her face was then washed off. She opened her eyes and realized that there was an audience. Two men stood above her. They appeared to be some kind of royalty. She crossed her arms over her chest. The younger man appeared to be entertained by her attempt to hide her body from him.
The younger one spoke, “You are the Conduit?”
Kayn cleared her throat and responded quietly, “My name’s Kayn.”
He grinned in a manner to suggest she had spoken out of turn. He’d asked her a question and she had given him a different answer. He hadn’t asked her for her name. He had asked if she was the Conduit. She still didn’t really understand what that meant. He was waiting for her to answer the correct question. She felt as though he was not answering on purpose to make her feel uncomfortable. He was attempting to train her to behave. After a glass of wine, she was in a moderately unfiltered state. Kayn would have to choose the words she spoke aloud, wisely.
She smiled pleasantly and answered, “Yes, I guess I am.”
He replied, “You guess you are... What?”
She actually had to stop herself from rolling her eyes. She raised her eyebrows reigned in her sarcastic wit. She had a feeling it would be completely lost in this situation.
She responded, “I am.”
He gave her a frustrated look and questioned, “You are what?”
She gave her very best fake Chloe pageant smile and replied, “I am the Conduit.”
This guy was anal retentive douche. What a pompous ass.
He glared at her and said, “I understand what pompous ass means, but what do you mean by I am anal retentive douche?”
Zach began to choke on his glass of wine.
Her thoughts were not private...whoops. She’d have to rein them in too.
Kayn harnessed her inner Chloe and coolly responded, “It means you are overly concerned with small details.”
He teased, “Yes, I guess I am. It’s a pleasure to meet you Kayn.”
He was on purposely toying with her. He extended his hand to a naked Kayn who wasn’t sure what he wanted her to do? Was she supposed to shake it? Was she supposed to kiss his ring? He was openly grinning at her now. She knew he could read her mind. He could help her out here.
He whispered, “I’m an oracle. I need to touch your forehead.”
Kayn moved forward and knit her brow out of confusion as he placed his hand on her head and smiled. She noticed the symbol of Trinity on his hand as he pulled it away.
He whispered, “An unbroken Dragon after the Testing. Thank you. That was all I needed to know.”
Yes, I’m unbroken. Was he checking to see if she was still sane? That would depend on what level of sanity you were looking for, and who you spoke to. Am I going to wear you as a skin coat? Well, probably not. She only made skin coats out of people on Tuesday. Kayn smiled at her own off kilter sense of humor. Sometimes she could entertain herself for hours with her own messed up thoughts. She submerged herself except for her eyes under water and watched him walk away. Why hadn’t that man come to talk to anyone else?
She heard Zach tease from the pool next to her, “You look like you’re imitating a Rhino in the water at the zoo.”
She realized she was still submerged except for her eyes. She almost giggled underwater because she was lurking under the surface making messed up jokes in her mind. This was why nobody ever asked her what she was thinking about. She sucked in a mouthful of water and spat it at Zach, in the next pool. The servants appeared to be mortified at her barbaric behaviour. She had done it without thinking about it. There had been lots of people in this water, and she became instantly grossed out. She sunk back under the surface as he shot a mouthful back, opting out of retaliation.
She took her face out of the water and said, “What do you think that was that about?”
Zach teased, “Maybe he was trying to decide whether or not he should have you executed for calling him an anal retentive douche.”
Kayn replied, “He wasn’t royalty or anything. He’s Trinity. I saw his symbol.”
Zach scolded, “You are still supposed to behave yourself Miss Brighton.”