Others, 55

Donny was crying, but that was fixable. “Hey,” Jacob said, kneeling in front of him. “It’s okay.”

“No!” Donny insisted, face in his hands. “No!”

Jacob nodded, picking Donny up even as he fought. “It’s time for bed.”

“No bed! Don’t want bed!”

Donny was a very smart boy and was normally very erudite for a child, and he thought about big important things most of the time, but he was three years old at the end of the day, no matter how often he told Jacob that he was actually seven, an insistence somewhat in contrast with Donny making Jacob count the days until his fourth birthday every day.

Dragon, 120

“It seems like he had an aneurysm,” said Georgina, after she’d come into the room. They’d all been sitting waiting for the doctor to talk to her. She’d clearly been crying, and she sat down on a couch. Gavin got up and went to go sit beside her, hugging her. “There was nothing anyone could have done.”

“That’s when a blood vessel gathers a lot of blood and breaks open,” Boey said quietly, for Greg’s benefit. Owen would have done it, but he didn’t know what an aneurysm was. “It’s pretty rare, but it is something that can happen to a healthy person.”

“He didn’t seem sick at all,” Gabrielle said. She was in a chair, but she’d pulled it closer to the couch Franz was on and was holding his hand.

“He wouldn’t have,” said Gloria. She was sitting by herself, rubbing her arms, looking distant. “He would have felt fine until maybe a few seconds before it happened.”

Grey Rain tugged Owen’s sleeve. Did it hurt a lot?

Others, 50

It was a good day to get married.

It had been a long enough betrothal, though Gabrielle knew that was stupid. Lots of people were betrothed for years and years, the fact that hers had only lasted a year and a half wasn’t such a big deal, even if she had wanted it to be shorter. She’d always liked Remin too, so the first was a good day for their future anniversary to be on.

But none of that was as important as the fact that Gabrielle was happy to be getting married. Not finally getting married or getting it over with or anything like that. It was her wedding day and she was happy.

Noble, 47

“They’re perfectly safe as far as my master can tell,” said Cliff, looking at the necklaces Franz had mailed them.

“As far as he can tell?” Javier prompted, as Geoffrey took his. They were in a small room in an inn—not the Spongecake—that Giacomo and Dahlia had wanted them to teleport from to avoid a security risk to the castle.

“Well, it seems like Ronaldo didn’t make them on his own. They have magecraft in them. It’s a bit hard to find a mage to verify on short notice, but Master Gaston says we can trust Ronaldo.” Cliff shrugged. “Wizards can’t do teleportation magic, so he would have needed someone’s help.”

“I don’t like that we don’t know for sure,” Javier said, arm around Geoffrey. He didn’t like a lot of things about this, including that it was happening.

Chosen One, 106

Isaac was on his way back from lunch when Jacob ran up to him, looking alarmed. “I need your help,” he said, out of breath.

“Okay,” Isaac said. Jacob had been at the palace at work, as far as he’d known. “What do you need? Is something wrong?” His mind went immediately to Matthias. Maybe he’d been in touch with Jacob.

Jacob nodded, then changed his mind and shook his head. “Yes,” he said. “Something is wrong with Dragon’s mate.”