The old woman handed each twin a giant lemon as they passed into her house. Myaal put the rare delicacy down on a table near the door, but the old woman shoved it back into her hands. The women had a silent battle of wills and tiny sparks of power popped between them. Salia tensed. If the lightworker killed Myaal, he stood little chance of escape.
“Stop it,” he said quietly to Myaal. The women disengaged without a word and Myaal accepted the lemon.
“They keep your scheming in check,“ the woman said to Salia, “No more death from you two. “
“We haven’t killed anyone,” Myaal said smoothly. As soon as the words left her mouth, she doubled over in pain. Salia gasped, feeling a sharp jab. Myaal tried to squish the lemon in her hand and the jab turned into a wretched twist of the gut. The twins fell to their knees in agony.
The old woman smirked at them.
“We must go,” Salia panted, reaching for his sister, “she will kill us.”
“No,” both women cried. The lightworker’s voice was sharp and angry. Myaal’s sounded pained and weak.
“What price do you require?’ Salia asked after he caught his breath. “This must not fail.”
“A pure soul,” the old woman said. “not of the Pehni. Perhaps one of the royals you bow and scrape to?”
“Now who brings death?” Myaal laughed. She winced as the next jab found them.
“Do not presume to understand my work,” the lightworker vibrated with anger. Her power lifted her up off the ground. “I move light, not blood.”
“We will be back in two days,” Salia pulled himself off the floor and lent a hand to his sister. He handed his lemon back to the woman. “I thank you for your time.”
“Keep them,” she said, settling back on the floor. “as a bond of agreement.”
The twins exchanged looks.
“If you do not return, try to get rid of them, or bring me anything less than a pure soul,” the woman folded her hands before her “they will kill you.”