"What's hiding in that hill?"
Damn him, and damn the tiny room! She wanted to get away, to avoid revealing the truth. He'd just tell his Pallora Fen friends, and they'd do something worse than the Peacekeepers.
"You already know!"
"Know what? Tell me, Lilly."
"Or what? You'll try to kill me again?"
He sat back, staring up at her with a look of shock and shame on his face as if he'd been slapped. He sank until he hunched over to prop his elbows on his thighs. "I deserved that, I suppose."
"Yes, you do. I remember, Mychel." She stepped away to the door, the farthest she could get from him and the awful memory of how he'd betrayed her. "I remember you attacking me, this time because I defended Darrac. Then you lied to me about it. Would you ever have told the truth if the commandant hadn't shown me?"
He hung his head of sandy-blonde hair. "I thought it was the only way to save you…and then I saw…a daemon defended a celemae. He was willing to die for you. I didn't know what to believe. And then it all happened so fast that I didn't have time to think until after the daemons were gone. You, Lilly, have a power I have never seen before."
That almost sounded like an apology, but not quite.
Mychel ruffled his fingers through his hair, then stopped suddenly and stiffened.
"It was my fault." He focused on her, his brows pressed in shame. "I'm sorry. I didn't know. He must have betrayed them. When he used his power to heal, the daemons were able to locate him. I'm sorry, Lilly. I didn't know."
"You should have thought of that before you attacked me."
He adjusted his leg and winced. "I didn't realize. I thought he had corrupted you. But you…you changed him. That's what the woman—Soroya—meant. Not only do you contain the Un'Dei, but you used it on him. You must have been making him whole again." Mychel's eyes crawled up and down her body as if seeing her anew or trying to assess what she had already figured out. It had taken him long enough.
"Within you is the power they seek. You're meant to become something new, something beyond any other celemae."
"What?" Why couldn't they explain to her what seemed so abundantly clear to them?
"I don't know."
That deflated her expectations.
"If you'll let me help you, we might learn what it is you could become."
"How?" she asked warily. "Your Pallora Fen friends?"
"Something like that."
"And you'll forget about the Vel—" She clamped her mouth upon catching her slip but let out a gust of breath. He already knew, whether she confirmed it or not. "They're good men. Promise you'll leave them out of this, Mychel. Say anything to your Pallora Fen and I will refuse to cooperate."
An empty threat—she would need to develop her power if she hoped to reunite with Darrac. Unfortunately, the Pallora Fen seemed to be her only option.
From the look on his face, Mychel knew. "Agreed. I won't tell them about your…friends." He said the last word as if it left a foul taste on his tongue.
Good enough. The weight lifted from her mind, although not totally. Mychel was too dedicated to let something like daemon followers alone.
He pursed his lips in a reluctant yielding and nodded. "I think I owe Darrac an apology. Without his sacrifice, we wouldn't know about you. But, now that we do, you'll be a bigger target than ever for daemons."