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The Stuff of Dreams

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The building shuddered. Cidgeon was rooted to the spot and what could he do? Cabanela had already gone in and Jowd was pinned straining against the ridiculous weight. There was a babble of noise around him he couldn’t make out, fear likely. There had to be something he could do more than simply wait uselessly, always waiting. He tried to move closer and—

—the sky flared white and—

—the screams were deafening and—

—the building collapsed.

Cidgeon stared. This… couldn’t be. Still, he couldn’t move, no matter how he wanted to stumble forward. There was no sign of Jowd under the rubble and Cabanela… After all of this time, it came to this? This waste, this…

The rubble exploded outward. Cabanela strode out, coat flaring and gleaming white as if he hadn’t just had a house fall on him. There was no sign of Jowd.

“You should have taken your chaaance, prof.”

You weren’t him, he wanted to say, but he couldn’t speak.

Cabanela stood with one hand on his hip and looked carelessly around them. “Such a meeess. What do you say we finally put Tzen out of its misery, baby?”

No…

Cabanela raised an elegant hand to the skies. Lightning crashed down around them. Flames erupted. He was burning. A shriek pierced his ears.

Cidgeon’s vision swam. He felt both warm and clammy and lay propped up on the ground. Lovey-Dove flapped frantically above him.

“Dad.”

Cidgeon blinked and there was Cabanela’s face above him, with none of the harshness he’d just witnessed, only an uncharacteristic worry, and he realized what was propping him up was Cabanela’s arm. The barren plains lay around them. Jowd stood on guard nearby and recollection slowly sunk in.

They’d been attacked by monsters, strange plant-like creatures, faces surrounded by vines. He’d gotten separated from the others… He grimaced. And then the, yes, bio magic. Blast.

“I couldn’t get to you before.” There was an underlying tension in Cabanela’s voice. “Are you all riiight?”

Cidgeon sat up. Lovey-Dove fluttered down into his lap. “I’m fine, boy.” He gave Lovey a soothing stroke and eyed Cabanela. It had only been a dream and a foolish one at that likely brought on by poison-induced fever. Tzen still stood. The Jester was away in that gaudy display of power he called a tower. And Cabanela… really had grown apart from him.

Cabanela bounced to his feet. “Do you need to rest?”

“No.” Cidgeon took Lovey into his arms and stiffly rose. “No point in staying around here and I don’t need you hovering over me.”

Cabanela grinned and whirled to face the sprawling plains. “You gooot it, prof.”

Cidgeon sighed to himself. And simultaneously Cabanela was still very much himself. The stuff of dreams was only a load of nonsense.