Paign had instinctively raised his arms up to cover his face when the blast of blinding light and heat assaulted them all. Perhaps it was for this reason that he was the first to recover from the excessively harsh parting. He had to shake his head to clear the ringing in it from the blast that had engulfed them the moment before they left the chaos of the cave.
“Well, that was close, eh? Eh? Yo, there! Anders?” he ran over to his cousin. Anders’s face was filthy, covered with grime, tiny grains of blasted stone, spots of blood and what looked like ash.I suppose the ash came from Tiny’s burnt hair, he thought to himself.
“Hey,” he said, gently shaking Anders. “Are you hurt?”
Slowly, Anders sat up. “Hm. Feel a bit cooked, as you might say. It got plenty hot right at the end there…you know, before we came here. And—where is that, anyway?” Paign had been watching his cousin closely and was relieved to see he was unhurt. Anders surveyed their new surroundings. His eyes suddenly grew wide.
“Why are we so far apart from each other, Paign?” he cried. “Did you move me over here for some reason?”
“Uh, no, of course not. What are you talking about?” he replied, suddenly annoyed with Anders. But as he looked around the meadow they were in, he finally noticed that, unlike their last parting, this time their group was strewn all around the meadow. Or at least some of them were. With deepening dread, he realized that some of his friends weren’t moving yet.
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