“Child,” said Ercen, “when we are stone, we are still alive. But changing from one state to the other often will dislodge a feather or two.”
“I saw lots of feathers littering the courtyard, though,” replied Danielle. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer to the question buzzing in her head, but she had to know. “So, when you change from stone to, uh, not-stone, feathers can get knocked out?”
“Yes,” answered both Kimar and Ercen.
“OK, but there were quite a few feathers, maybe twenty or more, so wouldn’t that mean you changed back and forth a bunch of times? How long have you been…walls?”
Kimar, who had been looking at the glittering roof of stalactites overhead, slowly dropped his eyes until he was looking intently into Danielle’s face. “We’d been waiting two of your lunar cycles for you to come.”
Danielle felt a weird tightness forming in her stomach, and almost a shortness of breath.
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