Sarton sits down in the library facing me. This is the first time he’s faced me since I’ve come back. He says to me, “Mia swung by and told me everything.”
I nod. It saves me the trouble. I don’t feel much like talking. I haven’t felt much like talking since I returned to this world. Telling my father and step-mother that Jallia was dead didn’t make me any more talkative. And that was a month ago.
“You’ve had a terrible initiation, my boy,” he goes on to say. “Worse than mine. So that’s the end of your apprenticeship.”
It takes me a few moments to realize what Sarton is saying. “I’m no longer your apprentice?”
“That is correct,” he replies. “You are now a full magician in your own right.”
For a moment, I’m elated. But then reality kicks in. “I don’t know half of what you do,” I point out.
“You don’t know a fifth of what I know,” Sarton corrects me. “But you contended with gods without losing your head, and a little bit of the gods has rubbed off on you. That’s master magician level of work. I’d be a fool not to acknowledge it.” Sarton looks around the library and then grins at me. “You have the ability, and you’ve proven it in the most dire way possible.
“So you don’t know as much as I do. You can learn. I can still teach you. And you will now teach me as well.”
I snort. “What can I teach you?”
“Well, for starters, what did you learn in your fight with the gods?” Sarton is genuinely interested.
I sigh. “That I’m not a hero, that being a hero is overrated.”
Sarton actually looks a bit disappointed. “That’s too bad. I always wanted to be one. You’re going to have to explain to me why that’s so.”
“I’m not sure I can.” I have to smile. The thought of me teaching Sarton why being a hero isn’t such a great idea!
“You’ll figure it out,” Sarton confidently replies. “In the meantime, we need to get you new quarters. Since you’re no longer an apprentice, moving back to the servant’s quarters is out of the question. You should have proper quarters here at the palace. I’ll speak to the chamberlain.”
“You’re serious,” I say with some wonder.
Sarton doesn’t reply. He just grins at me.
And then I remember just why I’ve been living in Sarton’s workshop. “What about Lady Gwella?”
“Mia told me about the two of you. If she’s carrying your child, Tollon, I don’t think she’s going to kill you any time soon. In fact, I doubt she can,” Sarton adds.
“I’d still like to know why she wanted to carry my child but keep me ignorant of the fact.”
“As would I,” Sarton concurs. “As would I. But you’re a full magician now. Lady Gwella doesn’t know that, and if she hears about it, she won’t believe it. You are in an excellent position to catch her by surprise.” Sarton strokes his beard. “Aye, I think it time that you and I made Lady Gwella’s business our business.”