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As Korin lay wrapped in Ádan’s arms, pressed tight to Ádan’s chest, he listened to Ádan’s heartbeat. Felt the rise and fall of Ádan’s breathing. Rhythms that had become familiar to Korin, part of the world as it should be. And the relief that had filled him drained away, replaced by furious anger. “You don’t get to do that,” he spoke into Ádan’s chest. “You don’t get to do that! You don’t get to leave me.”

Ádan’s gentle fingers stroked down his cheek, brushing away tears Korin hadn’t noticed himself crying. And Ádan, usually so glib, said nothing.

But he didn’t let go.

Korin could have stayed here forever, wrapped in Ádan’s arms, except as the adrenaline faded and Korin’s mind started working again, he remembered where they were. And that it wasn’t safe. He pulled back and Ádan let him go enough he could sit up and ask, “Where’s Loukanos?”

And that set Ádan into motion, struggling to his feet. Korin followed the movement, grabbing Ádan’s hand to reclaim his attention. “Where?

“He was going to the Academy.” Ádan’s calm voice belied the frantic look in his eyes. “He knows about the knife. I have to—”

We have to.”

Ádan took hold of both of Korin’s hands, pulled him around so they were facing each other. “I can’t ask that of you.”

Korin squeezed tight, stared directly into Ádan’s eyes. “You’re not asking. I’m telling. We do this together, or not at all.”

A hint of a smile played at the corners of Ádan’s mouth. “You’re not leaving me much choice.”

“None.”

Ádan nodded, serious again. “Then let’s go.”

They ran across the city. The whole time, Korin was listening, straining his mind to try to reach for the knife. Always before, she’d spoken to him. She’d established the connection. He’d never asked—never thought he might need to speak with her.

But she would know if Loukanos was there. She would know what he was doing. She would know if they were already too late.

If Loukanos found her, if he got his hands on the power Korin had always felt—the power Korin had refused—there would be no end to the horrors he could wreak.

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