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“This will be our last interview.” He looked up from his steaming cup of what I hope was coffee.

“Are you going away?” I asked.

“In a way.”

“In a way, yes or in a way, no?”

“Isn’t the phrase meant to encompass both possibilities?”

I stifled my urge to argue and merely nodded in agreement. There was a question burning through my pillows each night since I last saw Derius. He had been elusive and extremely secretive then and was no better as he sat across from me drinking his coffee.

“I’ve wondered about your relationship with Eloa and have to ask, is she more than a friend?”

“She is my partner.”

“Partner in a romantic sense?”

“In many senses.” He added, causing more questions to form. “But that is not what makes you fidget. Ask your real question and do not lie,” smiling, he reclined in his chair, “because I will know.”

Taking advantage of my open door, I dared to ask. “What was taken? What did you have to do?”

His gaze hardened briefly before he placed his laced fingers on the table and leaned in. “The last time I was misfortune enough to be human, Eloa got pregnant. She adored the unborn and when it was ripped away from her, I vowed to give her back the opportunity that was taken from her.”

“You came up here to get your partner pregnant?”

“I came to keep my word.”

“Are you the father? Is she pregnant or did you steal a child?”

“I am, yes, and it was an option at one point.”

“Will your child be human?”

“It will be a scale tipper.”

“What do you mean?”

“There’s a very delicate balance.” He lowered his voice and leaned in closer. “If it does tip, you will know.”

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