Ascend / Page 36

Page 36


“The good news is that the damage seems to support what Kenna was saying,” Loki said. He stopped leaning on the fridge and walked over to sit next to me.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“The hobgoblins aren’t vicious or mean, not really,” Loki said. “They’re destructive and irritating, sure, but I’ve never known them to kill anybody.”

“They have now.” Willa gestured to the mess around us.

“I didn’t think murder was their ultimate goal, though,” Loki said. “They were trying to destroy the town. And even when they fought with that team the other night, they didn’t kill most of them.”

“How does that help anything?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Loki shrugged. “But I think they aren’t as hard to defeat as we once thought. They’re not fighters.”

“I’m sure that will be real comforting to all the dead people here,” Tove said.

“Alright.” Willa stood up. “That’s enough for me. I’m ready to go inside and get cleaned up and get some sleep. What about you guys?”

“Do we have places to sleep?” Duncan asked.

“Yes,” Willa nodded. “Kenna told me that most of the bedrooms in the palace weren’t that damaged, and they have some running water if we want to get cleaned up.”

“Well, I definitely want those things.” Loki got up.

We all walked back to the palace, but Tove lagged behind. I slowed down to walk with him, and he twitched a lot. He kept swatting at his ear, like there was a mosquito or a fly buzzing by, but I didn’t see any. I asked if he was okay, but he just shook his head.

Kenna showed us to the extra rooms in the palace, and I felt bad for taking them. She pointed out that were too many people for the bedrooms, so she didn’t want to divvy them out amongst the survivors in the ballroom.

Besides that, the rooms she showed us weren’t in such great of shape. They were small, and while they didn’t have major damage, they were in disarray. Our whole room seemed to slant slightly to the side, and books and furniture were tossed all over.

I straightened the room up and let Tove shower first. Something seemed off with him, and I thought it would be better if he had a chance to rest instead of doing more work. I wanted nothing more than to rest my head, but I wanted to make sure Tove was alright first.

“What are you doing?” Tove asked. He came back to the room after the shower, his hair all wet and a mess.

“I’m making the bed,” I said. I was smoothing out the sheets but I turned to face him. “How was your shower?”

“Why are you making the bed?” he snapped and rushed over to it. I moved out of the way and he pulled down the sheets.

“Sorry,” I said. “I didn’t know it would upset you. I thought it would be –”

“Why?” Tove whirled around to face me, his green eyes burning. “Why would you do that?”

“I just made the bed, Tove,” I said carefully. “You can unmake it if you want. Why don’t you get into bed? Okay? You’re exhausted. I’ll go shower, and you get some sleep.”

“Fine! Whatever!”

He ripped the sheets off the bed and muttered to himself. He’d done too much today and overloaded his brain. My head was still buzzing, and I was stronger than him. I couldn’t imagine how he felt.

I gathered up the duffle bag I’d packed from Förening and went down to take a shower. Leaving him alone to rest would probably be the best thing I could do for him. I wanted to take a long hot shower, but by the time I got to it, the water was cold, so I showered quickly.

Even before I made it to the room, I could hear Tove. His mutterings had gotten louder.

“Tove?” I said quietly and pushed open the bedroom door.

“Where have you been?” Tove shouted, his eyes wide and frantic. All the cleaning I had done in the room had been undone. Everything was strewn about, and he was pacing.

“I was in the shower,” I said. “I told you.”

“Did you hear that?” He froze and looked around.

“What?” I asked.

“You’re not even listening!” Tove yelled.

“Tove, you’re tired.” I walked into the room. “You need to sleep.”

“No, I can’t sleep.” He shook his head and looked away from me. “No. Wendy.” He ran his hands through his hair. “You don’t understand.”

“What don’t I understand?” I asked.

“I can hear it all.” He put both his hands to the side of his head. “I can hear it all!” He kept repeating it, and he held his head tighter. His nose started to bleed, and he groaned.

“Tove!” I rushed over to him and I reached out, just to comfort him, but when I did, he slapped me hard in the face.

“Don’t you dare!” Tove turned on me and threw me back on the bed. I was too startled to do anything. “I can’t trust you! I can’t trust any of you!”

“Tove, please calm down,” I begged him. “This isn’t you. You’re just tired.”

“Don’t tell me who I am! You don’t know who I am!”

“Tove.” I slid to the edge of the bed, so that I was sitting, and he stood in front of me, glowering down at me. “Tove, please listen to me.”

“I can’t.” He bit his lip. “I can’t hear you!”

“You can hear me,” I said. “I’m right here.”

“You’re lying!” Tove grabbed me by my shoulders and started shaking me.

“Hey!” Loki shouted, and Tove let go of me.

I’d left the bedroom door open when I came in, and Loki had been on his way back to his room from his own shower. He was still shirtless, and his light hair was dripping water onto his shoulders.

“Go away!” Tove yelled at him. “I can’t have you here!”

“What the hell are you doing?” Loki asked.

“Loki, it’s not him,” I said. “He’s used his abilities too much, and it’s done something to him. He needs to sleep.”

“Stop telling me what I need to do!” Tove growled. He raised his hand like he meant to slap me again, and I flinched.

“Tove!” Loki shouted and ran over to him.

“Loki!” I yelled, afraid that he would hit him, but he didn’t.

Loki grabbed Tove by the shoulders, making him look at him. Tove tried to squirm away, but within seconds, he was unconscious. His body slacked, and Loki caught him. I moved out of the way so Loki could lay him back down on the bed.


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