Now she wanted to be as prepared and strong as she possibly could. She figured that my training would start right away too, since I needed to be more prepared than anyone else here.
The night went on much the same way, and I was surprised when she joined us for supper. This time she even ate what Matt cooked, and I felt as if the whole world were turning upside down.
I went to bed shortly after, but I tossed and turned all night. My mind raced too much to really sleep. It felt like I’d only just fallen asleep when someone shook me awake. I pushed the person off, snuggling deeper in my covers.
It wasn’t until I had buried my face in my pillow that I realized I should probably be alarmed that someone was in my room. What with evil trolls trying to kidnap me and all that.
“Holy hell!” Tove Kroner shouted and jumped back from the side of my bed.
I’d sat up, almost leaping out of bed, preparing to attack whoever had just woken me up. It turned out to be Tove, and I didn’t understand what I’d done to him.
As far as I knew, I hadn’t even reacted yet, other than sitting up. But Tove stood off to the side of the room, pressing his palms to his temples. He was bent over, his dark hair falling over his face.
“Tove?” I swung my feet over the edge of the bed and stood up. He didn’t respond, so I stepped closer to him. “Tove? Are you okay? Did I do something?”
“Yeah.” He shook his head and straightened up. His eyes were closed, but he’d dropped his hands from his head.
“I’m sorry. What did I do?”
“I don’t know.” Tove opened his mouth wide and stretched his jaw, reminding me of someone who had just been slapped in the face. “I came in to wake you up for your training. And you…”
“Did I hit you?” I supplied when he trailed off.
“No, it was in my head.” Tove stared ahead thoughtfully for a minute. “No, you were right. It was like you slapped me inside my head.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Have you ever done anything like that before? Maybe when you were scared?” He turned to look at me, ignoring my confusion to satisfy his.
“Not that I know of, but I don’t even know what I did.”
“Hmm.” He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “Your abilities are still developing. They should fully present themselves soon, and maybe this is part of that. Or maybe it’s just because I’m me.”
“Because I’m psychic,” Tove reminded me. “Your aura is very dark today.”
He couldn’t read minds or anything, but he could sense things. I projected, so I could get in people’s minds like Elora could and use persuasion, and Tove received, so he could see auras and was more sensitive to emotion.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“You’re unhappy.” Tove sounded distracted, and he made for the door. “Hurry. Get dressed. We have much to do.”
He left my room before I could ask him more, and I didn’t understand what Willa saw in him. I wasn’t sure if she really had a crush on him, or if her interest only stemmed from the fact that his family was powerful. The Kroners were next in line for the crown, Tove specifically, if I couldn’t fulfill my duties.
Tove was attractive, though. His dark hair had soft natural highlights coursing through it, although it was longish and unruly, settling below his ears. His skin had a distinct mossy undertone, the green complexion that occurred in some powerful Trylle. Nobody here had skin like that, except maybe his mother, but hers was even fainter than Tove’s.
I didn’t know why Tove would be training me. I’m not sure that Elora approved of him, even if he had connections. Besides that, he was scatterbrained and a little strange.
Tove did have the strongest abilities out of any of the Trylle I’d met. This was particularly weird since men usually had weaker abilities than their female counterparts.
But I wanted to get a handle on my abilities, so I figured it’d do me good to spend the day doing something other than moping around. I dressed quickly and left my room to find Tove chatting with Duncan.
“Ready?” Tove asked without looking at me. He started walking before I answered.
“Duncan, you don’t need to come with us,” I told him as I hurried after Tove. Duncan followed me the way he always did, but he slowed.
“It’s probably best if he does,” Tove said, tucking his hair behind his ears.
“Why?” I asked, but Duncan smiled, excited to be included.
“We need someone to test on,” Tove replied matter-of-factly, and Duncan’s smile instantly faded.
“Where are we going?” I nearly jogged to keep up with Tove, and I wished he would slow down.
“Did you hear that?” Tove stopped abruptly, and Duncan almost ran into him.
“What?” Duncan looked around, as if expecting an attacker to be waiting behind a closed door.
“I didn’t hear anything,” I said.
“No, of course you didn’t.” Tove waved me off.
“Why wouldn’t I? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Because you’re the one that made the sound.” Tove sighed, still focused on Duncan. “Are you sure you didn’t hear anything?”
“No,” Duncan said. He looked over at me, hoping I could shed light on Tove’s random behavior, but I shrugged. I had no idea what he was talking about.
“Tove, what’s going on?” I asked, speaking loudly so he’d pay attention to me.
“You need to be careful.” Tove cocked his head, listening. “You’re quiet now. But when you’re upset, angry, scared, irritated, you send things out. You’re not controlling it, I don’t think. I can pick it up, because I’m sensitive. Duncan can’t and the average Trylle can’t, because you’re not directing it at them. But if I can hear it, others might too.”
“What? I didn’t say anything,” I said, growing more frustrated with him.
“You thought, I wish he’d slow down,” Tove said.
“I wasn’t using persuasion or anything.” I was dumbfounded.
“I know. You’ll get a handle on it, though,” he assured me, and then started walking again.
He led us downstairs. I’m not sure where I thought he’d take us, but I was definitely surprised by where we ended up—the ballroom that had been devastated by the Vittra attack. It had once been luxurious, very much like a ballroom from a Disney fairy tale. Marble floors, white walls with gold detailing, skylights, diamond chandeliers.