Star of Wonder, page 26
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Amanda drifted in and out of dreams, or she thought they were dreams. Surely they must be, for nowhere in the greater galaxy did there exist women with pointed ears and claw-like fingernails, furred faces and slit-pupiled eyes, who spoke together in a language which rose and fell nothing like the sharp, clear cadences of the Vershal she had grown up speaking. Had she, she wondered, slipped somehow into fairyland?
A sweet drink was held to her lips once, and she started to swallow, then stopped, remembering that eating or drinking in fairyland meant that one was bound there for a hundred years. The voices murmured together, and then An-jing spoke near her ear. “This will help you, if you let it. But you have to drink.”
Of course I’m not in fairyland. An-jing’s just as human as I am, and she wouldn’t lie to me. Obediently, Amanda opened her mouth and swallowed the potion, and felt a deep darkness rise up and wash over her, a cool, cleansing tide of sleep. She must, she realized with the last vestiges of consciousness, have been sleeping very poorly indeed since her grandparents had arrived.
Then there was nothing but the knowledge of rest, of finding at last a place to lay her burden down for a while, with the voices still murmuring in that unknown language in the background, though from time to time a word caught her ear that she knew. Her own name was one, and that of her beloved another, and then, making her smile even in her dreams, the word “California”.
The California. Dai’s ship. Dai’s ship and mine.