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There’s an edge. Every time I gear up, I hit a slowdown, so I know that an edge lays beyond. A sword slowing as it nears its mark. Seems it’s working on me more than I’m working on it. Like I imagine watching my own sun go nova: details sharpening in the final moment’s arrival, beautiful, beautiful always. Amazing steps of amazing effort in this hyperbolic downward frontline towards nothing-not-nothing. Seconds protract, the transmission of time condensed into a line, fiber into thread. The stun of conclusion when the line’s end appears.

Listening for a change, she hears nothing. Soleil is running without stopping, but there’s nothing. Then something arrives, and she can see nothing but the writhing scales, seamlessly enfolded within their grasp.

Stoically standing, she knows there is nowhere to hide. Eyes emerge in a draconid face, fresh and delicate, fascinating and fascinated. Then, the rumble of a strangely familiar-sounding voice beginning to communicate.

I noticed you, moving around.
I caught wind of you…
recognized you.
I ate your mother,
when I was born.
I ate a lot of people,
right away,
and grew.
It was emerge or die.
They were waiting for me.
They would have killed me.
I chose to live.
Yours is not the only mother I ate,
doubtfully the last,
with so many mothered beings in existence.
Now we meet.
I am Acamar.

Without thinking of the significance of her words, Soleil asked, “Did you seek me?”

The dragon admitted, “Yes.” This revealed to them a new understanding of their positions in the nature of their meeting. The dragon wanted to give her something.

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