Chapter 32

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Sunlight poured in from the lone window on the woman sitting cross-legged on the floor. She was in a sparse room at the inn, a place she had occupied for the past month. She was in deep thought, practicing her mental exercises. Though she was clad only in a loose-fitting shirt, sweat ran off her face and down her chest and back. She had been at this for over four hours and her level of fatigue was now high. She exerted her will, pressing her limits, trying to endure a little while longer, knowing she would continue beyond that when she reached her goal.

Her routine had been the same every day for the past month. She would rise early in the morning and go through a physical workout of two hours. She would practice all her movements and techniques in slow motion. She painstakingly insured that every movement was precise, that every technique was executed at the proper time and in the proper sequence. Then she would subject herself to an additional two hours of mental exercises, sharpening the mind as she did the body.

Afterwards, she would allow herself to go downstairs and partake of a light meal. Following which, she would venture out into the city. Sometimes to get the word on the street, sometimes to go to the public library and study philosophical texts. When her mind could absorb no more, she would return to the inn for dinner and then retire to her room for another workout. And wait.

Though she heard the knock at the door, it did not break her concentration. It was another quarter hour before she allowed herself to end the meditations. She stood and padded barefoot to the door, stripping off her shirt to dry her face and body. Looking down, she discovered a note lying on the floor, just inside of the door. She picked the note up and ran a hand through her damp blonde hair as she read it. She walked over to her bed, sat down and reread the note. She wanted to be sure. When she was, she destroyed it. Then Vhalkhette proceeded to prepare her mail and weapons saying to herself, "This one will be difficult. Very difficult. You had better be right old man."


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