I feel like I am moving through the coldest darkness of space for several moments and then the smoke clears. I can still feel Antheus’ hard hand on my throat and I cough as it tightens and the airflow is stalled. He suddenly releases me and I fall to the floor gasping and coughing.
He stalks away from me and I spare a glance at the new room around me. I recognize the carpets and the tall-backed chair from the tower. We are in the upper-most room where the book is kept.
“You fool of a woman,” he shouts at me. “I am much more powerful than my pitiful brother and his idiot daughter.”
He sounds like he is trying to convince himself, but I banish the thought before he can read my mind and become even more angry.
“You’re not powerful enough to break the protection around Sareanne’s book,” I mutter.
I hear him inhale sharply and I realize I shouldn’t anger him further. He stomps over to where I am huddled and grabs my arm pulling me to my feet. I look him in the eye knowing full well he can see my fear, but also knowing it doesn’t make a difference.
“You will read the book for me,” he says with a deadly calm voice.
“Sareanne’s magic will just send me back to my own world and Sareanne won’t call me here again,” I say almost hopefully. I would love to go back to my own world, though no one would ever believe me if I told them what I had been through.
A wicked grin spreads across his face and fear shoots through me like an arrow. Something had changed since the last time. I tried to understand what could possibly make the difference and I realized, the protective power of the grapes.
His grin widens. “Yes, you are under her protection.” He pushes me backward. “Go get the book,” he commands.
Gone is the kind, smiling man I had encountered on my first visit and in his place is the evil sorcerer that had been hidden. I stumble backward running into a chair and tripping on the carpet. He laughs at my clumsiness and my temper flares.
“No,” I say simply. I won’t help this man.
“What?” he turns on me.
“I…I won’t help you, Antheus,” I say. My body trembles.
“Then we will be here for a very long time,” he looks at me and snorts, “I have a great deal of patience, do you?”
I knew I wouldn’t last long without food or water, but I also couldn’t help him if I was dead. I thought about Sareanne and Rutheus. Would they come to try and to help me?
Antheus snorted again. “They are no match for my power. Here on this island, I am the ruler.”