If ever again we happened to lose our balance, just when sleepwalking through the same dream on the brink of hell’s valley, if ever the magical mare (whom I ride through the night air hollowed out into caverns and caves where wild animals live) in a crazy fit of anger over some word I might have said without the perfect sweetness that works on her like a charm, if ever the magic Mare looks over her shoulder and whinnies: “So! You don’t love me!” and bucks me off, sends me flying to the hyenas, if ever the paper ladder that I climb so easily to go pick stars for Promethea—at the very instant that I reach out my hand and it smells like fresh new moon, so good, it makes you believe in god’s genius—if ever at that very instant my ladder catches fire—because it is so fragile, all it would take is someone’s brushing against it tactlessly and all that would be left is ashes—if ever I had the dreadful luck again to find myself falling screaming down into the cruel guts of separation, and emptying all my being of hope, down to the last milligram of hope, until I am able to melt into the pure blackness of the abyss and be no more than night and a death rattle,I would really rather not be tumbling around without my pencil and paper.
She sat back, eyeing the flames now leaping upward to lick at the wooden beams of the ceiling. "If this fire gets out of hand, or if the guards take too long to come, you and I may be in a lot of trouble.""We are already in a lot of trouble.""That was my reasoning, too. Of course, if that happens and the fire gets too big before the mighty citizens of Ringhmon stop it, it'll also gut this little palace and destroy everything inside it. Including the enormously expensive Model Six that I just fixed, which they'll be responsible for paying fo, and probably the other Model Six that they openly own." She shrugged, trying to appear unworried. "That'll teach them to kidnap me. But that won't happen. We'll be fine.""You say that and yet you are frightened.""Yes, I'm frightened! I admit it! Happy? No, wait, Mages are never happy. Just try not to die, all right? I don't want that to be my fault."Alain thought through her words. "I will attempt not to die. Your plan appears to be sound, as well as potentially very destructive. I see that it is a mistake to offend you.