The Epilogue

Five Months Later

Though the sun had only just appeared in the sky, Phael was grinning as he made his way to Pyron's house. In about two hours, he would have to be back at his own house, treating various illnesses and injuries, but for now, all he had to do was visit Pyron. No one knew of their relationship--they were doing their best to keep it a secret. Inter-city-state relationships, after all, were still taboo. Keeping it a secret wasn't all that difficult: most of Pyron's friends only ever saw him at work and most of Phael's friends were little more than acquaintances. It meant that they couldn't move in together, unfortunately, but it was a sacrifice that they had to make.

Anyway, Phael and Pyron had reasoned, no one could really protest their relationship even if they did find out. The main reason inter-city-state relationships were taboo was because people feared creating offspring with diluted powers. But since it wasn't possible for Pyron and Phael to create offspring…well, no diluted powers would result.

Phael knocked on Pyron's door when he arrived. The door opened almost immediately, revealing Pyron. Pyron grinned shyly at him. "Hey. Come on in," he said, stepping aside to allow Phael to admit himself.

As soon as Pyron closed the door, Phael gave him a brief kiss in greeting. "Hello. I hope I didn't wake you up," he said.

"No, I was just getting up. It's my day off anyway, so I don't have to work late tonight," Pyron told him. Phael knew this all ready, but he still wanted to make sure that he hadn't disturbed Pyron.

"Oh, good," Phael said. "At least one of us doesn't have to work today," Phael joked.

Pyron laughed a little. "Yeah. Oh! I almost forgot," Pyron said. He took Phael's hands and, one after the other, removed his gloves. Since their first kiss five months ago, Pyron did that every time they were alone. Once, Phael had asked him why. Pyron had said it was because he felt that Phael shouldn't have to hide from him. The gesture made Phael smile every time.

Pyron held Phael's scaly hand for a few moments before he began to speak. "You know, I noticed something recently."

"Yeah?"

"Your scales--you said that they have been spreading across your body since the start of the curse, right?"

Phael frowned; he didn't like talking about his curse. "Yeah."

"But in all the time that I've gotten to see them, they haven't grown a bit. The whole time, they've only gone up your left arm."

Phael's eyes widened. "You're right. But…that's how they were when I first met you. That means they haven't changed in an entire year."

Pyron smiled. "You know what that means? The curse has stopped!"

"You think so?" Phael was skeptical, but, "I suppose it couldn't mean anything else. But how do you think that happened?"

Pyron put his hand on his chin. "That's a good question. Maybe that weird thing Droan was doing to you somehow stopped it? Or maybe it just…stopped on its own?"

"I suppose it's possible. The first one, anyway. I doubt it just stopped on its own. Otherwise, roze curses wouldn't be so notorious." Phael said. "Maybe Vladimir's curse-curing technique really did work…."

They stared at each other for a moment before bursting into laughter. While he laughed, Phael decided that he really didn't care how it happened. His curse had stopped. His city-state thought he was dead, so no would come hunting for him again. And he had Pyron. For the first time since getting cursed in the first place, he was…content.

The End