a/n: No one, apparently, read the last chapter, but I'm on a roll and so I'm posting this anyway. Review, people! No reviews, no new chapters! I mean it! Anyway, in this chapter, we meet the token magic sword. How cliché. Or it would be, anyway, if it wasn't for her rather distinctive personality. If any of you out there have read 'Winds of Fate' by Mercedes Lackey or any books after that, you'll know where I got the idea.

Glymere the Black

Dimly, I heard Kruril yell my name, sounding panicked, but the grip had me tightly and I couldn't respond. At first whatever held me was desperate, needy, almost terrified, but after a few seconds it relaxed a bit, as if reassured. Something began to pour into me from whatever was in the chest, a terrible but at the same time incredible keening that cut through my soul and mind into the very core of my being. I think I cried out- I can't be sure- and then I collapsed as my vision filled with light.

I awoke to Kruril's anxious shaking. "Pri! Priora!" Groaning, I eased myself into -a sitting position. Every muscle in my still-human body protested the motion and I winced as several joints popped. At least my head didn't hurt this time; on the contrary, it felt strangely light and somehow refreshed.

Aware of Kruril's intent, worried eyes on me, I attempted a reassuring smile. "It's all right. I'm okay."

"What happened?!" He still sounded unnerved, and I couldn't blame him. "I mean, I felt you probe the chest, and then you just.bolted upright, and then you collapsed! You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah, I feel all right, just stiff. Something inside the chest just grabbed me! It was strange, but I don't think it really did anything or hurt me at all."

"Weird," Kruril averred. "So, does this mean that there's something alive in there?"

"I.I don't know."

"But it grabbed you, right?" My friend looked a little timorous. "I'm not sure I should ask you this, considering what happened just now, but.do you think you could try to contact whatever it is again?"

"Um.I guess so," I replied nervously. With Kruril hovering behind me for moral support (and in case I collapsed again), I reached out. The contact was immediate this time, almost unconscious, and not quite as desperate. I concentrated my Empathy instead of trying 'speech, and received a whirl of very confused emotions. First and foremost was relief, huge and pale blue (I tended to receive emotions in colors), followed by fading, bright red panic and dark brown depression or hopelessness, with a hint of subconscious fear, tinged scarlet. I smiled, proud of myself; my Empathy was stronger than Kruril's, but I had never read anyone so clearly before.

And then, it spoke.

Are you going to open this or just probe me endlessly? The mindvoice of the thing was sharp and female, showing no sign of the emotions I could still taste.

Um, it's locked, I 'spoke uncertainly in reply.

Not anymore. The voice was smug now, very self-assured. I was beginning to doubt my Empathy, but this was before I learned just how good she- er, I mean, some people are at concealing what they feel.

"Well?" Kruril, left out of the mental conversation, was practically dancing with impatience.

"It's mindspeaking me," I informed him. "It- she says the chest is unlocked."

Kruril cast a glance at the lock spell, and then his eyes narrowed as he switched on his magesight. "I think it's right. Try and open it, Pri."

Hesitantly, I approached the chest, which no longer glowed with magic, and levered up the lid. It opened with a creak, nothing too major, and revealed a sword. The blade was matte black, apparently made of some kind of sleek black stone, and the pommel sported a polished, spherical piece of the same substance. The hilt was wrapped in plain black leather, with an equally plain crossguard, and the entire weapon from point to pommel glowed a ghostly white in my magesight. It was very eerie, and the mere sight of it sent a thrill up my spine as it lay, nestled in red velvet.

"Um, hello?" I asked uncertainly. There was nothing apparently alive to be seen, just the sword and the velvet.

Well? the acerbic female voice demanded. Are you going to just stand there and gawp at me all day, or what? I felt her startlement, almost the mental equivalent of a gasp, before she spoke again. There's a MALE here?! You didn't tell me there was a MALE here!

"Um, hello?" Kruril put in (apparently he had heard that last part). "I do have a name, you know. It's not considered good manners among dragons to just go around calling people 'male'."

I could care less what your name is, The voice snapped coldly. In fact, don't even talk to me. Period.

"That's friendly," Kruril muttered, but by then I had taken up the conversation again.

"Are you.er, you're the sword, aren't you?"

No, I'm the velvet wrapping. Of course I'm the bloody sword! Use your brain, girl! I assume you have one. Okay, nasty, sarcastic, man- hating sword. Not that she seemed to have a much higher opinion of me, even if I was female. Gods, if we'd known what was in that chest, I doubt very much that either of us would have tried to open it. All that work, just to be insulted by a piece of metal. Kruril was apparently following approximately the same train of thought, since he spoke exactly what was on my mind.

"Why don't we just leave her in the chest and lock it back up? I don't know about you, but I could do without this abuse."

NO!! I felt a sudden surge of desperation swell before the sword caught herself, and continued. Er, I mean, how exactly are you going to 'lock it back up'? As I recall, I was the one who opened it in the first place, not you two fumble-fingered apprentices.

My mouth twisted, but I was forced to concede reluctantly. "She has a point, Kruril. Kate and the others are bound to notice that someone's been messing with the lock spells."

Kruril started to open his mouth, but the sword cut in hastily. Of course, I could put them back.if you make a little deal with me.

"Oh?" Kruril asked suspiciously. "What kind of deal?" She ignored him pointedly, and I had to repeat the question before she would reply.

It's nothing much. Just take me out of this chest and hide me somewhere near you.

"Why?" Kruril and I asked at the same time.

So I can use your senses, she explained. I must be within a certain distance.

"Woah, hold on," Kruril said, frowning. "You're using Priora's senses? Why?"

I'm a sword, you idiot. I don't exactly have eyes and ears, in case you didn't notice. She sighed in calculated resignation. I should have expected such from a male. They think with their crotches, the lot of them.

"Hey!" Kruril exclaimed, outraged, but she was already ignoring him again.

So? she asked me. What'll it be, girl?

I sighed in defeat. Kruril looked inclined to argue, but plainly couldn't see any other way out of the predicament that we had inadvertently gotten ourselves into. If Kayla, Kate, and Kaytlyn found out what we had been up to, they would do worse than kill us.

"All right," I agreed. "But if our teachers find out, we're turning you over to them, no ifs, ands or buts."

Agreed. The sword was radiating smugness, but underneath I could catch a hint of receding panic and intense relief. For some reason, she really didn't want to go back into that chest, but was obviously too proud to admit to any fear.

I picked her up gingerly, half expecting a jolt or some other physical manifestation of the power I could see swirling around her blade, but only the reassuring texture of leather and wood met my fingers. That reminded me.

"Um, how exactly are you going to keep our teachers from noticing you? You're not exactly inconspicuous with all that power swirling all over the place."

You'll see, she replied cockily. Trust me, it won't be a problem.

My dubious expression matched Kruril's, but I held my tongue as I walked to my room with the sword held out at arm's length in front of me. Kruril moved my bedding out of the way, and I laid my burden on the stone floor beneath. When it was covered, you couldn't tell that anything was there.except for the tendrils of visible power leaking through the blankets and the aura that was giving me tingles.

All right, girl, she addressed me suddenly. Watch and learn. Abrubtly, she vanished from my magical sight. I blinked, eyes watering slightly at the sudden change, but I still saw nothing. I might as well have had a stick buried under my nest for all I could sense.

"Not bad." Kruril sounded impressed, albeit reluctantly.

Check the spells on the chest, she ordered me, ignoring him as usual. You'll find they're back the way you found them, down to the last detail.

Kruril led the way back into our teacher's room to verify the sword's claim. She hadn't been lying; the lock spells had been redone in exactly the same twisty, complex patterns they had started with.

"Um," I said, feeling rather silly as I addressed the air. However, I knew she could hear me, and I needed to ask her something that had been bothering me. "What's your name, anyway? Do you even have one? I mean, eventually we're going to have to call you something."

"If we don't just throw her off the mountain," Kruril interjected under his breath.

".and "Hey, sword" is going to sound pretty awkward."

It's Glymere, she answered shortly. I won't ask for your name, since I already know it, and I could care less about the male.

Kruril snorted in exasperation, but didn't say anything since she would probably just ignore him again. I started to ask her how she knew my name, but then I remembered that first, desperate mental grip and realized that she must have gotten it then. I kept my mouth shut. Instead, I gave Kruril a 'now what?' look. He shrugged, then jerked his head towards the kitchen. We both felt a little awkward about holding a conversation with Glymere listening in, so we headed into the main cave and fixed ourselves a snack without speaking more than two words. My head was starting to itch, but I dismissed it as trivial; at the most it was some kind of side effect from Glymere using my senses. Fed and watered and lacking anything else to do, Kruril and I settled in to wait for our teachers' return