“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Very little happens for the rest of the weekend. Eli goes back to see Widow Adeline on Sunday morning, where he’s promptly made to prune a huge hedge made of roses. It leaves him scratched and bleeding and irritated, although the wounds heal up as soon as he assumes his dragon-shape in Adeline’s grotto. It feels good to be out of his human skin, and the sun is shining for the first time in like forever, so Eli lazes around on the warm rocks while Adeline tries to teach him Xyl’tha, the language of dragons.

Eli never did have much of a way with languages, and the dragons’ in particular is . . . odd. It’s all back-of-the-throat hissing and tongue-clicks. Nothing with the lips, which Eli supposes makes sense, given he doesn’t really have any in this shape.

The writing system is more interesting, in his opinion. It looks a little like the cuneiform he’s seen on little clay tablets in the Met; all carved lines and angles. And it’s sort of like Chinese, in that it’s made of little symbols, not letters. Except the symbols are syllables, not pictures, and are made up of a part that represents a vowel and a consonant. So what looks like a complex language of thousands of characters is actually only made up of a few dozen different lines. It’s pretty cool, and Eli is writing in it in no time: transcribing English as best he can onto a whiteboard with a chunky marker that sits in his claw like one of Zoe’s ridiculously tiny Asian ballpoints.

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