The walls of the cellar were dank and dreary. The stones aligning the ground where slightly damp and cold, which made Farid shiver occasionally. Even though he was accustomed to such conditions (sometimes worse), what made this different was the fact that he was helpless against it. His hands were bound together with rope behind a large wooden pillar. He leaned his back against the damp wood and sighed heavily. He had gone too far this time when it came to testing Orpheus's temper. He winced in pain, for his head still throbbed from the harsh blow Oss bestowed upon it.

Damn! He cursed to himself. Now I'll never get to see Dustfinger again. More importantly, I'll never get to see the light of another day if Chunk does intend to kill me once night falls.

Once again, his sighs of remorse filled the cellar. His one regret would be that he could not spend his whole life training happily as Dustfinger's apprentice. "Dustfinger…" Whispering that wonderful name not only made the Arab boy smile, but his longing to see the fire tamer increased ten fold. He felt such an intense anger towards Cheeseface, enough to make him throw every curse he knew from this world, his own, and the world in which he met Dustfinger in Orpheus's direction. He dared not speak them aloud, even though he had nothing to fear from it. Death was already looming over his head like a plague, so what sort of retribution could Orpheus dish out that was more threatening? Absolutely none.

Just then, he heard the cellar door open. Was it that late already? Farid lowered his head, ready to accept his grim fate. He mentally chuckled as he pondered the idea of giving Oss one swift kick to the nose as he untied his bonds. To prepare for this action, he leaned his body against the pillar once more. The more the footsteps made their way down the wooden staircase, the more anxious Farid became. Even though he had already experienced death once before, he still feared it. He braced himself for the worst.

"Well, well!" A familiar voice echoed off the damp walls and fell on Farid's bewildered ears. "Looks as if moonface is doing alright in this world. This house is huge! Probably cost the bastard a pretty penny. Oh, hey there, Farid. Seems as though you've seen better days, am I right?"

Farid's eyes shot open and peered desperately at the figure in front of him, shrouded in darkness. One, two, three, four, five… five small flames surrounded the face of the one who spoke. Just then, Farid heard two little martens scurry towards him and chirp their happiness at seeing him. No way! Could it be…? Sure enough, the flames revealed the face of the man Farid longed to see more than anyone else in the universe: Dustfinger. His heart pounded ferociously in his chest as the infamous fire dancer knelt beside him, pulled out a knife, and began to quickly cut away at the boy's bonds. It was as if all the years of sadness and loneliness had been washed away upon his return to the living. Not to mention…

"Your scars! They're gone!" Farid whispered his shock.

Dustfinger chuckled. "Yes, and the strangest part is that I think Roxanne misses them. I sure as hell don't. Though I do feel as if a small part of me is missing. But I definitely don't miss them enough to ask for them back. It's nice not having a physical reminder of a painful past."

Above, they could hear agitated voices resonating. "Guess Orpheus realized he has an unexpected visitor. I'm sure he'll be down any minute to greet me."

Farid could care less about anything else at that particular moment besides the man before him. He feared Dustfinger was merely a ghost, or worse, just a dream. Yet, as the fire tamer worked tediously at the ropes, Farid could feel his warmth, hear his steady heartbeat, and best of all, he smelled like fire. The Bluejay had brought him back. In that moment, the Arab boy felt as if he owed the robber his life. He would surely have to thank him graciously the next time their paths cross. He knew in his heart that this miracle was not Orpheus's handy work. As soon as he felt the bonds loosen, and then fall to the ground, he outstretched his hands to feel the fire dancer's scar-free face.

This gesture made Dustfinger laugh a little. "What? Making sure I'm not a ghost? I guess you're still afraid of them, huh? Suppose I was one…"

Farid leapt into his arms and held him in a tight embrace. He had missed Dustfinger so much. The pain from endless nights of longing mixed with unrelenting happiness was all he felt while sharing that brief, miraculous moment with that very special man.

The lunge was so sudden and powerful that it almost knocked Dustfinger off balance. "Whoa there, Farid! I missed you, too, but you're gonna knock me over any second now." He snickered as he stood up, helping Farid along. "If you wanna thank someone for my being here, it should be Brianna and Jasper. The little guy told my daughter what Orpheus planned to do to you, so she rode to Roxanne for help. You're lucky to have such a wonderful little friend like him." He smiled down at the glass man standing on his shoulder.

A red tinge could be seen on Jasper's face when he noticed Farid smiling at him. "Thank you, Jasper. I owe you one."

A shy smile met with grateful eyes, "Think nothing of it, Farid. You would have done the same for me, after all."

"So true," Farid readily agreed.

"I saw him go down into the cellar, boss. I couldn't stop him. He was hot to the touch, even his hair seemed to emit sparks."

Their joyful moment was ruined when they heard the bickering voices of their enemies coming down into the cellar. They stood their ground and mentally prepared for anything.

"Did he have a scarred face?"

"No… Why?"

Once Orpheus caught sight of the revived fire dancer, his eyes and mouth grew wide with joy. "So you really did return from the dead! I'm so glad! My words and voice work such fine miracles." His face gleamed with pride.

"Do they now?" Dustfinger smiled mockingly as a flame danced on his palm, eventually taking the shape of a White Woman. "I don't recall your words or voice creating anything other than chaos and death."

"But I brought you back to life! I gave Death the Bluejay in exchange for your life. I did it all for you!" Orpheus felt a pang in his chest as he glared at the "unappreciative" man before him.

"Yeah, about that… I never once heard your voice whilst in the realm of the dead. The voice I did hear, however, was that of Silvertongue. His courage and kindness brought me back." He smiled warmly as he thought of Mo. As if to physically portray his thoughts, the flame on his hand changed it's shape into the man its master secretly longed for.

"Nonsense!" Orpheus squealed like a hurt child, but regained what little composure he could muster. "That's ridiculous. It was MY words alone that pried you from Death's grip. No matter what that Bluejay might have told you, it's all lies."

Dustfinger's brows furrowed slightly. "He would never lie to me. He did tell me, however, about the deal you made with him; about how you promised to read his family back to their world in exchange for calling the White Women. Quite audacious on your part, considering you never planned on keeping your word. And even though he was tricked and dragged off against his will, he still cared enough to save me."

Orpheus's eyes fumed with rage. "He was merely a tool of mine! The White Women only respond to his calls. What else was I to do? And, anyway, he did it all for his wife! Not you!"

Even though that last part stung Dustfinger's heart like needles, he shrugged it off knowing he had to face facts. "I honestly can't think of a better reason. He loves Resa, after all." He let the forlorn feelings linger for a moment before he reverted his attention back on his target of hate. "Now, as for your 'holier-than-thou' complex regarding your voice and words, let me just get one thing straight. Your voice only resonates feelings of hate, greed, and selfishness. You think only of yourself. Silvertongue's voice, on the other hand, resonates feelings of love, peace, and empathy. Things you cannot possibly fathom. The mere sight of you makes me sick to my stomach."

Through his knife-piercing gaze, it looked as though Orpheus might shed tears. "How dare you, you ungrateful bastard! After all I've done for you! After all the hard work I put into creating a bright future for you! How could you betray me like this? You speak so highly of that damned bookbinder as if he's something special. I'm sick of it! Screw my original plan! I'm gonna have that so-called hero killed come day break."

Flames of fury engulfed the fire tamer. His eyes, which seemed to glow blood red, pierced Orpheus to his very soul. "If you so much as think about writing Silvertongue's name down, I'll burn you to a cinder. I speak highly of him for many reasons. None of which concern you. It's not as if you'd be able to understand such tender emotions anyway." The flames died down to mere sparks, though his eyes remained unforgiving. "And, for the record, I've never sworn allegiance to you, therefore it is impossible for me to betray you. Your very existence means nothing to me."

Farid was taken aback by the ferocity in Dustfinger's words. He'd never seen Dustfinger put Silvertongue in such high regard. A twinge of jealousy pinged at his heart.

"Farid." The young boy jumped a bit when he heard the cold, husky voice of his mentor.


"Take this-" a flaming torch appeared in Dustfinger's grasp, then handed down to the Arab teen, "-and go fetch every single scrap of paper Orpheus owns. I want nothing left behind that he could use to do anymore harm to this world. And don't forget the book, too."

Farid smiled proudly as he took the torch. "Of course! I'll make sure to wipe his study clean. Let's go, Jasper!" The little glass man hopped onto Farid's shoulder and they both made their way up the cellar stairs. It wasn't long before Oss and Orpheus barred his way.

"You're not going anywhere, you good for nothing brat! I'll have Oss take you to the hillside to be killed immediately. Oss!" Orpheus signaled his servant to seize the boy.

"You got it, boss! Let's go, you worthless piece of garbage! Time to meet your maker."

As Chunk inched closer, Farid swung his torch at his offender to scare him off. It didn't work the way he'd have liked, so Dustfinger lent a hand. Flames shot up in all directions, some in varying shapes and sizes. One in particular was shaped like a dragon. Its fiery eyes peered dangerously into Oss's eyes, as if to warn him not to test its capabilities. Oss cowered in fear.

"Let the boy pass." Dustfinger warned from down below. "I've learned a few new tricks whilst being on the other side. As much as I'd like to show them off, I fear it would be wasted on the likes of you, so I'll stick to some of my old, but trusty ones. Go on ahead, Farid! They won't touch you."

Farid nodded, then raced up the stairs towards Orpheus's study where he was met by a very angry Ironstone. They were able to thwart Jasper's brother's plan to pummel them with pens, inkwells, and anything else the little glass man could get his hands on. They grabbed every scrap of paper they could find, not forgetting the all-important Inkheart.

They quickly made their way to the lobby where Dustfinger was waiting patiently.

"What about Cheeseface and Chunk?" Farid looked in all directions, panicking.

"If you're referring to your old caretakers, they'll be busy for quite some time on those cellar steps while they try to put out my flames." A mischievous grin spread across the fire dancer's handsome healed face. "Come. We must get back to camp before dawn."

"Why?" Farid inquired.

"Because I am to ride by Silvertongue's side as we face the Piper."

A look of sheer terror fell upon Farid's face. As they walked back to the Motley camp, Dustfinger carefully explained what was gonna happen once the sun rose over the mountains of Ombra.