Rose returns W's gaze in a way that surprises him but leaves no doubt about the connection they share.
"I wanted to run away from the school and find a new life but my fears and doubts were too difficult to overcome. I know it was all in my head, I noted the fear, I meditated on the impermanence, I prayed that I would find the confidence, the motivation I needed, but for many years I remained paralyzed. I wasn't allowed money, didn't know anything about being in society, only knew one local dialect and couldn't speak to foreigners. I burned to get away from the headmaster but was more frightened of uncertainty and falling into the hands of a bigger menace."
She pauses, regroups, and decides she wants him to know, "After you were gone I found strong friendships but never had another romance. I never felt love stir again. As a teacher dedicated to training the mind, no one at the school even bothered approaching me about personal matters. I was hurt by what happened between us and the part I had played in how you died. I shielded that wound for years and found out that the hidden tenderness became my engine; buried grief was the heat that sustained my training. Suppressing my true feelings served my larger goals but I could not always keep the turmoil in check. Rather than wait for an outburst or an unexpected emotion to overtake me, once in a while, when I was certain not to be disturbed, I would go to the garden, open the shield, drain the psychic wound, and cry." W takes her hand and she does not object to the warm feeling.
"I was in this open state one morning just after breakfast, sitting in lotus position with my hands folded in my lap, when I went into my deepest state of concentration, seeking a way in my own mind to relieve my suffering. On that morning I disappeared and when I opened my eyes it was already late afternoon, the wind had made a pile of leaves against one of my legs and between my bicep and forearm a spider had spun a complete web out of her luminous blue silk."
"The spider didn't speak, of course, but this creature in the web channeled the presence of an entity - an entity you have met, an entity we are both now connected to, who I met dressed in eight legs for the first time that day. I heard her voice in my head like the narrator of a film. She was sympathetic to my cause, valued my talents, knew about our connection, and offered me a deal with TNAP. I was finished with this world, knew that jumping across time into a new body was the best way to escape the clutches of the headmaster, and so I resolved to join her cause and also to try and find you.
She asked me to sit, center, and contemplate the change that was about to take place. When my jumbled thoughts were sorted, my feelings clear, and my mind calmed, I knew in my heart that my decision was right. I nodded to her and the enchanted arachnid crawled onto my forearm and bit me."
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