Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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It is a remarkably easy labor because there are no toads staring at her. It is physically agonizing of course but she distracts herself by thinking about alchemy. After a while it gets so renegade that it wouldn’t work even in a world with substantively relaxed natural laws; she finds herself muttering about congealing a philosopher’s stone by counteracting paper into rock and speculating on alchemical diagrams involving squares instead of circles; “see,” she says, squeezing Bertram’s hand and mumbling incoherently in his direction, “instead of self-creating, it takes four sharp right turns —”

She tenses. Pain rises. Pain passes. She breaks from her child, and it from her, it passes born into the world, and the doctor stares into the nictitating membrane of its eyes.



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