By Robert Silverberg
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He expert me then that i'd need to stay in the home of renewal your time longer, until eventually i used to be totally tailored to my new self. i used to be given the impartial outfits of a guildless one to put on, for i used to be with out association now; my prestige as Pilgrim had ended with my renewal, and that i may well now pick out any guild that may admit me as soon as I left the home. “How lengthy did my renewal final? ” I requested Talmit as I dressed. He responded, “You got here the following in summer season. Now it really is iciness. we don't paintings speedily. ” “And how fares my significant other Olmayne? ” “We failed together with her. ” “I don’t comprehend. ” “Would you're keen on to determine her? ” Talmit requested. “Yes,” I acknowledged, considering that he might deliver me to Olmayne’s room. in its place he conveyed me to Olmayne’s tank I stood on a ramp having a look down right into a sealed box; Talmit indicated a fiber telescope, and that i peered into its staring eye and beheld Olmayne. Or quite, what i used to be requested to think was once Olmayne. a unadorned girl-child of approximately 11, smooth-skinned and breastless, lay curled up within the tank, knees drawn with regards to the flat chest, thumb thrust in mouth. before everything i didn't comprehend. Then the kid stirred, and that i famous the embryonic gains of the regal Olmayne I had recognized: the broad mouth, the robust chin, the pointy, robust cheekbones. a lifeless surprise of horror rippled via me, and that i acknowledged to Talmit, “What is that this? ” “When the soul is just too badly stained, Tomis, we needs to dig deep to cleanse it. Your Olmayne was once a tough case. we must always no longer have tried her; yet she used to be insistent, and there have been a few symptoms that we would prevail along with her. these symptoms have been in errors, as one can find. ” “But what occurred to her? ” “The renewal entered the irreversible degree earlier than shall we in attaining a purging of her poisons,” Talmit acknowledged. “You went too some distance? You made her too younger? ” “As you can find. certain. ” “What will you do? Why don’t you get her out of there and enable her develop up back? ” “You may still hear extra conscientiously, Tomis. I stated the renewal is irreversible. ” “Irreversible? ” “She is misplaced in childhood’s goals. on a daily basis she grows years more youthful. the internal clock whirls uncontrollably. Her physique shrinks; her mind grows gentle. She enters babyhood almost immediately. she's going to by no means wake up. ” “And on the end—” I appeared away. “What then? A sperm and an egg, isolating within the tank? ” “The retrogression won't cross that a ways. she is going to die in infancy. Many are misplaced this fashion. ” “She talked about the dangers of renewal,” I stated. “Yet she insisted on our taking her. Her soul was once darkish, Tomis. She lived just for herself. She got here to Jorslem to be cleansed, and now she has been cleansed, and he or she is at peace with the need. Did you're keen on her? ” “Never. no longer for an quick. ” “Then what have you ever misplaced? ” “A phase of my prior, possibly. ” I placed my eye to the telescope back and beheld Olmayne, blameless now, restored to virginity, sexless, cleansed. At peace with the need. I searched her oddly altered but widely used face for perception into her desires. Had she identified what used to be befalling her, as she tumbled helplessly into youthfulness?