He lied to me.

All this time, all his displays of power were a work of fiction. A forgery. As fake as the mask he worse when we first met.

Suddenly, every interaction I’ve had with him is brought into question. Was any of it ever real?

He’s smiling, like it’s supposed to be funny, but as usual, I don’t understand the joke.

Maybe that’s my problem. I’ve never been good at connecting with other people. What if the warning signs were there all along and I just never noticed?

Then I realise his lips are moving - he’s saying something.

“You understand, don’t you? I did it to protect myself.” He runs a weary hand over his brow. “In this world, you have to look strong to survive.”

No. I think. I most certainly do not understand.

“I could have protected you,” I say, “I always have.”

His eyes widen. “What? You don’t protect me! I protect me.”

I smile even though I feel nothing like triumph. “You’re wrong. I’ve been protecting you since the moment we met. Haven’t you ever wondered why the authorities never discovered your little hideaway. It’s because I make sure they never think to look there!”

I never meant to shout. But Selander is cowering before me and I realise I’ve bought my power to my hands, both glowing in a light so bright it’s blinding.

“I-I’m sorry,” I stutter. “I never meant for this to happen.”


She lied to me.

All this time, I thought she was my enemy, but in truth she’s been my greatest friend. Keeping my movements hidden from the authorities, when she more than anyone knows the price disobedience pays.

It’s as if I’m seeing her for the first time. Gone is the soldier’s discipline and restraint and in its place is the assurance of a general’s command. Nahara has never looked more in control than this moment.

Then her hands being to glow and I realise just how much trouble I’m in.

“Look,” I say - hopefully - placatingly, “let’s not do anything rash.”

Nahara looks at me then, something like fear behind her eyes. Not fear for me of course, I doubt anyone has ever been afraid of my scrawny frame, but fear for me. Fear that she might lose control.

I really do drive her crazy, don’t I?

“Alright,” she says softly, “then you need to tell me what to do because I’m still coming to terms with the fact that you lied to me.”

It takes me a moment to understand what she’s talking about.

“You mean because I don’t have powers?”

Nahara’s lips become a thin, bloodless line. “Yes.” she says tersely. “That.”

“I think that fact should bother me more than it should bother you.”

“It’s not about the fact that you don’t have powers,” she returns, “it’s the fact that you lied to me. That is something I’m finding harder to forgive.”

For a moment I don’t know what to say, which is obviously very disarming and highly unusual. Then - inspiration strikes!

“You don’t have to forgive me, you just have to trust me.”

“Trust you?” Nahara scoffed. “You lied to me Selander, how am I supposed to trust you?”

I beam, exposing both rows of pointy teeth. “We’ve come this far haven’t we?”

Comments 0