Chapter Nineteen: Revealing Lyra
After a few days of lying in that bed I'd had enough, despite Cain's protests I stood up. I made him leave so I could wash and dress.
“I need to see Matt,” I said to Cain the moment I opened the door. He was avoiding me, refusing to visit. Was it because of what I'd done for Cain? Was I just some big disgrace to him? No, that didn't sound like something Matt would do. Besides, I needed to tell him what I'd learned. I glanced over my shoulder at Cain. Even if I asked Cain to leave the room he could hear. There wasn't anything else for it but to tell him the full truth. At least now I knew he was on my side. When I entered the war room a full-blown argument was in progression.
“How many times do I need to tell you we won't hurt the civilians?” A women glowered to a young soldier. It took me a moment to recognise her from the castle. I'd seen her a few times in passing. I also recalled her walking with Johnson.
“Yeah, right. You're only here because Cain wanted it. How do I know you're all loyal to him?” the soldier asked, it was a fair point.
“Because when Cain stopped the fighting he gave us the choice to leave. One man left,” she replied, her voice irritated as she rubbed her forehead. Obviously this is a conversation she'd had many times.
“Won't he tell Sergio what's going on then?” I interrupted. Matt who had been watching the exchange turned to me, surprise flashing across his face; followed quickly by something else.
“Nicole!” someone shouted from the crowd happily, a smile beaming my way.
“Are you okay?” Matt asked, breaking through the crowd. Concern and guilt shining in his eyes.
“I'm fine. Just wondering why my best friend didn't visit,” I replied honestly with a raised eyebrow. He laughed nervously, scratching the back of his head.
“Well, I was the one who put there,” he said, dropping his hand to his side.
“No, that was me. I decided to put myself in that situation,” I replied, cupping his chin with one hand so he couldn't keep watching the ground.
“I still feel bad,” he murmured.
“Well don't,” I replied, letting his face go and turning to face the women. She didn't need me to repeat the question.
“He will have told Sergio. If he wanted to stop it he would've by now. I couldn't begin to guess what he's planning,” she admitted. I nodded and glanced at the map. Beyond the rubble city was dessert and to the north the mountains.
“I need to talk to you in private,” I said to Matt. No one waited for instruction, they just milled out of the room. Cain stayed put, leaning against the wall and sending me cursory glance.
“Do you want me to go?” he asked, seeing my expression. I couldn't help noticing the careful way he was looking between me and Matt.
“No. Actually this is probably overdue information,” I said. My voice sounded too strained. My words drawn out with careful articulation. But how else was I meant to see this? There were memories, merely the answers to all the questions I had about my missing past. I don't feel the warmth I felt as a child around him. I mostly just felt a confusing mix of emotions I couldn't ever quite pinpoint. Cain frowned and waited patiently. Matt glanced between me and Cain, knowing what I was going to say. I sighed slowly and searched for the best words. But I was never very good at them. I sighed again, aware Cain was growing more impatient.
“I got my childhood memories back,” I began, running a hand through my hair and starring at the ground. I toed at the dirt and uttered the rest of my sentence.
“I'm Lyra.” I waited to hear a sharp in-take of breath, maybe even yells. But nothing disturbed the air, I looked up but Cain didn't look mad or shocked.
“I always suspected it. There are too many similarities for it to be coincidence,” Cain said with a small, sad smile. His voice soft and sombre. Matt watched him carefully before stepping forward and clearing his throat.
“What did you need to talk about?” Matt asked over his shoulder. I hesitated before answering, waiting for Cain to say more. To do anything. But he just stood there, looking lost in his own thoughts and memories. I turned away from Cain to join Matt at the table. Matt must really trust Cain if he'd been able to turn his back on him.
“I remembered something new.” My words had Cain pulled from his reverie to join us. I explained the memory as best I could. Talking about the strange man and the forest his people lived.
“Maybe Stan will know who he is,” Matt murmured. I nodded, I hoped he knew something too, but that wasn't at the forefront of my mind.
“I want to arrange for a group of us to go across the dessert and find them myself. I need to hear from the stranger myself what was going on,” I said. Cain and Matt looked at me with equal surprise.