Chapter I: The Chainborn Boy [10]Mature

She raised up her legs and groaned at the dirt imbedded on the embroidery of her boots.

          “They’re hardly practical, are they, Anala?” the majihan said, raising his hairless brow. She looked from her boots to him with a look of confusion.

          “What? You make me Shift all the way and I can’t look good in the little time I’m in dormant form?”

He raised himself up, batting away her assistance with an agitated look. “I never made you do anything, Anala. I wanted you home, safe, but clearly you had other ideas.” With his arm and leg still a little numb, he hobbled quietly down Illicit Street. Anala followed a pace behind him, clicking her neck and collarbone back into place. “Why must you disobey me all the time?” he lectured, refusing to make eye contact. “Why must you insist on following me everywhere?”

She scoffed, bending her fingers away from her palms. “You make it sound like a bad thing –,”

He stopped, holding out his arm to block her path. His eyes were as sharp as broken glass. “You’re my ward, Anala,” he said, warmth sizzling from his voice. “That makes you a lady, a lady of my name, a name that is ageless and exalted. For the benefit of its reputation, at least treat my word with respect,”

          “I do respect you, Uncle,” she argued. “I’m just fed up of you acting as if I’m too young to know things, or that I’m too young to help you. You always told me that you trusted me, and lately you’ve done nothing of the sort.” She wrapped her hand around his outstretched wrist, and his arm completely relaxed. She lowered her head so her thick curls covered her reddening cheeks. “I just…I just want to -,”

His fingers curled around and grazed hers. He wanted to be angry at her, but as always, there was something strange in her that reached into the core of him. It was like the synthesis of two lost, kindred souls, removing any ill thought towards her. He sighed, and after some hesitancy, smiled. “I am a little glad you’re here.” 

The End

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