“Didn’t you get how dangerous magick is around here?” he called back jeeringly. “I’m sure your crackpot uncle will tell you off for that.”
A few paces behind, Anala made a noise similar to a growl, but she bit back her counter-insult. Instead, she calmed herself and stopped; as she had hoped, so did he.
“My uncle was telling the truth,” she said, her voice serene yet making its way easily to his ears. “And if you run, you’ll be just like everybody else,”
He span around indignantly. “The only thing I’m running from are two magi I should never have spoken to! You could get me killed! And for what? Some game of taunts you highborns bet on or something?”
“We never forced you,” she said. “You said it yourself, you wanted to know –,”
“I wanted to know there was still something good outside here!” He stepped towards her until they were just an arm’s length apart. “Don’t you get it? That’s what magick is to me, the only thing that reminds me there are people out there who haven’t bowed down to or been killed by the Court!”
She met every angry remark with a looking of irritating calm. “We told you the truth –,”
“Do you not get how stupid what you’re saying is?” he exclaimed. “The Avarics, the Avarics – the royal family?”
She nodded, “yes,” and he sneered at her. “You think it’s impossible, but when you think, it’s beautiful –,”
“This is beautiful?”
“I mean this plan. You denying it only adds to how cleverly thought out it was. You take a boy, a prince, who can’t remember he’s a prince, tell him he’s scum in the dregs of the world and make him believe it so nobody can find him. Don’t you see –,”
“All I see is you, a rich girl who thinks so little of us that she can’t even wear our shoes on her feet!” He pointed down, and Anala pursed her lips.
“I’m breaking them in,” she mumbled in excuse.
He took another step, all his weight on her toes, his eyes burning with anger. “The Avarics are dead,” he spat, and on the word she flinched as he pressed down harder, trying not to let the pain show.