‘So you just let them do what they want?’
‘Of course not,’ said Tayna, her brow lowering indignantly. ‘But how can the others believe in the royal families again if they see us bickering?’
‘Yes,’ nodded Andrel, ‘Tayna prefers them to humiliate her family instead.’ He was quick enough to dodge her striking him on the back, and met her narrowed eyes with playful spite.
Biting down on his bottom lip, Will nervously approached the question. ‘Andrel, she called you human. Why?’
Andrel’s jaw tightened, and there was a sudden sort of murkiness in his eyes, now swamp green, like a dark anger building from within. ‘I – I guess because I’m -,’ his voice caught. ‘I guess because I am a little.’ Will could see that it was an admittance that pained him, he moved like there was something sharp moving around in his chest.
‘Just half,’ he said, ‘and a half I hate. You don’t get to choose who your dad is, whether he’s human or magi or bad or good. It doesn’t make me less than the twins or Tayna or you, alright?’ He finished speaking, his eyes looking like dark tunnels.
‘He knows that,’ said Tayna. ‘So do I, but if you let the twins get to you they’ll keep holding it against you, and they’ll get off on pushing your buttons.’
Will was quiet for a while, allowing himself to be ignored as Tayna and Andrel spoke, bodies turned away and their voices low. He couldn’t deny the feeling that swelled in him at what he had learned, his body felt tight like it always did when he would hear about humans. Sorted by district, Vincula made humans and creatures like him and Wilmina at least three apart, yet it never lessened the fear that circles would collide and the districts would meld into dissension. He comforted himself of the feeling that he suddenly felt for Andrel, remembering the look of fear in Anala’s eyes when he’d said ‘magick’ aloud, or when Paradam had told him with a near-tone of expectance that humans were involved in the attack on his family. He comforted himself in realising that perhaps such a feeling was not so far displaced.