I could – I could run. They might not catch me. I can’t save them, I should run!
Alan wouldn’t run.
Oh, he’d say I was being so stupid…. “G-go away!” Maria grabbed for a stray rock, feeling the lichen on one side soften the hard edge of granite against her fingers. “Leave us alone. Go away!”
“Why, it’s Mariñelarena’s daughter.” The blond man lounging behind the guns raised an unimpressed brow. “You’d think anyone who could flee us once would have the sense not to lure others into our grasp. Then again – blood will tell, won’t it?” He tched. “You should have seen your friend’s face when he learned the truth about your father… and his mother.”
It was horror, it was drowning her, she wanted to die right now-
Fire beat against her heart. Little sister, the rukh whispered.
Tears streaming, Maria raised her head. “You are the one whose blood tells. Monster.”
You tell him, sis. A ghostly whisper, like fingers ruffling her hair. Can’t do much, not here – but I can give you one clear shot….
Gunmen blinked, spreading out with a wave of the monster-maker’s hand. Gray eyes narrowed. “Untrained fool… go ahead! Throw your power at us, what little you have. We’ll just pick up what’s left of you when the drain is too much.” His voice sank, to a venomous certainty. “Your ghost can’t save you this time.”
“Then why not try out the living?” A warm hand rested on her shoulder. “Don’t worry. It’s going to be alright.”
Maria froze. She’d never heard an accent like that, except from-
The hand on her shoulder was far too grownup to be Aladdin’s.