8.13

Oh, no.

Nilien swallowed. “Person, a person tried to kill me. I mean – I wasn’t really…” She didn’t like talking about that but otherwise she was going to get into deep water. She looked at Ember for help.

Ember, of course, was absolutely no help at all.

People are trying to kill you. Doesn’t everyone know that?

Familiars were no help at all. She leaned against a wall and looked down at the floor. She wasn’t sure she wanted to look at Chason. “Sometimes when I say this, people think I made the whole thing up. But since I have Ember, it’s pretty hard for me to have made up being a Wild Rune, and, as unpleasant as some people can get about the whole thing, I don’t think it would even be smart to make it up.”

“You’re a Wild Rune,” Chason answered gently. “Obviously you didn’t make that up. We can all see Ember, and you’re here, taking classes.”

“Someone – or someones, that’s the thing – tried to kill me, but I don’t remember any of it. Well, that’s not true. I remember being asked if I wanted to live. All Ember will tell me is You wanted to live, and here I am. Which, while true, lacks something in details.”

Those are all the details that matter, Ember protested from its perch on the shelves. You did not wash this top shelf enough.

“Wash it yourself then. I mean…” She looked back at her friends. “So that’s what Riva means. People – or person – tried to kill me, and nobody knows who they are. As far as my friends from my old school can tell, they’re still out there, the police haven’t caught them, and nobody knows why someone was trying to kill me. I’m not that important! I’m really not. And now I’m a Rune, and I’m here, and -”

“And someone might still be trying to kill her,” Lorque filled in. “So we keep an eye out for her, and we try to notice if things change – like jewelry going missing or things moved when we enter a room – and anyone acting suspicious around her.”’

“Like someone giving her a map of the school?” Chason sounded wry, but something in his face looked like he really thought that’s what they’d been doing.

“Oh!” Lorque sounded as mortified as Nilien felt. “No! No, no. No, nothing like that. You were nice to Nilien, so she wanted to invite you along. I mean more like, following her around, taking things out of her room, actual creep stuff.”

“Oh.” He looked at least a little mollified. “Okay. I thought maybe you wanted to, I don’t know, check me out. Since Nilien is new to the school.”

“Well, if you’d been giving her maps full of things that weren’t there or trying to get her lost, yeah. But generally, you seem nice.” Lorque was still talking quickly, like she was hiding something. “We just don’t want someone trying to kill her more, you know? We like her.”

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