“Stop right there! You’re under arrest!”
I’d reached the top levels of Skyglass with almost no memory of how I’d gotten there. Snippets of screams echoing in burning hallways were all I could recall. Balancing precariously on one of the branches protruding from the side of one of the greater branches, I glanced back to see the face of someone I’d once loved like a sister, hiding behind a pointed arrow, glistening with poison.
“Sameela O’Klurn, you are my friend. You always will be.”
She opened her mouth for the next order but hesitated. “Drop the weapon! Hands in the air!”
Remembering the knife, I looked down in my hand to realize it was streaming with blood from my back. Blood was everywhere, on the singed green dress, on my skin, in my hair. “Or what?” I laughed despondently. “You gonna shoot me? Throw me back in a cell?” I held my hands out around me. “Look around you, Sam! The people needed protection from the High Order, not from me. Why else do you think I’m leaving? Nobody can stay here and live to see tomorrow!” My vision blurred but stayed enough to see Sam flex her hand on the bow hilt.
“Who are you?” she asked, more in bewilderment than anger.
I shook my head, just able to whisper. “I don’t know anymore.”
My hand tossed the knife. It arced gracefully through the air and clattered at Sam’s feet. She stared at it, longer than a Guard should. Her bow twitched downward as she looked back at me, her rusty hair waving in the scorching breeze. “You’re my best friend, Sam,” I breathed. “Don’t die on my account.” The tree shifted. My legs folded under me, and l fell off the branch into the endless inferno.
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