When I regained control, the reaction from Elmiryn was almost immediate.
I could see her body tighten before she sat up and whipped her head around to look at me.
I gazed back at her, my forehead creased with concern. “Hello, Elmiryn.”
She just stared at me, her lips pressing thin.
Slowly, I started to advance back toward the containment circle. “You made Kali very uncomfortable. Please tell me you didn’t mean to.”
Elmiryn’s shoulders twitched up in the briefest of shrugs. “I didn’t mean to, but I can’t say I dislike the results.”
I frowned at her. Softly, I asked, “Why do you want them to stay afraid of you?”
Elmiryn’s brow tightened. “Why do you think?”
I sighed as I came to a stop near the edge of the circle. “I think part of you is feeling peevish. You resent their freedom.”
My eyes tensed, and much quieter I murmured, “I think the other part of you still remembers how you lost control. You don’t want the others to let their guard down again.”
Elmiryn’s lip sneered. “Is that why I tried to trick Lethy into the circle with me?”
I smiled softly. “‘Lethy’…” I looked down at my shoes. “You care about her. I think you’re very sorry you resorted to that scheme.”
When my gaze lifted up again, Elmiryn’s face had twisted into one of deep anger.
“Oh I feel sorry, Nyx?” Elmiryn spat.
I nodded. “Yes.” I held up a hand. “Because after the first six days, when the fevers and chest pains left you, you regained enough clarity to regret it all.”
I hugged myself around the stomach, my chin tucking in. “I’ve been watching. All this time. I could see your anguish. Your frustration.”
“So then you can see how much I hate myself, then?” Elmiryn snarled, jumping to her feet with clenched fists.
She came right up to the containment line and glared down at me. “Do you see how much I hate the upside-downers, and the dream-eaters, and the Far Away Lady?”
Elmiryn struck her chest with her fists and yelled, “They laugh at me! They never let me forget!”
“So you don’t want anyone else to forget either,” I whispered.
“Because they’re fucking gullible!” she screamed at me, her shoulders coiling.
I shook my head slowly. “Because you care. You care what happens.”
“And do you care?” She hissed, tears streaming down her face. “If you do, you have a funny way of showing it.”
I didn’t shrink away. My lower lip pushed up, but I held Elmiryn’s eyes.
Then I did something that made Kali yell incoherently in my head.
I stepped over the line.