Home > Age of Deception (The Firebird Chronicles #2)(6)

Age of Deception (The Firebird Chronicles #2)(6)
Author: T.A. White

"If I may, there might be an easy solution," Silas said when the silence lengthened.

Kira cut an angry glance at him.

"Come to Ta Sa’Riel. See who we are. Learn about us," Silas offered.

"And once I'm there, I'll likely never leave," Kira pointed out.

"We’re not interested in caging you," Silas said. "All we want is to see you thrive. If you truly cannot find a place there, you will be free to go. We only ask that you wait until your ki has been healed, and we’ve been assured you can protect yourself. Passing the sequence of trials leading to the adva ka would go a long way to doing that. Until then, you will be a treasured guest of our House."

Kira studied him. He seemed sincere, but she also didn't know him well enough to know if he was faking.

"We hope, of course, you will come to find your place among us and won't wish to leave," he said with a gentle smile.

Not likely. Kira had a place once. It was gone. She didn't plan to chance the pain of having a home ripped from her again.

Graydon's sober expression caught her attention. "Silas is honorable. If he says you can walk away at any time, he means it."

For all that they were on opposing sides, Kira found herself trusting Graydon. He hadn't given her a reason to do otherwise.

"All right, I'll do it. I'll come with you," Kira said.

There was a slight whirring noise as Jin started for the door.

"Where are you going?" Kira asked.

"Away. I don't want to see your face right now."

The door shut behind him, leaving Kira staring at the place where he'd disappeared.

"Ouch. I didn't know Tin Man could get that angry with you," Raider murmured.

Kira didn't answer. She couldn't. He'd left her. Even after she'd given in. This was a nightmare from which there was no escape.

"Is now really the time for this?" Jace asked.

Raider smiled. "There's no better time."

Her nostrils flared as she inhaled deeply, trying to compose herself, all too aware the Tuann were still watching.

Concentration was difficult with the incredible pressure in her chest. It was filling her up, making it hard to think or breathe.

He was gone. Jin had left her. She was alone, her secrets exposed. Vulnerable. Weak.

Kira’s eyes locked on Shandry, idly noting the other woman's casual posture, the slightly smug look on her face as if she'd won a point on an invisible scoreboard.

Shandry noticed her looking at her and her smile widened. Gloating as she basked in her victory.

She'd done this. Upended Kira's life, exposed one of her most closely guarded secrets, and driven a wedge between Kira and her oldest friend.

Now Shandry was happy.

Kira's body moved without conscious thought. She was out of the chair, halfway across the table before anyone could blink.

The room erupted, oshota springing forward. To Kira, their shouts sounded like nothing more than angry buzzing as she lost herself to the red haze in her head.

She'd lost control, she realized distantly. Even knowing what could happen from such a breach, she couldn't bring herself to care, intent on destroying the person who had hurt her.

Hard arms wrapped around her lower body, slamming her into the table. A second set pinned her upper half to the table. Raider and Jace hauled her toward them, shoving her into her seat.

Raider's arm ended up wrapped around her neck, nearly cutting off her oxygen. Jace was at her front, forcing her to stay in her chair.

Kira lurched forward before she gathered herself, letting them keep her there as she panted. Rage, the likes of which she'd lost herself to only a few times in her life, coursed through her.

Staying seated was hard. All she wanted to do was eliminate the threat, the thing that had already hurt her.

Instincts warred with control. She wasn't proud to admit control was losing.

"It's been a while since she's done this," Raider grunted, not daring to move even when she remained still.

"Let's keep it that way, shall we?" Jace didn't let up as she quivered from the urge to attack, somehow retaining enough of herself not to hurt her friends. "I'd forgotten how damn terrifying she is."

"No shit," Raider snapped.

Finn appeared next to them. Not touching, his physical presence was threat enough.

Kira forced herself not to move, not to struggle. As much as she hated what Shandry had done, what she had revealed without Kira's permission, it wasn't the healer's fault Jin had left. It was Kira's. She'd been the one who'd chosen to hide the extent of the damage her power caused her. She'd been the one to decide against upsetting him with the inevitable.

She had no one to blame for his current abandonment but herself.

After one final breath, Kira reached up and tapped Raider on the forearm. "You can let me go. I won't attack her."

Raider's grip didn't loosen. "Are you sure? I don't think they'll give us ships or people to fly them if you kill one of their people."

"Let me go, asshole."

Raider chuckled, his arm loosening as he stepped back. "Just like old times, Phoenix."

Kira mumbled to herself as she fiddled with her sleeves, straightening them before twitching them into place. Only when she had finished did she look up, her face expressionless.

Everyone in the room stared at her with varying expressions of disbelief.

She stared blandly back. Hadn't they ever seen a grown woman lose her shit before?

Liara was shocked, her oshota reflecting their Overlord's dismay. Graydon and his warriors were poised to interfere if the humans couldn't keep her contained.

Silas seemed thoughtful as he watched her regain her composure.

"You'll have to forgive Kira," Jace said smoothly into the silence. "In our culture, a doctor revealing such personal information as yours just did to such a public forum is considered a grave breach of privacy and trust. For someone with her issues, it acted like a trigger."

"It is similar for us as well," Graydon said, shooting Shandry a hard look. "Such things are not to be done lightly and should have been handled with caution and respect. Something Luatha's healer seems to have forgotten."

Shandry flushed slightly at the rebuke, her gaze shifting.

The exchange allowed Kira to regain the last of her composure. She settled in her chair and fixed Graydon and Silas with a cool stare. "Can you really fix what's wrong with me?"

For so long, Kira had lived with the knowledge that using her powers was slowly killing her. She was afraid to let herself hope.

What she'd told Jace had been true. The life of a Cur was dangerous. You risked death anytime you left for battle on a hoverboard.

In that situation, it had been easy to ignore how her body was slowly killing her. She'd done what she needed to do like any good soldier, never really expecting to survive the war.

When she lived, and so many others didn't, she'd had to find a new way forward. It had lengthened her life expectancy, but she knew it was only a matter of time. She could feel the broken bits bleeding her out slowly.

"We can," Graydon promised.

Kira closed her eyes. It was harder than she thought to let them try. Death had been a familiar stalker since she could remember.

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