Kristene was sitting on her rock, conversing with Asa in her head. “What do I do when he gets here?” she wondered. “I can’t confront him.”
“You can,” Asa replied. “You will when you confirm it. You know him well enough to be able to tell if he’s lying to you. But he is probably well prepared by now.”
“I’ll bet he is.” She crossed her fingers and let out a nervous sigh. “Oh.”
From above, the silhouette of Kyron could be seen descending. He had barely folded his wings when he extended his hand to Kristene, a hint of panic in his eyes. “Come,” he urged. “Let’s go back home, my little robin. You can’t stay on this island.”
“Why not?” This was nothing within her expectation of how he would act. She knew then, that he was Master Kyron after all, the unpredictable man who could destroy anything if he so wished.
Wouldn’t it better to have him on her side?
“No,” Asa answered through her mind. “Why are you afraid? He is only an ordinary human being with some potions and an evil mind.”
“Evil mind, you said,” Kristene pointed out.
“Oh but you and I, were made out of evil. What are you afraid of?”
“It’s dangerous,” Kyron answered her at the same time. “Lord Asa could kill us both and bury us here without anyone knowing, for centuries to come.”
“Why am I suddenly taking the blame now?” Asa snapped, startled.
“You see, even you can’t predict him,” Kristene told Asa. Then, she said to Kyron, “Why would he kill us both?”
“You are his only worthy rival,” Kyron explained. “If you cease to exist, he will no longer have a rival, and he would have all the power. And if he knows I exist, he would want me dead too. We’re on this island, Kristene. We are secluded.”
“Hah?” Asa sounded a bit offended. “No, no, no, Kitty. Life is no fun without a rival.”
“What about you?” she asked Kyron.
“What about me?”
Clever as he was, he had to know what she was asking about. But perhaps, he wouldn’t admit anything until she pointed it out by the name.
“Where did you get your wings, Kyron?” she asked, summoning all the courage she had left. She had long learned that he was the only one unaffected by her voice. And her voice, was her most powerful weapon. “And why can’t I fly? Sirens were supposed to have wings to fly with.”
At her confrontation, Kyron dropped his originally extended hand. He stood straight in front of her. “Lord Asa is here somewhere, isn’t he?”
“My question, Master.”
“Is he here?”
They both persisted, neither offered an answer.
“Remain strong,” Asa told her. “But if you can’t anymore, I’ll do it. Just call on me.”
Kristene took a deep breath. “Lord Asa,” she said aloud, “Show thyself.”
She knew it wasn’t necessary to make it sound formal. Yet, for dramatic effect, it would be necessary.
“Well done,” Asa’s voice echoed without walls. Kyron and Kristene could feel his smirk without seeing it. A pale clawed hand with long painted black nails appeared from behind Kristene, resting on her head. After the hand, a large pair of shadowy wings emerged behind Kristene, as if further accusing Kyron of taking her wings. Finally, a human shape appeared, the shadows merging to form the human look of Asa.
Even in human form, his hand was slightly clawed, with the same long black nails. He placed those hands on her shoulders. “Here I am, Kitty.”
“Kitty?” Kyron inquired.
“That was her name, before you changed it. Before you took her wings and confined her mind, too.”
Kristene watched Kyron, who gazed at her for a long moment. He had taken her wings, that much he admitted already. But when he didn’t deny confining her mind, his silence confirmed everything Asa said.
“You have the truth now, Kitty. Do you want those wings back?” Asa’s fingers traced the outline of the tiny wings on her back.
“Don’t touch her, devil,” Kyron warned with a snarl.
“You look more wolf than crow, Master Kyron,” Asa teased.
Kristene looked up at Kyron. She opened her mouth to speak.
He understood the determined look that he’d rarely seen. He’d rarely seen it, but he’d observed her closer than she imagined. “It’s not like that,” he said. “I do care about you. I took your wings, but I do care about you.”
“Why would you take my wings if you care about me?” Kristene questioned. “I want to fly again. Those wings on your back, they’re probably very powerful now, judging from how often you use them.”
She closed her eyes. “Lord Asa.”
Kyron, too, turned his back on her. The last thing he saw before being engulfed in darkness was the Cheshire grin of Lord Asa’s.