Chapter 72: Cynara

Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Cya sat quietly in her room, on a cushion on the floor between her two chests, her fingers working slowly on a tiny rainbow sweater without consulting her mind.

It had been two weeks.  She didn’t get faint anymore when she stood up.  Dr. Caitrin said she was nearly recovered.

Nearly recovered.  She hadn’t even known there was anything wrong with her.  Nearly recovered.  And now she struggled against this sick feeling in her stomach every time she thought about Dysmas.

Leo had brought her the chests. Leo, with a broad smile on his face, so pleased that she was free.  And… and she wondered if he’d understand the awful-sick feelings of being out of lies to tell yourself, out of the sick embrace of Dysmas’ lies to hold on to.

No, she didn’t think so.  By the time he’d gotten out, he’d been in a place where those things didn’t hurt him.  

Except… he had punched Dysmas.  Twice, now, to hear Aviv tell the story, “just snapped and punched him again, because, well, Dysmas is a bit of a shit.”

And the thing was, Dysmas was really not that much of a shit to Leo; he generally ignored other people’s Kept unless — well, unless he was feeding off of them, or unless they were punching him.

Or stabbing him.  That had been Arnbjorg, Leo’s half-sister.  Grabbed him from behind and…

She closed her eyes, her fingers stilling, and relived it.  She’d heard a couple of the Words Jaya had used.  Fear had been in there.  That was a clever trick — too bad she couldn’t use the emotions word.  Maybe she could talk Leo into that.  But what Phelen and Magnolia had done..

He doesn’t like the sun, she’d murmured.  Outside, the air on her face — and then back in just as quickly as she’d Found what he wanted her to Find.  No, Dysmas didn’t like the outside.

The memory of the shame washed over her, too.  She had done so well at being the perfect Kept, so well at being exactly what he wanted (except running away.  He had been so mad about that.  And he’d barely gotten punished.  So angry… because what? She’d nearly gotten out of Addergoole?  They’d thought of it first?

“In the five and a half years Addergoole has been running, one person has actively tried to escape before, and sh made it only as far as the borders around the Village, and that far only because Luke allowed it.”  Professor Drake could be remarkably forthcoming — if only  you asked the right questions.  “You four made it down to the road and, I dare say, might have made it even further with a little more preparation.  It cannot get you out of the oath, I suppose,” and there unflappable Professor Drake had faltered just the faintest amount. “But there is nothing in the oath about spending four years at Addergoole.”

Cya smiled and picked up her knitting again. It was quiet in here. No sound got in.  Nothing got in.  She had her own threshold now.  She could stay here as long as she wanted.  

They don’t let you skip classes, Dysmas had told her, one day when she had been feeling light-headed.  Get up and get going.

She could stay in here until she figured out how to have a back door, how to get out, how to get everyone else out.  She could, if she wanted.  

They hadn’t succeeded the first time, but she’d taken notes.  She knew everything they’d done wrong and how to do it right the next time.  Even if Professor Drake hadn’t told her what they’d messed up, he’d told her, more or less, that it was possible, that there had been correctable mistakes.

She could get them out of here.  Howard might be enjoying his Keeping and Zita might be a lot safer with Sheba; Leo might be in a decent place, now, with a Keeper who seemed fond of him and never insulted him or told him he was useless, but they were still trapped, and they were still trapped in a place that had allowed Zita to be tormented and hurt and Leo to be… to be…

She stared at her knitting, ripped out two rows, and very methodically slid the whole work back onto her needles.  Some day, some day she would make Eriko pay for what she’d done.  Some day, she would make that bitch apologize to Leo until …

Did Leo even remember?  And if he didn’t, was it a kindness to ask him to dredge all that up just so that Cya could have revenge?

Some day, she and Zita had agreed, they would fill Eriko’s pants with bees.  And while that might be enough for Zita, that was only the beginning of Cya’s plans.

She was the one who planned, after all.  Planning for hurting Eriko was like fantasy football or playing a game of D&D – it was entertaining, it required no actual work, and in the end, she felt almost as satisfied as if she’d actually done something.

Of course, she hadn’t actually done something, but Leo was still in that suite and she didn’t want to get expelled.  The way the older students said expelled, they made it sound… well, permanent.  Not permanent like death, no, but like –

Well, the Director taught mind control.  To Cya, that said volumes more than what they actually learned in class.

The Director taught Mind Control.  And she was teaching it to Cya.  She stood up.  

She was going to find every book on the mind that the Library had, and she was going to learn everything she could.

Her best words were Tempero and Intinn, Abatu and Eperu.  Control and Mind, Destroy and Earth.  She could do a lot of damage with those.

And she had a very short, very important list of people she absolutely wanted to do damage to.  Damage nobody would ever trace.

She opened her door into Leo’s bright grin.

“Great!  I was just looking for you.  Come on!”  

“Come on?”  His smile was contagious;  Cya found herself smiling back at him.  “Where are we going?”

“We’re going outside!  Come on,” he urged.

Books could wait.  Cya let herself be chivied to the door, still smiling.

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