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Page 37

Ty frowned as if he hadn’t noticed Kit’s stupid smile. “The problem is,” he said, “neither of us drive. We have no way of getting to the Market.”

“But you have an iPhone,” said Kit. “In fact, there’s several in the Institute. I’ve seen them.”

“Sure,” said Ty, “but—”

“I’m going to introduce you to a wonderful invention called Uber,” said Kit. “Your life will be changed, Ty Blackthorn.”

“Ah, Watson,” said Ty, shoving the clip into his pocket. “You may not yourself be luminous, but you are an extraordinary conductor of light.”

* * *

Diego had been surprised that Gladstone wanted to lock them in the library. He’d never thought of it as a particularly secure room. Once they were both inside, Diego stripped of his weapons and stele, and the solid oak door had been locked behind them, Diego began to realize the advantages the library had as a prison.

The walls were thick and there were no windows save for the massive glass ceiling many feet up. The sheer walls made it impossible to climb up and break it, and nothing in the room yielded a useful weapon—they could throw books, Diego supposed, or try to flip the tables, but he didn’t figure that would do much good.

He stalked over to where Kieran sat slumped at the foot of the massive tree that grew up out of the floor. If only it reached up high enough to get to the ceiling, Diego thought.

Kieran was hunched against the trunk. He had jammed the palms of his hands into his eyes, as if he could blind himself.

“Are you all right?” Diego said.

Kieran dropped his hands. “I am sorry.” He looked up at Diego, who could see the marks of Kieran’s palms against his cheekbones.

“It’s fine. You were injured. I can look for ways out by myself,” Diego said, deliberately misunderstanding him.

“No, I mean I am sorry,” Kieran choked out. “I cannot.”

“You cannot what?”

“Get away from it. I feel guilt like a curtain of thorns in which I am entangled. Every which way I turn I am pierced again.”

The pool makes you feel every hurt you have ever caused others. “We are none of us without guilt,” said Diego, and he thought of his family, of Cristina. “Every one of us has hurt another, inadvertently or not.”

“You do not understand.” Kieran was shaking his head. A lock of hair fell across his forehead, silver darkening to blue. “When I was in the Hunt, I was a straw floating in wind or water. All I could do was clutch at other straws. I believed I had no effect in the world. That I mattered so little I could neither help nor harm.” He tensed his hands into fists. “Now I have felt the pain that was Emma’s and the sorrow that was Mark’s, the pain of everyone I harmed in the Hunt, even Erec’s pain as he died. But how could I have been the person who caused such pain when I am someone whose actions are written in water?”

His eyes, black and silver, were haunted. Diego said, “Kieran. You have not only caused pain in this world. It is just that the pool does not show good, only hurt.”

“How do you know?” Kieran cried. “We are but barely acquainted, you and I—”

“Because of Cristina,” said Diego. “Cristina had faith in you. True faith, unblemished and unbroken. Why do you think I agreed to hide you here? Because she believed you were good, and I believed in her.”

He stopped before he could say too much, but Kieran had already winced at the mention of Cristina. His next question puzzled Diego. “How can I face her again?” he said.

“Do you care that much what she thinks?” Diego said. It hadn’t occurred to him that Kieran might. Surely he couldn’t know Cristina that well.

“More than you might imagine or guess,” Kieran said. “How did you ever face her again, after you engaged yourself to Zara and broke her heart?”

“Really?” Diego was stung. “We need to bring this up now?”

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