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Kita walked around the giant wooden funeral pyre as the workers finished its construction. It stood nearly thirty feet tall. She'd had the logs specially flown in from Hades. Ruby's body was in the morgue area, waiting to be taken to where it would lay in waiting. Tina had done her best to make it look like the angel hadn't fallen seventy-five stories to a concrete sidewalk. She'd also sent for the Arconian Great Elders, Great Chieftain, and all the clan chieftains with their delegations. She'd already given an update to Snowy, Baby Doll, and Megan. The blood angel was due to arrive any minute.

"Well, it definitely is big," Tina commented looking up.

"She deserves a good send off. She was a warrior of Arcone for a long time and defended these islands a long time before she had wings. You can't ask a warrior to do more than that."

"Too true. It'll be spectacular when it goes up."

"Another thing I wanted to ask you," Kita said carefully.

"This isn't about that thing in that other thing is it?"

"No. I was thinking of making her a Rose posthumously."

"That might look suspicious if you do it during the funeral. Better to decorate her before she goes into waiting."

"You're guilt finally getting to you?" Valentine asked.

"I don't have guilt," Kita answered. "But I do know when I made a mistake. She was my partner and that means she should get the same treatment as Snowy and Jane. I mishandled that entire situation and her death was the cost. I will shoulder most of the blame. Sometimes the biggest sin is not by the doer, but the indifference of the good."

"I won't take blame for this," Valentine protested.

"We can't make you," Tina replied. "You feel how you feel, but you can't deny that you were there most of the time and didn't say anything, not even later in private. You of all people should know how to approach Kita on such a topic. I know I'm to blame. I could easily confronted Kita on the subject, but I didn't. This hardnosed approach has worked before. Maybe if Jane was here we could have caught the signs. It's my fault for being complacent and for thinking everyone would react the same. It's a bitter pill to swallow because she was a nice girl. Like all tragedies it is not the ones who make the mistake who pay the price, but the innocent caught in the crosshairs."

"I find it hard to believe you're backing this charade."

"It's not a charade. It is the truth," Tina replied.

"And what truth is that?" Megan asked.

"That an Arconian warrior has two paths if they are dishonored. Be labeled as dishonored, become an outcast, and try to regain your honor, which chances are slim, unless, you get into Kita's services. Or you fall on your sword to redeem your honor and remain as part of the clan."

"That theory would be plausible if she'd been labeled dishonored," Megan retorted.

"You don't need others to label you dishonored, if you already feel that way. Kita dumped her harshly and in public. Kita labeled her a failure and dishonored, without saying as much. It doesn't matter what others think, it only matters how she felt, and she felt this was the only way out. Could she live as an outcast angel? You, Diamond, and Emerald all gave in. She stood by herself. It's easy to see why she chose the way she did."

"Don't expect me to just stand aside quietly," Megan threatened.

"I do expect you to stand and be the leader you are. Say the right things and act the right way. She is a fallen warrior after all and deserves the respect she's earned," replied Kita.

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