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I see blue.
Blue that's so familiar, it sends shock waves through my brain.
Even though years have passed, time has continued to bless him.
He possesses the gift of dark beauty unlike any other. His short hair is waves of charcoal black, the deepest blue, cropped close to his head. His lean build exudes a silent strength that Batanian warriors are notorious for.
Along with a sharp face forged from steel, it's his eyes that are the coldest of them all, a dark blue, like a moonless sky. They shine brilliantly in a cruel gleam. But what steals my attention is the black mark trekking up his right cheekbone to his right brow bone.
I know he's the same boy I met long ago because I recognize this facial mark. It's a swirling pattern that twists and turns, declaring its sinister presence. Some would mistake it for a religious symbol engraved through black threading, but who knows. Either way, there's nothing holy about it, it feeds to the dark energy of the night sending surges of nausea crawling through me.
But he's here now, leading a squad of Batanian warriors to take me. We're no longer allies, not on this battlefield. The thought sends a throb of resentment to my heart, but I heave it aside. There's no time for nostalgia, especially self-pity.
I direct a cold glare in his direction. Testing my advantage, I press the blade further against his neck, but his stare remains relaxed with no understanding flashing in his eyes.
He does not recognize me.
I don't blame him, it's been countless years. But as a girl who had only loneliness as her companion, I remember every detail of our encounter as if it happened yesterday. The compassion that he possessed for me that day, no longer exists. He does not recall my mercy. Worst of all, my affinities are useless with him in the picture. Not against him—not against his power.
As I study him more, I realize there's something more to him, the same pool of darkness I glimpsed all those years ago in his eyes has grown stronger. Apprehension crawls up my spine in waves of revulsion, being near him makes me sick.
As if sensing my discomfort, he inclines his neck further against the blade as if playing with death himself, tempting me to kill him.
His teeth glisten when he opens his mouth, amused by my actions.
When he speaks, his voice is cool, carrying a certain strength. I fight the urge to flinch, his words are a biting sound. "Will you kill me? If yes..." his voice trails. With his head shifting, he leans hard enough against the blade that a thin line of red blooms across his neck.
He's intentionally wounded himself.
Dread bites at me as I stare. Even with me holding a blade to his neck, he's controlling every bit of this encounter. Finishing his sentence, he says with that cold smile, "can you kill us all?"
"No, no you can't," the voice from my nightmare hisses as it comes to the forefront of my mind. And for once I don't fight it.
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