Natos had specifically chosen to spend that day alone, not wanting to get caught up in his brother’s chaos for once. He figured Jaffna would be safe, because he’d heard Acronis discuss heading to Taellyn with some of the others. As soon as he heard the giggle right behind him, he knew he should have gone to Qulu instead. His brother and the others would never bother with that remote location.
Despite hearing her coming, he wasn’t expecting the arms to wrap around his body from behind. He let out a startled yelp and pulled away, turning around quickly.
“Inanna!” he said with a gasp.
“Oh!” Her face turned bright red and she covered her cheeks with her hands. “I thought you were Acronis!”
“I gathered,” he muttered.
“I’m so sorry!”
“Right…well, it’s not a big deal.”
“Maybe not for you,” she said breathlessly. “You’re…Natos, right?”
He refrained from rolling his eyes as he nodded his head. It wasn’t that he minded that this rather attractive young woman preferred his brother to him. But despite how little he cared to hang out with his Acronis and the others, he had been around a lot when Acronis was in Jaffna and spent time with Inanna. Was it that hard to remember his name?
“Is Acronis here too?” she asked, looking around the area.
“I don’t think so. I heard them talking about going to Taellyn today.”
She stuck her bottom lip out. “What’s in Taellyn? Who is in Taellyn?”
Natos only shrugged. He couldn’t tell her what he was thinking. I couldn’t even begin to care. Why on earth do you want anything to do with my brother or those others that he spends all of his time with? What must be wrong with you that this is the kind of attention you want?
The truth was, he had always seen signs that Inanna’s family was not much better than his own. He felt bad for the girl, but on the other hand, at least her life was better than his. At least she wouldn’t be expected to become a mercenary and assassin, living in the shadows for the rest of her life, never having the chance to have real connections with others. He could only hope that she didn’t waste her freedom—that she would outgrow this fascination with his brothers and find some better friends.