‘Please,’ said Stoker. ‘If you want to leave Abolish, then fine, we’ll do that. But not like this. We have to be smarter.’
Nize let his words sink in. She looked at the others. ‘I suppose you are right,’ she told them.
Hoyohté’s gaze lingered, however. ‘You have no complaints, then?’
Nize glanced at Stoker. ‘The extra violence didn’t sit well with me, but then, they are all going to die, anyway.’
“Your reluctance has not gone unnoticed,” said Karkash. “Are you truly prepared to act as the Void wills us?”
“Of course we are,” said Stoker.
“She demonstrated no such hesitation before. So why does she now?”
“She doesn’t. She understands perfectly.”
‘Yes,’ said Nize. ‘I was mistaken to speak so unthinkingly.’
It took a bit more silence, followed by more reassurances, but Hoyohté and Karkash finally dropped the matter, and at length, the four of them exited the bunker together. Atreyan soldiers paid them frequent stares, no doubt because Stoker’s and Karkash’s sherwani coats stood out so prominently from all the blue-and-white uniforms.
‘We will flee at the soonest opportunity,’ Nize said to him.
He nearly sighed. ‘What prompted this change of heart, anyway? We’ve been together for almost two years now, and you didn’t start acting this way until a couple months ago.’
‘It was Germal’s doing,’ she said.
‘Germal? That guy with the horn in his head? Seriously?’
‘He made me doubt the Void--doubt that I can truly feel its presence. And now, I... I’m certain that I can’t. It’s all been a lie. I used to believe it so strongly, but that was only because I wanted to hear it, to know its grandeur. I was pretending--so much so that I even fooled myself. But the Void isn’t real. It’s a mad dream.’
‘Wow. Good thing I never bought into that shit in the first place, then.’
‘What? You didn’t? But you said you did. You took all the oaths and swore your allegiances to me and Abolish.’