Where were they? She wanted to yell at them. And cry at them. Most of all, she wanted to stop worrying about them. About herself. About everything. She pressed her hands against the window and dropped to her knees. Her claws left scratches in the glass, and she could not have cared less.
She settled wearily into a heap on the floor, letting her roiling thoughts slowly diminish. And perhaps it was the agonized wonder for her parents only a moment prior that was responsible for the sudden and inexplicably clear reminder of her mother’s words.
Sacrifice is what it means to serve.
The woman had said it enough times that Emiliana nearly came to hate the phrase, but dammit if she hadn’t also come to understand its meaning. Her mother wasn’t just talking about being in the Vanguard. She was talking about being a servant. The power and responsibility it granted, the unwanted attention. Sacrifice was inevitable, and oftentimes, unknowable. The only thing to be done was to attempt to prepare for the worst.
And annoyingly, Emiliana abruptly remembered her mother doing exactly that. The Lady Elroy had indeed explained about the mutation type, along with the other five categories of abilities. She’d warned her of the possibility, told her to keep a clear head if the time ever came, even told her that might not be possible due to the way abilities tended to manifest via stress--and that, nonetheless, it was still necessary.
“Because you are an Elroy,” her mother had said. “One day, someone will attempt to hurt you for no other reason than that.”
It wasn’t fair, Emiliana felt. The only thing she wanted to do right now was blame her parents. And she couldn’t bring herself to.
Chergoa was still trying to soothe her, Emiliana realized. ‘I know this seems horrible right now, but you’re okay. Trust me.’
Emiliana didn’t even have the energy to glare at her.
“Are you unwell, child?”
Emiliana turned and saw the elderly woman from earlier standing there.
She was a tiny thing, even shorter than Emiliana and certainly more shriveled. When she saw Emiliana’s mutated face, however, she didn’t flee or yell. Instead, she merely raised an eyebrow at the girl.