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A ripple of cries and protests went through the few captive reapers who were still conscious, but it was Emiliana who proved the most vocal.
“You can’t be serious!” she yelled. “These are your fellow Rainlords! They would certainly have showed you mercy! You must do the same for them!”
‘Don’t listen to her, m’lord,’ said Ustox. ‘Perhaps they would have been merciful at first, but once the full truth came out, our executions would be assured.’
“What ‘full truth’?!” said Emiliana.
Ustox ignored the question.
Rafael spoke up now that the burns on his face were gone. “It’s okay, m’lord. You won’t get in trouble this time. Go on, if you want to.”
Oh, he wanted to. That wasn’t the issue. “But what if Mama and Papa find out? Or Mel? They would never forgive me.”
‘As far as anyone else is concerned, you were never here,’ said Ustox. ‘The battle in this corridor simply grew too chaotic, and we were unable to take any of the enemy reapers alive.’
“No!” cried Emiliana. “You mustn’t kill them!”
Ibai’s eyes widened with anticipation, and he bit his lip. “I-I’ve never consumed a human soul before...”
‘That can’t be true,’ said Ustox, sounding abruptly surprised. ‘To manifest that ability of yours, you must’ve consumed at least a few.’
“No,” said Ibai. “It was only ever animals. I... I tried to think of it like hunting. I even put the meat and fur to use. When possible. So... this is... this is new.”
‘I see,’ said Ustox. ‘I apologize, then. Please forgive my ignorance, m’lord. I thought--well, never mind. We will speak no more on the matter, if that is your wish. I implore you to do whatever you think is best.’
Emiliana was shouting again--something about honor this time--but Ibai had stopped listening.
Ibai truly did not know what to do now. He stared at the reapers with hunger in his eyes. Just this once, it might be okay. He would be able to see what it was like. He had a feeling that humans souls were much more potent than animal souls--and another feeling that reaper souls were stronger still. All he needed to do was crush them with his shadow and then teleport before their ethereal remains disappeared. It would be so easy.
But for some reason, he didn’t. He stopped himself.