“Your turn,” said Ismael.
Ibai looked up from the gameboard and smiled at his father. His wide eyes absorbed the other man’s expression with eager interest. “We don’t have to keep doing this,” said Ibai. “You don’t have to keep doing this.”
The Lord Blackburn tilted his head and squinted faintly. However, it was his reaper who asked the question for him.
‘What are you talking about?’ said Rholtam.
Ibai poked the tallest figurine on his side of the table. Its colorful little body toppled over, and he picked it up to look at it. “I could just go,” he said. “It might be better if I did.”
“No. Don’t even talk like that.”
“I know you love me, Papa. I love you, too. But I’ve done nothing but cause problems for you ever since the day I was born. Maybe I should just--”
“No,” Ismael said again.
For some reason, that broadened Ibai’s smile. He glanced at his father another time before returning to the figurine in his hand. It wore a tiny gold crown. It was the most important piece on the board, the one that all the others were tasked with protecting. “Do you still worry that I’ll hurt innocent people?”
The question seemed to take Ismael by surprise.
Ibai nodded. “I suppose you would. Especially now. I’d have doubts, too.”
“There’s no need for you to worry about any of these things. Let’s just keep playing the game.”
“Life’s not a game, Papa. You taught me that.”
Ismael just blinked at him.
“But, if it WERE a game, then it’d be a really difficult one with way too many moving pieces and poorly defined rules. And hidden objectives, too. That would be the most unfair part, I think. Sometimes, the game would tell you to do one thing when you really needed to do something else.”