Epilogue

“Where will you go?”

The night was very dark. Clouds had come to obscure the stars and moon, and Diego’s face was barely discernible. Marisol said nothing. Instead she watched the road.

“Where will you go?” Diego asked again.

“You should go home,” Marisol said. “Go back to your family.”

Diego was silent. She could barely see his face in the dark, only the black bruise that crawled across his cheekbone.

“I’m sorry I hit you,” she said.

“You should be,” Diego said. “I was trying to help you. Probably, I saved your life.” He spread his hands. “I suppose that makes us even. I will go home, you will go…elsewhere.”

“Granada,” said Marisol. “Most of the Prussians are in Granada. He will be there.”

“And then what? What do you think you’re going to do? He’s surrounded by an army, an army of monsters. He is the only man I have ever seen the Maestro afraid of. What do you think you’re going to do to him?”

Marisol shrugged. “I’m going to kill him.”

“But how?”

“I don’t know.”

Diego said nothing. In the distance, very far to the east, a very faint green light tinged the clouds. At first, Marisol thought she imagined it, but as she watched it grew stronger. She turned to Diego.

“You were always kind to me, Diego. You’re a good man. You deserve a life in which you can be happy. Go to Salamanca. Become a lawyer or a priest or a poet. Go somewhere far away, and forget about me, forget about all of this.”

“Hah. You killed my fencing master. I am probably not going to forget.”

“Well, then remember it, but remember it from far away.”

Diego looked out at the green light. It hovered behind the distant clouds on the horizon, like a second, foreign sun, come from some strange and sickly world, a blighted world grown fat on poisoned light.

“I will go with you,” he said at last.

“No, Diego—“

“You are very foolish, it is true, and likely to get yourself killed, of that I have no doubt. But you have no plan, no strategy. Perhaps if I come with you, you will have a better chance, however still remote, of killing your enemy.”

“No,” said Marisol, “please. This is nothing to do with you. You don’t owe me anything—“

“We’re friends, Marisol—“

“We’re not friends.” Marisol shook her head. “I’m sorry. I don’t have any friends. There is no room in my heart for them.”

Diego snorted. “Fine. Fine, then. I will just go to Granada on my own.”

“No—“

“I can go where I like. You’re not the king. You’re not my master. I will go to Granada, and if I happen to take the same road as you, so what? A strange coincidence, but the world is very big, and stranger things have coincided.”

“You are a fool.”

Diego shrugged. “I think that is my business, stranger with whom I happen to share the road. It is very rude to make judgments about people you don’t know. You don’t see me calling you foolish.”

“You just did that, ten second ago.”

“Well, you probably deserved it.”

“Augh. Fine. Do what you want.” She hefted her sword and took to the road. It was a long, long road to Granada, but there were no horses, and no carts, and no flying ships or iron dragons. If she had to walk, she saw no sense in waiting. She attacked the road with long strides. Diego hurried after her.

There was a shadow limned by the green light, so small and far away that it was almost impossible to make out. But Marisol found that if she squinted, she could just see the shape of towers, the outline of a castle against that dim and malevolent sun.

“My father told me,” Diego said, “that when a man begins a journey of revenge, he should dig two graves.”

Marisol slung her sword over her shoulders. “I think I’ll need more than that.”

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