That was one tragedy I would never, ever recover from. Dammit, Willa said. It didn’t work out?

We all went quiet, lost in our thoughts. Maybe it didn’t mean anything. Maybe an Oracle baby was just an Oracle baby, and coming from magical parents didn’t necessarily make him special.

So terrible that some of the worshippers in the temple that day died.They fell with blood streaming from their ears and terror in their eyes.

They died under the statues of the gods and in full view of the congregation, and after they fell, the two sirens stopped screaming and singing. One knelt by the bodies and begged them to come back to life, but of course that didn’t work. Even a siren can’t command such a thing. The other began to weep and could not stop. The peacekeepers broke through at last and took away the sirens and, later, the bodies. No one could believe such a terrible thing had happened in the temple, where everyone is supposed to be safe.After that disastrous day, the Council decreed that the sirens should be under their protection and governance. The sirens were so distraught over what had happened that they agreed. They thought it was better for everyone.When Maire finishes, Atlantia is quiet. And so, Maire says, began the long domestication and decline of the sirens.

Those two sirens, I ask, what became of them?One of them agreed to abide by the new rules, Maire says. The other committed suicide.

She drowned herself in the wishing pool, Maire says. The one where I met you the other day. She used locks to chain her hands and feet together, and then she threw herself into the water, at night, when she knew no one would come along to save her. Hers was the first voice I was able to hear clearly, years ago. It’s gone now. She’s gone now.

I don’t know about that. I can picture her in my mind, seaweed-haired, blue-limbed after all these years, lurking at the bottom of the pool, two flat coins settled in the sockets where her eyes used to be. The thought makes me shiver.What? You can’t wait on me. I have no idea how long it will take to feel like I can leave.

I shrugged. I’m not going without you.She downright glared at me, and I wanted to sing with the joy of it. And what happens when you miss your events? When you don’t win the prize money you need because you turned down Gremlin’s terms?

Unable to stop my hand, I brushed my knuckles against the soft skin of her cheek, savoring the contact. You’re not a term.Landon, I’m being serious.

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