After Riwenne challenges Illari to a competition to prove whether magic or science is more useful, Kyra pulls her aside and demands to know what she’s doing. She accuses Riwenne of being too obsessed with impressing Illari and she wants to know why she cares so much about the stranger.
Kyra Confronts Riwenne
When we were alone back in the lobby, Kyra grabbed my arm and pulled me aside. “What were you thinking?” she demanded. “You’re challenging her to some kind of contest?”
I bit my lower lip. “I guess so. She’s been needling me all day,” I said defensively. “Every time she talks about the gods, I can see how little respect she has for them. I couldn’t keep letting it go.”
“Yes, you can,” she said. Her grip on my arm tightened. “We had all these talks about playing it slow here, building up people’s trust in us before we asked them for anything. Now you want to ignore all that with a chance to show off.”
I squirmed under her touch. “That hurts.” It wasn’t that bad, but I hated when she talked down to me like this.
She let go with a grimace. “Sorry.”
“It’s not just showing off. We wanted to prove that the gods are still important to these people. And she was the one who started with all the flashy lights and big speeches. Sometimes, you have to fight fire with fire.”
Her eyes narrowed. “We’re not supposed to be fighting at all anymore. Those were your words.”
I threw up my hands. “You know what I mean! I’m not going to challenge her to a duel or anything violent.” I shuddered. “Unless she sends that mechanical jaguar after me again. If it jumps anywhere near me, I’ll smash it into a hundred pieces.”
“You made a big deal out of that jaguar for nothing,” she said with a shake of her head. “Maybe you’re too on edge to handle a delicate mission like this. This girl keeps getting under your skin. Why do you even care what she thinks? The prime minister is supposed to be our mission.”
“I don’t care what she thinks,” I protested, but even I knew that I didn’t sound convincing.
Kyra folded her arms and gave me a long look. “You’ve been obsessed with her since the moment you saw her. Whenever she’s around, she takes all your focus and attention.”
I stared in shock. “What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean. I don’t like to be jealous, but she’s like the new, shiny thing who’s caught your eye. You can’t stop staring at her.”
I shrank back. “It—it’s not what you think,” I stammered. “There’s something about her that I’m trying to figure out, that’s all. I’d never look at another girl besides you.”
“Please, you look at other girls all the time.” Kyra reached for my hand, drawing me back to her. “I don’t mind if you look, but it’s when you get so wrapped up in someone else that I start to feel a little crazy.”
Okay, I had to admit that I did like to stare at cute girls, and I would be lying if I tried to say that Illari wasn’t attractive. “Maybe she’s a little cute,” I said, ducking my head.