It is spring.

Magpie knows she cannot be out of the mansion for long, with her illness. She sits under the trees anyway, writing. Sometimes the ruby of her ring catches the light. She pauses to listen to the next paragraph of the story. She is like a magpie, she thinks absently, collecting not shinies but stories. Did the followers of TITIAN ever wonder about what would happen to their culture when they joined?

It has been three weeks since the plan was found out.

The Arrow family has been the most loyal members of Wrathia Bellarmine's empire. TITAN had noticed. Magpie hadn't been born then, but Odin sometimes whispered was it was like, on the run. The family and their kingdom had finally found a planet that was uncharted and safe. Then Magpie had been born, followed by the twins three years later.

She hears footsteps. Instead of looking up, Magpie pauses and glares at the recorder.

The plan had been found in a box of the dead empress' things. She had written down about the curses, the fifteen warriors, the pacts. What she believed was the only hope of bringing down TITIAN.



Odin sits down next to her. "H-How's the s-story?"

Magpie bits her lip. She focuses her mind on telling the story. "It's from the Glovera, about an angry girl."

"W-Why is s-she angry?"

"This guy, a prince, breaks her heart. So she drinks a potion and it gives her powers. She kills his thousand armies, breaks down the wall, and sets his kingdom ablaze." She nods to the recorder. "That's all I have so far." They sit in silence. "Do you have to go?"

"Y-Yeah. Look, I-I'll just look at the nearest galaxies. I-It'll only be a month. T-Two. T-Three." She groans, leaning on his shoulder. Then his calloused hand starts petting her hair. "Look. W-We need to do this. I need t-to do this. If TITIAN is defeated, we can c-come out-t of hiding. Y-You can finally get-t proper m-medical care." And there it is- her health.

The doctors aren't certain of what she has. They agree that it is serious, that it'll get worse as she gets older. Her most recent appointment, they gave her a lifespan of five more years. She'll be twenty when she dies.

Magpie pulls off her ring. It is the symbol of the High Lady. In other cultures, the crown princess. Her mother has worn it. She hands it to Odin. "If you have to go, take this."

He stares at it. "Y-You sure?"

She nods. "It'll be your road home."

The two siblings embrace.