Robin’s hand rested shakily on the doorknob. It was an unreasonable fear. Completely unreasonable. The gnome on the other side of the door was a victim of Ceera, like her. And younger, practically a child…


“Robin, grow up and let me in already!”


What’s wrong with me? Robin gripped the knob firmly and pulled the door open and stepped back to allow the black-haired gnome inside. She grimaced as Selena walked inside with nothing other than an imp trailing her. “Do…do…you have…a permit for that?”


“Permit? No. I hid him in my bag on the way here.” Selena tossed her bag over a spare chair in Star’s living room and walked straight to the table and began cutting a slice of pie. “Relax. Don’t look so nervous. We’re all kindred spirits here.”


The door shut a bit too hard and the chandelier rattled. Robin looked over at Selena, eyes wide. “Right.” What kind of joke…was that?


“Oh, guess that’s…a pretty bad joke. I hadn’t thought of it that way before.” The other gnome shrugged and began shoveling down pie. The unwelcome imp was thus far ranting in demonic, but otherwise, behaving…as much as an imp could.


Robin cleared her throat, stepping forward a few inches as she willed her voice to come out as something other than a squeak. She was successful, but barely. “What are you doing here, Selena?”


“Visiting, curiosity, what does it matter?” Selena brushed crumbs from her black robes and stood up, making her way over to Robin, the imp following. “Is it because the big scary warlock makes you nervous?” Her tone turned dark. The playfulness was gone. She sounded…almost angry.


“Where did that come from?” Robin leaned back defensively. “We’re all friends, right?” She watched the warlock girl closely. This wasn’t the traumatized gnome she’d seen after the bonds had been severed from Ceera and Star. Holy fel, she’d just let a potentially mad warlock into her sister’s house. Something that could be worse than even Ceera.


Selena smirked. “What? You think because we all went on a little stroll through each other’s heads for a few years we’re all friends? We have a common tragedy, that’s all.” The room went silent as Selena looked Robin over. “No, I’m here for a different reason. I’ve heard all about your plans. You want to be stronger. I heard you’ve become slightly useful, but I don’t know….” She trailed off, gesturing to Robin with a slight shrug of her shoulders.


Something was definitely wrong with her. Robin took a deep breath, trying to steady her voice. “Star should be home any mi—“


A laugh interrupted Robin, the other gnome shook her head. “Really? The noble Robin, the special little gnome is going to hide behind a murderer? That’s gold, really. You have no idea how funny that is.” Selena walked back to the table and fetched the knife from the pie dish, holding it up to the light. “It says a lot about you. It says you’re a coward. And you’re a fake.” She paused, studying the so-called monk near the door. “Should I keep going?”


“Selena, why don't you tell me what's wrong? Maybe I can help.” Robin was shocked at how steady her voice was. She was practically up against the wood of the door while the other gnome was holding the cutlery like it was a weapon.


Thankfully, Selena set the knife down, frowning. “Wrong with me? There must be. I mean, you’re the perfect one, right? The good-doer, Robin. Yeah. Right. You hide behind your baby sister. Cower behind people with values so completely opposite from those you swear by…because you’re too pathetic to admit you’re just as bad as the rest of us.”


“I don’t think seeing the good in people…makes me a fake.” Robin edged towards her staff that was resting in the corner against the wall. Maybe Selena was just angry at something else, the girl needed to rant. That had to be it. Obviously, Robin was panicking; there was no way she was going to end up battling a warlock in the living room.


Selena smiled, voice softening. “Robin…let me know. Do you still see the good in me?”


Fel-flame streaked across the room from Selena’s finger-tips. Right at Robin. She wasn’t playing. She wasn’t trying to miss. It only took Robin half a second to realize she was going to die in Star’s living room. 


Author Robin
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