Safe Place. Argent allows his sons to attend the summer courses at Wardenclave, which is arguably one of the safest places on earth. Which allows Kyrie to meet Mikoto, newly appointed headman of this historic village. “It is my honor to welcome you on behalf of Wardenclave. May the coming season find you stronger for your efforts and richer for the bonds we will share.”
“Barefoot Boys” | art by FoxOfTwilight
• • •
Sitting on the edge of the mattress, Mikoto was nearly the same height as the boy, who was compelling at close range. His fingers twitched, but he recalled himself and lowered his gaze.
“Curiosity can be a compliment.” Kyrie carefully picked up Mikoto’s hand and brought it to his face. “Some people need to touch me to be sure I am real.”
The boy smiled. “Touch is part of familiarization. And I find it reassuring.”
Mikoto’s fingertips grazed freckled scales. “You do?”
“I do. Because you are neither afraid of nor disgusted by me.”
What a thing to suggest.
“Not everyone finds the marks of my heritage beautiful.”
That remark was even more telling than the last.
The boy could see right through him. Had weighed Mikoto in a balance and somehow found him worthy. But Kyrie was also baring something vulnerable. People feared this gentle child? Flinched away or thought him ugly? Mikoto felt a surge of indignation, of protectiveness.
Kyrie shuffled closer. “We are becoming friends …?”
“We are friends.” Mikoto pulled him into an embrace. “And not simply because you are beautiful.”
—Mikoto and the Reaver Village
Amaranthine Saga, #4