As the revelation to Ghostspeaker Aurelia Rayos was written:
A traitor to dark Stars, set on revenge cold,
A threat to those whose deaths were never foretold,
A Moon waiting impatiently for the end,
A defender with only a Gift as a friend,
A skeptic whose thoughts want to bribe and consume,
A Speaker who fears the new life coming soon,
A rebel whose heart will be chained to the right,
And a Star of the evening, a son of the light
Will all come together when darkness draws near
And save all of Zephan from what it holds dear
Unless we are ruined and put in our place,
Our story will be written into the blanks.
“Did you see the news?”
I snorted as I handed the man a bag of supplies from behind the counter. “Yeah. I did. Because I definitely have a TV in here,” I drawled, gesturing vaguely at the chaotic wreck of a supply stand behind me.
The man looked slightly embarrassed. “Oh, sorry...I figured since you were a scavenger...you might have...”
“You think I know how to fix a TV? Besides, I only bother with essentials.” I held out my hand for the zephs he owed me—half as many as the cost was usually, but the poor, unfortunate man had a sob story about a wife and however many kids, and I wasn't in the mood for dealing with...that.
He reluctantly handed over the money. “So you didn't see the news?”
I stared past him at the few working lamp posts along the crowded street as they flickered on. It was almost time. “...no. Why? Did something disastrous happen?”
“Yes.” The man nodded vigorously, and I turned my gaze back to his face. He looked like he was letting me in on some big secret I should be honored to know. “You're immortal, right?”
By the Ghosts, this person was an idiot. I was out in the open during the busiest time in the evening, selling my goods right smack in the middle of the busiest street in the Blanklands. I was obviously Ghostborn.
"Yeah, I'm immortal.” He wasn't even smart enough for sarcasm to be fun.
The man narrowed his eyes. “One of us...was killed,” he whispered, leaning forward slightly. “And they say the killer was none other than Valentine Lucen.”
That…was not news—not to me, at least. I’d known about the immortal killers for a long time.
But not the part about the Lucen girl, which I didn’t believe for a second.
“Who says that?” I raised an eyebrow as I dumped the zephs in my safe. “You?”
“No!” He looked like he wasn’t sure whether to be offended or honored. “Everyone I’ve talked to.”
“Right, all your high-up connections who just know the Ghostspeaker’s missing daughter is out there murdering immortals.” I rolled my eyes. She was probably dead, up in glowy-Ghost-space-land or whatever people believed in nowadays. It was all garbage, anyway.
The guy finally realized I was insulting him and glared. “Fine, don’t believe me, but it’s not safe out there.”
“This is the Blanklands, sir. Tell me something I don’t know—something actually plausible,” I muttered as the man scowled and walked away, gripping his supplies angrily.
I sighed and leaned back against the shelves, eyeing the big old clock that rose above all the crumbling one-story shops along the street. It was almost five.
I could finally get back to work on things that mattered, unlike stupid gossip.
Finding the real immortal killers.
The clock’s bell rang out, and I quickly dragged the shutters down in front of me and lit the old lamp I’d found somewhere, then grabbed my notebook of evidence from underneath the safe and flipped to the last page, where I had only a few words scribbled near a map I’d glued in:
Somewhere on the northeast edge of the Blanklands; look for Nathanael M.
I’d circled the northeast corner of the map in red, and crossed out several buildings and streets, leaving only two options.
The southernmost street and the next one to the north stared up at me, and I smirked.
One of those streets housed the immortal killers, and I was going to find them tonight.
I would find this Nathanael, find the secret to killing immortals.
Find the Ghost-forsaken murderer who took my mom.