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Authors: Daryl Banner

Outlier: Rebellion (65 page)

BOOK: Outlier: Rebellion
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“IMPIS!” belts the King.

And the laughter dies at once, and Impis looks up, caught by surprise. “My apologies,” he offers, not having meant his Legacy to seep out so powerfully, the unrelenting and playful pet it can be.

And then Impis finds he owes the criminal an explanation for his change of heart. “You taste of bitter grease,” Impis explains to the ugly thing, “and my Metal Hand has touched quite enough heads for the week. Haven’t you?” He turns to his man for this question who, garbed in his heaviest irons, shrugs. “Hmm, and,” Impis wrings his head about once more, facing the sentenced, “I think I find you less boring alive than dead. Tell me one thing, would you? A foresight, please? How do I die?”

The brute thing looks up at Impis, for the first time showing something in his stare that is not stony insolence. What is it in his stare? Is it fear? Is it shame? Is it curiosity? Is it pride? Is it love?

The man says, “By your own sword.”

Impis swallows once, confounded. “But I do not own a sword. I have my—my—my—my
posse
who do the battlements for me. You are a liar.”

“The math never lies,” he responds.

“Out with him,” murmurs Impis, his eyes piercing the room like lasers, his left eye daring to twitch, and it is the ugly brute-thing’s every step that Impis watches, watches, watches, until the man is gone, banished, out of sight forever. “I don’t own a sword,” he calls out, half holler and half scream, and the words fly up the ever-tall glassy world of King Greymyn’s throne room.

Back in his chambers, with all his posse outside the many doors of his little tower room, all of them guarding him, all twenty-two of his personal Guardians, he plucks from a stack a list of boys’ and girls’ names. He scans them, squinting and running a two-inch-long red-and-white-striped nail down the length of the list from top to bottom, a single scratch.

The names inspire a dance, and Impis begins waltzing about his chambers, giggling at the memories of all the Legacies he had the pleasure of witnessing. “That boy with the neck,” he says, agreeing with himself, and he circles the boy’s name. “The one who can speak to animals,” he sings. “Animals, animals, animaaaaals!” He gives that name a circle, too.

Nine names he needs. Nine to submit to the Court for approval. Nine individuals who will be invited to the Lifted City with their extraordinary or curious gift, to be interviewed and danced with and tormented wondrously. Impis giggles, circling another name he’d just found, the name of a girl whose acid tongue stole his interest for that day.

But no Outliers. None.
What bitter disappointments, indeed.
They must hide them. No other answer. They hide them and they store them away and they want them all to themselves, the selfish slumborn.
The King said it best: never make lemonade by the apple trees.

There are eight names circled.
Who is my ninth?

Who is my ninth?

Ninth.

Lesser.
Lesser. Lesser. Lesser. Lesser. Lesser.
Lesser. Lesser. Lesser. Lesser. Lesser.
Lesser. Lesser. Lesser. Lesser. Lesser.
Lesser. Lesser.

Lesser.

He tosses the list he’d been all the last hour carrying and fetches another one.
I haven’t taken from the ninth in over six years of Legacy Exams. What fun!
He tosses the new list and fetches yet another, drawing his wild eyes down it until he at last arrives on the name he’d been looking for. Indeed, the reason for his peculiar obsession today in Court.

Impis finds himself reaching into his pocket. He reaches in to ensure there is still nothing there.
Yes, yes, yes, yes.
“He smells fear,” says the Royal Legacist, tracing the name on his list with his long fingernail, enjoying the sound it makes as it scratches along the paper. “Nothing. Nothing at all is important to me, no, no. Nothing at all, except …”

He circles the name of Anwick Lesser of the ninth.

A giggle dances down his throat. The list has never felt more perfect, never more swelling of harmony, never more complete.

 

Table of Contents

ACT 1

Prologue
0001 Wick
0002 Forgemon
0003 Rychis
0004 Link
0005 Kid
0006 Wick
0007 Athan
0008 Wick
0009 Halvesand
0010 Ellena
0011 Kid
0012 Wick
0013 Ellena
0014 Wick
0015 Athan
0016 Halvesand
0017 Link
0018 Wick

ACT 2

0019 Forgemon
0020 Athan
0021 Wick
0022 Halvesand
0023 Wick
0024 Forgemon
0025 Link
0026 Wick
0027 Halvesand
0028 Ellena
0029 Wick
0030 Ruena
0031 Link
0032 Halvesand
0033 Athan
0034 Kid
0035 Wick
0036 Link
0037 Forgemon
0038 Ruena
0039 Athan
0040 Halvesand
0041 Ellena
0042 Wick
0043 Cintha

ACT 3

0044 Link
0045 Wick
0046 Ellena
0047 Ruena
0048 Athan
0049 Cintha
0050 Kid
0051 Link
0052 Wick
0053 Halvesand
0054 Kid
0055 Wick
0056 Forgemon
0057 Halvesand
0058 Athan
0059 Link
0060 Ellena
0061 Wick
0062 Ruena
0063 Wick
0064 Kid
0065 Forgemon
0066 Halvesand
0067 Link
0068 Athan
0069 Wick
Epilogue
BOOK: Outlier: Rebellion
10.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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