Perry moved to the table and poured two cups of Luster, handing one to her. “They’ve earned their rest, I’m sure. ”
Taking the drink, Kirra sat across the table, her eyes smiling as she watched him. She wore a tight shirt the color of wheat, the neck unbuttoned lower than it had been during supper. “We showed up at the right time,” she said. “Your tribe was hungry. ”
“They were,” Perry agreed. He couldn’t deny that their situation was dire, but he didn’t like it being pointed out by a stranger.
“When will you return to Rim?” he asked. He wanted to send a message to his sister. How was Liv? He had to know that she was all right.
Kirra laughed. “You want to see me go already? I’m hurt,” she said with a small pout. “Sable wants me to stay. We’re here to help out as long as you need us. ”
That caught him off guard. He took a drink, giving himself a moment to recover as Luster warmed his throat. Sable was rumored to be ruthless, and this wasn’t a time for generosity. Had Liv pressed him for more aid? He wouldn’t put it past his sister. Liv could be ruthless too.
Perry set down his cup. “Sable might want you to stay, but he doesn’t make decisions around here. ”
“Of course not,” Kirra said, “but I don’t see why it’s a problem. We brought our own food, and you have plenty of room to board us. Sable is your brother now. Consider our help a gift from him. ”
A gift? Help? Perry’s grip tightened on the cup. “Sable’s not my brother. ”
Kirra took a sip of Luster, amusement glinting in her eyes. “I can imagine why you wouldn’t feel so, having never met him. Regardless, the advantage should be clear to you. I have the strongest fighters you can find, and my horses are trained to hold steady during storms and raids. We could help protect the compound for you. You won’t have to retreat to a cave. ”
She’d heard. Though it was his choice and the best thing for the Tides, shame crept over him, heating his face. Kirra leaned forward and breathed in deeply, her gaze fixed on him. Her eyes were the color of amber—the same fiery color he scented in her temper. She was reading him, just as he was reading her.
“I’ve heard about you,” she said. “They say you broke into the Dweller Pod and that you defeated a tribe of Croven. They say you’re twice Marked—a Seer, but you see in the dark. ”
“Talkative, whoever they are. In all this chatter you’ve been hearing, has anyone mentioned the Still Blue? Has my brother Sable told you where it is?”
“The land of sunshine and butterflies?” she said, sitting back again. “Don’t tell me you’re looking for it too. It’s a fool’s hope. ”
“Are you calling me a fool, Kirra?”
She smiled. It was the first time he’d called her by name. Because she noticed, he did too. “A hopeful fool. ”
Perry smirked. “The worst kind. ” He was starting to wonder if everything she said would streak him. “You don’t think the Still Blue exists? Don’t you have any desire to live?”
“I am living,” she said. “I won’t be chased by the sky. ”
They fell silent, watching each other. Her scent bristled with excitement. She didn’t look away, and he realized he couldn’t either.
“You’re in a vulnerable position,” she said, finally. “There’s nothing wrong with accepting a little help. ”
Help. That word again. He was done. He couldn’t hear it one more time. “I’ll consider the offer,” he said, standing. “Is there anything else?”
Kirra blinked up at him. “Do you want there to be?” Her meaning couldn’t have been any clearer.
Perry went to the door and opened it, letting in the night air. “Good night, Kirra. ”
She rose to her feet and walked over. Stopping less than a foot in front of him, she stared into his eyes as she inhaled.
Perry’s stomach clenched. She’d stirred his pulse, something he hadn’t felt in weeks. She’d know, but there was nothing he could do to hide it.
“Sleep well, Peregrine of the Tides,” she said, and then slipped out into the darkness.
What are you doing here, Liv?” Aria asked, stepping into her room. She couldn’t keep the anger from her voice.
Liv rose from the bed. “I was looking for Roar. He wasn’t in his room. ” The Greek dress looked rumpled now, falling off her shoulder, and she’d taken her hair down, but she looked stronger and more at ease than she had during dinner.