“What was Shawn like when he was the Angel of death?” Mira asked.
Jason lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling. He sat up and clasped his hands. “Well, I can’t really give you a first-hand opinion. I haven’t seen him in years”, Jason admitted.
“And yet you believe he did what he did out of necessity?”
“No. I believe Eva made him do what he did out of necessity”, he paused, considering something. “Let’s just say getting caught was part of her plan. Eva will do whatever it takes to keep him from the dark side”.
Jason’s sudden change in tone, made her feel eerie. She had to ask. “Dark side?”
“I heard stories. And I heard from Eva. Shawn lost two friends immediately after he escaped from Elkin. And before that he was forced to kill someone he didn’t want to. And then he failed to save Lisa. How long do you think someone can handle this without going crazy?”
“What exactly does that mean?”
“It means after his failed rescue attempt, his nickname became accurate. He was the angel of death. He’d been resisting feeling like some sort of freak, bearer of bad news, curse. But he accepted it. And he killed because he saw that as a part of his nature. Wherever he goes, people die”.
“What did that do to his psyche?” Mira asked.
“You’re an Elkin. You more than anyone should know”, Jason pointed out.
Mira thought for awhile and shivered at the thought. She imagined his cold dead eyes, and his blade sweeping through bodies like they were nothing but meat. And him failing to even blink whenever someone cried in pain or became still because of him.
“My father said something once. And to this day I’ve never forgotten it. It was like the third or fourth time I was transferring schools. And the principal just wanted me out because I was being ‘sociopathic’. My dad said that I couldn’t totally be blamed if I was doing bad things because I didn’t fully understand my actions. He said she was worse if she gave up on me. After all she would be giving up on a potential danger and she didn’t seem to have any qualms even though she knew it was wrong”.
Mira leaned against the wall. “She must have been peeved”.
Jason chuckled. Then he leaned his head to the left. “Well…”
“You couldn’t tell?”
“I was like seven or eight. It took me awhile to get emotions”, he said.
“It’s complex, so I usually tend to ignore it. How do empaths handle it?”
“Nobody’s got it all figured out”, Mira admitted.
“And what are your emotions towards me?” Jason asked. He raised his head. “Why is a princess like you so interested in such a bunch of rogues anyway? I know they are a national security threat but there’s something personal isn’t there?”
“Because he killed my father. I want to know why”.
Jason shook his head. “You’ve already made up your mind to avenge your father. Your first thought will be to kill him if you two should meet. You-”
“-Stop preaching at me!” Mira snapped. There was silence. Then she recomposed herself. “I’m so-” Why should I be apologizing? Regardless of everything, I’m still above him. I’m royalty and he’s simply my prisoner. We’re not friends.
“What is your idea of justice, princess?” he asked.
“Why do you care?” she shot back.
“I’m not fully certain. But, I think it’s important for you to survive. You’re the only one keeping me alive. And the only way we both stay so is if you stay objective and not aim for revenge”.
She looked at him. The way he talked and seemed so cold and detached from it all. And over the past few days, she realized his emotions were far less distinct. They were almost flat, only occasionally shifting to an actual evident emotion.
“You’re a sociopath, aren’t you?”
“Well I have been characterized as someone without much emotion”.
“Sociopaths shouldn’t exist”, she thought.
“But we do”, Jason said. She realized she had thought out loud. “Whatever the angel of death did he will face the consequences. But you need to mete out justice as a leader. Not as a person with a vendetta. Elkin needs you. You can’t fail them”.
“What right do you have to tell me what I should do?”
“I’m not like you. I can’t tell you what to do. But I let my anger get the best of me and someone close to me died. I have difficulty feeling certain emotions, but anger, that I feel more easily than most”.
“My brother”, Jason said. “And it was my fault.”