“So this woman? Minali? She was Led by Anarchy?”
“Heh,” he looked aside, way more spitefully than it was normal him, “she’s ruled by fear now. N’ probably regret.”
His body felt a massive tingle, most probably the closest thing to unspeakable pain it could register.
“Hey, I just felt that,” he mentioned casually.
“It does not surprise me, that is what would usually kill a person. Or at least put them into shock.”
“Hah, not pop’s little freak.”
Eliza left that unanswered, further focusing on the healing. He turned his head side to side, uncomfortable with the silence. He didn’t know if it was Eliza who was just easy to talk to, or if it was because he just didn’t want to be alone with his thoughts, but he really felt like talking further.
Alas, only one topic came to mind or was anywhere near his interest. He tried to think of something else, for what felt like an eternity, but nothing popped up.
“Why’d ya think she helps people?”
Eliza, back to her old self, maintained a blank face.
“Ya know who,” he said bitterly.
“Who else’s goin’ outta her way to help people? C’mon.”
He shivered, which was a remarkable feat in his current health.
“I do not know. You will have to ask her.”
“If you meet again. She might fall to the Beasts before then, Light forbid.”
“What’d ya mean? Are they chasing us?”
“Hm? Oh no. We left, but the House of Magni will still make a stand making use of volunteers. Falk wishes to put his invention to what he called ‘a proper test.’ And yes, the Shadow stayed behind as well.”
It worried the Circus Freak, and it worried him that it worried him. Having concern for another person was a new and confusing state of affairs as far as he was concerned, which was why he wanted to understand why she did so seemingly by choice, and how.
“We are in the end times, Hugo. I would suggest you ask all your questions the next time you meet her if it happens, for it might very well be the last.”
He felt an intimacy with the old woman that suddenly alarmed him.
“Stop callin’ me by my name, you’re not my mom.”
She couldn’t help but giggle at that.
“I’m certainly not that. And you were never anybody’s son either, were you?”
“There’s no time for that when you’re in show business,” he grinned happily, “there’s only the work and doing what yer told.”
“You ever wonder how they are faring?”
“Who? My Circus?”
“Pfff,” he snorted dismissively, “not even once, lady.”
That was, of course, telling. He didn’t feel any rancor towards them, as a matter of fact, it made him laugh when he thought about how they treated him. Like a dangerous beast. It was funny, but it created distance, the same distance he had had with everyone he had met. Except for her, and the old woman there.
Trust. Confidence. They were new things to him. He realized just then he had confided in Eliza how much he missed his arm.
It also crept into his conscience that he had been saved by random people in the streets. They were evacuating, the last of the line to escape the Beasts, and they had not abandoned him to bleed and die on the streets. They had helped him, instead.
Why did he feel like thinking about such things? They weren’t fun. Or were they? There was something of positive to the feelings, they made him feel good like fun did, but in a different way.
Oh, no…I’m starting to like it.
He looked away at the door. He wanted to run, to go freak people out.
“Is it gonna take much longer?”
“’m sick o’ being still! I wanna move.”
“You have been still for just a few minutes, far as you know.”
“Yeah well, it’s no fun unless I’m lying in wait to scare someone.”
“An assistant of mine will be coming through the door any minute now with some water if that helps.”
He smiled expectantly.
And then not, “waaaait a minute…are you lying again?”
She smiled in return, looking down at her work.
“Why not lay in wait and find out?”
He laughed at that, and it was by far the most innocent laugh he had ever had, but scarily enough, one of his most honest ones. It, again, made him feel pretty good.
Made him want to compliment her, which was another new sensation.
“You’re alright, Eliza.”
“You are as well, Circus Freak, even if no one knows it. Yourself included.”
He yawned in response.
“Well, perhaps not no one,” Eliza conceded, “the Shadow seemed to have noticed.”
He responded with a very telling lack of comment, mostly due to his rampant desire to go running again. He brought his hand over to his head and massaged it.
“This is stupid,” he said, more as a all-encompassing philosophical statement than as a simple comment about anything in particular.
Ever understanding, or especially because she did understand the exact target of his meaning, Eliza couldn’t but fully agree.
“Yes. It truly is.”