Normally Syndra sits further away than this.
Tonight their thighs and knees touch. Tonight Syndra sometimes nods off for a few seconds, her head laying on Irelia’s shoulder. Tonight their fingertips overlap. Tonight, one of Irelia’s blades lays flat against Syndra’s back, and the silver-haired girl does not seem to mind.
“I spoke to Karma,” Irelia says.
“That old woman,” Syndra replies. “Did she explain why she is keeping me here?”
“She doesn’t think you can be reformed,” Irelia says.
Syndra scoffs. Violet eyes dance with amusement. “Do you agree?”
And again, Irelia does not hesitate. “I don’t think you want to be,” she says. “They intend to keep you here forever.”
“Ah, forever,” Syndra says. “What a treat. I get to watch as you stubbornly refuse to age.”
“I don’t think they’ll go through with it,” Irelia says. In her chest the echo of Syndra’s heartbeat leaps. It’s dizzying, how fast it can go. It’s almost painful. “They can’t. We are Ionians. Imprisoning people is not what we do.”
“I’m not a prisoner,” Syndra teases. “I’m a guest. An honored guest.”
And the joke isn’t very funny but Irelia laughs.
It’s a single sound, dry and brief, but it is there and its appearance surprises even her.
“I didn’t know you had a sense of humor, lich,” Syndra says. “But perhaps being around me does have its benefits.”
A hummingbird—that’s what Syndra’s heartbeat is. Even its echo is enough to knock against Irelia’s ribs. Syndra’s hand covers Irelia’s. She comes closer. Irelia finds herself reaching out for her, for the lips painted with a master’s brush—
But just then Syndra throws herself forward. Her meager weight isn’t enough to knock Irelia aside.
Which is a shame. If Irelia had fallen over, then the four men who crept up behind her never would’ve gotten those chains around her.