" Well, of course I did. What else was I supposed to do with them?"

He stared up at her.

" It's not something you'll ever understand, little Lyena. Your body doesn't force you to do anything, and you only favor men, besides. From the moment I was born, my parents only viewed me as a dispenser for heirs to the family line. Of course I got fed up with it. I had other things I wanted to do," she said, and shrugged. " I didn't particularly care for them, and because of my sentence I had a hysterectomy and Ifrit let me into his fleet. I don't regret it."

She slammed a stack of holocards on the desk.

" Don't look at me that way, little Lyena. Hate me all you want, but you couldn't run this fleet without me. Remember that."

She left, and Nova curled up in his seat, staring at the recordings of the last battle she had thrown down in front of him so carelessly.

In his head, he couldn't understand why Ifrit had condoned the presence of such a woman at all.

Even Irdat had never done anything so horrible.

The pain, a rotten feeling in his chest, radiated out, and he wanted to cry.

Because Hannan was necessary. He couldn't handle any of these things on his own. He knew no one, was treated like he didn't exist by his own family, was alone in a fleet of thousands. It was suffocating.

Whatever he clawed into, he could find no kindness. Everyone was using each other.

He couldn't even think of Ifrit- it made him want to gag.

That was all his fault, but he couldn't have done anything about it, but how could he explain the feelings he had inside to others?

He hadn't wanted to kill him.

He hadn't wanted any of what had happened.

Now, not even Lorn-Fausta would look at him. Not even Kaama would look at him.

He wished that he had died instead.

It would've been less lonely.