She closed her eyes as though watching something internally. “I think . . . That is . . .”
She stood tall, her feet planted firmly, her shoulders back and her chin raised. “I’ve been trained. In defense, I mean. In weaponry.”
He tilted his head. Basha had cautioned him not to throw too much at Mara at once, fearing that the information might cause her to reject things, to refuse the truth. She believed that Mara needed to come to her own realizations and in her own time. Still, she seemed to have discerned this truth. Could he confirm it safely? He certainly hoped so.
“That’s right,” he finally conceded.
“And that’s why I was at that place—that camp—with you and the others? I was training.”
“You trained there some, yes.”
She bit her lip. “Dixon, if I ask you a question, will you answer me honestly?”
“If I can answer you at all, I’ll answer you honestly.”
“Fair enough.” She hesitated, then asked, “How much time have I lost?”
He straightened up. “I just told you. You were out for three full days.”
“No. No, I mean before. How much time am I missing?”
He blinked rapidly. If he told her of all the time she’d lost, she could only conclude that she was an Oathtaker with a charge—or at least that she’d had one at some time. What else would explain her lack of aging? But that could worry her. And what would she do if he gave her the rest of the facts? Insist on returning to the compound? Ask him to disclose information about her charge? Demand she return to the twins though she clearly couldn’t care for them? Then Lucy would learn the truth. Time seemed to drag as he considered her question.
Finally, his eyes met hers. “Well, now I guess it’s time for me to be sorry.”
“What do you mean? Sorry about what?”
“You said a minute ago that you were confused and somewhat afraid. I guess I would say the same for myself. I’m confused about what to tell you. I’m afraid you might reject things and then lose the opportunity to figure them out for yourself . . . to embrace the truth.” He sighed. “Like . . . about your being trained in defense. If I’d told you that, you may have rejected it. But you figured it out for yourself.”
Her jaw set, then slowly relaxed. “So you’re saying you won’t tell me how much time I’ve lost.”
“I’m saying that I think it would be better for you to come to that knowledge on your own.”
Her shoulders sagged. “So when is this information, when are these recollections, suddenly supposed to come to me?” Her frustration added an edge to her voice.
He grinned. “I don’t know. But you just came to an important truth all on your own. It’ll happen. Just give yourself some time.”
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