The town of Leopard Hill stands with its gates open and its guards ready to close them if anything happens, which it probably won't. Sesat might be at war but this town is far from Azan. With all that territory in the way it's probably safe to go run errands outside of town. Right?
“I was a scribe and I worked my way up to being on Azan he’s council. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I was leaving. I didn’t know I was until I’d already left.”
“Sure,” she says in the tone of someone who doesn’t want to believe what they’re hearing but does anyway. “And your eye?” She brushes his hair away from his face and he swats her hand away.
“I tore it out.”
He looks to Valan, not really sure what to say.
"I can talk anyone into anything and I was mad at him."
“So you made my little brother tear his own eye out?”
"Yeah, it was a dumb idea, wasn't it? But it impressed Azan he."
“Impressed? Maki, are you okay, why are you still with this Sesati lunatic, did he make you come here—“
“Nadi, it’s okay, he’s my boyfriend. I’m here because I want to be. And I did deserve what he did to me before. It’s okay. We’re good now.”
“Boyfriend,” Nadi echoes in harsh disbelief. “Boyfriend?”
"I don't remotely deserve him and if you'd like to take one of my eyes to pay for it I wouldn't stop you."
“Please don’t,” Maki cuts in. “Please don’t. It was my eye for a reason. It was my eye because—because of something I failed to do. I’d take it out again if I had the choice now.”
“Because he told you to?”
“He didn’t tell me to. He just wanted to make me upset. I was the one who reacted so strongly.”
She turns on Valan again. “What did you do to my brother?”
"I explained why he didn't need slave labor in his library."
“He tore out his eye.”
"He probably felt guilty about having all his slaves blinded."
“I advised against it but I didn’t consider better options. It’s my fault they’re blind now.”
“...If I ever find out you’ve hurt my brother more, I will come take that eye.”
"You feel free to do that. - I have but I don't know if he wants to tell you anything else."
“I told him to,” Maki says firmly. “It was to keep other people safe. He didn’t want to let me get hurt. It doesn’t count.”
“You know that if you come to me and say you want to never see him again, I’ll make sure he never gets near you?”
“Yeah. I know. I love you.”