Credit or Blame – Short Story

*Cassie alwys knew Leli was chaotic, always knew Leli had a tendency to destroy things. She just hadn’t expected Leli to use fire.*

“I have to take credit for this,” Leli said, folding her arms over her chest and squinting at the scene laid out before her.

Fire licked up the walls of the castle, adding a charcoal tint to the inflammable stones and shattering the windows as it travelled up layer by layer, destroying everything inside.

“I think you mean blame,” Cassie snorted, hesitating with one foot ready to make a move away in case the castle exploded or something, even though she and Leli were standing on a safe outcropping well below the castle’s main hill.

Leli shot Cassie a quick look and shrugged. “I mean either way.”

“You destroyed an entire governmental system and set the central building for the culture on fire.”

“Yeah.  But it was a bad governmental system and the central cultural building is far enough away from the main village that it’s not a problem, right?”

“Are you asking me to assuage your guilt?”

“I don’t have any guilt.”

Cassie huffed and turned her back on the flaming castle to look down to the village below, illuminated with the orange and red glow of the fire. Doors opened, people emerged, turning their indistinct faces up to the castle.

Cassie’s breath caught, frozen in place, silhouetted by the flaming castle behind her.

The people who had emerged turned and re-entered their homes.

“See,” Leli gestured wildly down to the village. “It was a good choice and I have no need to feel any guilt.”

Cassie wanted to say ‘but you do’ but she decided to keep that thought to herself, at least for now. There was no point starting an argument. What was done was done and Leli was right, it had been a bad system. Even if that hadn’t been evident by the reaction of the villagers, who had only days ago rushed to put out a tiny bakery fire, everyone pitching in to help.

Leli was meticulous with her research. She always did her best to ensure her choices were the right ones for the majority of the people. She always ensured that the people in charge were actually corrupt before she even thought about getting involved in whatever capacity.

Cassie had been following her around since the destruction of her own kingdom – at her engagement ball of all things. Not that Cassie had wanted to be engaged. Something she had reiterated to her parents time and again before they had even announced the ball.

Leli had toppled the monarchy and given Cassie her first opportunity to be her own person, not beholden to the ideals of a royal family. And Cassie had wanted to understand how and why Leli travelled the world toppling corrupt governments.

Since joining Leli, they had topped two prime ministers, a president, three monarchies, and an oligarchy.

Normally it was a little less dramatic than the flaming castle.

Normally it was subtle discord in the populace. Normally it was  convincing lower level advisors to usurp power. Normally it was quiet assassinations, or kidnapping of heirs – which was, more often than not, asking the heir if they truly wanted to inherit and giving them an out.

The sparkling sound of shattering glass had Cassie ducking, stumbling away from the castle.

“Come on.” Leli took Cassie’s hand. “We should get out of here before it’s too late to find lodgings.”

Cassie checked the coin pouch at her waist. It was full enough for a decent meal to go with the lodgings. There was even enough to afford two separate rooms. Cassie bolstered herself against the surprising, nonsensical disappointment. She had become used to sharing beds with Leli. Sharing the small tent with bedrolls pressed together to share body heat. Sharing a single bed in an inn room when it was all they could afford. Bur maybe Leli would like the opportunity to sleep alone for a change. It wasn’t for Cassie to decide to withhold that information from her just because Cassie wanted to keep sharing a bed.

“We can probably afford two separate rooms.”


“Because we have enough coin.”

“No,” Leli laughed. “Why would we bother? I like sharing a bed with you. And conserving coin is just a bonus.” She winked.

Cassie’s heart thumped heavily against her sternum. Oh? Oh…

*Next week we move on to our March Theme: Meetings*

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