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Boam threw the newspaper down on the table in disgust. “Can you believe this?” he demanded, pointing at it.


Infamous Juryokine, Cassitoka Gnasher, dead in crash, the headline read. Attempted attack on Sorakine city thwarted.


“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” Wayli asked from her bed. “Toke was literally the last person I would have thought was that guy in the hood.”


Boam scoffed and stood up, and started pacing around the hospital room. “I knew it was him all along.”


Wayli raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “You’re lying!”


“It was so obvious I was offended he didn’t tell us,” the shaggy haired storyteller insisted. “Does he think we’re stupid or something?”


“I still don’t believe you,” Wayli said. “How did you find out?”


Boam smirked. “You just have to know how to read between the lines.”


Wayli glared at him, and then sighed and rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”


“That’s not what I meant, though,” Boam clarified, bringing the conversation back on course. “I meant, who in their right mind would think Toke was the one flying that thing?  It was already blowing up by the time the Sorakines saw it, and then it misses the city entirely?”


“That doesn’t mean—”


“Yes it does!” Boam yelled. “He didn’t miss because his aim was off, he missed because he turned the smiting thing out of the way!”


He stopped and put his head in his hands. “Sorry.  It’s just that… you know.”


“I do know,” Wayli agreed, softly. “And I think you’re right.  Toke would never do something like that, even if he was the Juryokine.”


With a groan, Boam sat back down beside her bed.  It hadn’t even been a day since the flying metal ship had almost struck Hashira, but everybody in Yasmik already knew about it.


“They say he’s dead,” Boam spoke up again at last. “Nobody could have survived that crash.  But…”


“But what?” Wayli asked.


“But they never found his body.”


“I know,” Wayli said, looking down again. “They say it burned up in the wreckage.”


“Ha!” Boam spat. “Idiots.  The first rule of storytelling: if there’s no body…” he looked up at Wayli, waiting for her to finish his sentence.


She stared at him for a full minute before finally catching on. “You think he’s still alive?”


“I’d bet my book on it!” Boam confirmed, and the look in his eye chased away any doubts about how serious he was.


“But if he’s still alive, then that means—”


“It means he’s run away.  Changed his name.  Probably brought that cute Sorakine girl with him.”  Boam stopped and took a deep breath. “And it means he needs us.”


He looked up at Wayli, waiting for her to argue, but she only nodded.


“That’s it?” he asked. “I thought you’d put up a fight over it or something.”


“There’s nothing to fight about,” she answered. “Toke’s our friend, and if he’s still out there then he needs us.”


Boam nodded at her, and then broke out in a wild grin.  Without a word, he ran out into the hallway and returned with a wheelchair.


“You up for a field trip, Wayli?  Let’s go find him.”





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