“Emmallis,” I say, making my voice sympathetic and soft again. “Do you remember your life before you came to live with the master?” She frowns, seemingly confused by my question.
“Yes,” she replies after a moment of hesitation. “I dream of it sometimes.”
“What do you dream about?” I ask, hoping my hunch will be correct and that her past life contradicts what the master has told her about how the world works.
“I dream of where I used to live.” She says. I might be imagining but I think I detect a hint of longing in her voice.
“And where did you live?” I prompt gently. If this doesn’t work I’m going to have to throw her over my shoulder and make her leave by force.
“In an orphanage,” she answers. “I had a friend with lellow hair. Her name was Cilia.” I have to suppress a laugh at her mispronunciation of the word ‘yellow’.
“You had friends?” I ask, voice quivering under the strain of my suppressed laughter. Emmallis nods, smiling.
“Our nanny was nice. She smelled like flowers and always kept us clean.” She says, her voice distant and wistful. She lifts a hand and touches her messy hair and wrinkles her nose.
“Did anyone ever hurt you?” I ask. Emmallis’ brow furrows in thought before she shakes her head. I see her deep confusion and sense impending victory.
“Has the master ever hurt you?” I question. Her eyebrows furrow even further as she stares in my general direction.
“Not Master, Lidiya.” She says, voice so quiet I barely hear her. I frown as another wave of sadness washes over me.
“What did she do?” I ask. Emmallis shakes her head but I push harder. “What did she do, Emmallis?” Her eyes fill with tears and she turns her face away.
“She slapped me.” She murmurs, her hands coming up to cup her cheeks. “Lots of times.” Rage washes over me and all I want to do is go and find Lidiya and tear her to pieces.
Emmallis’ face turns back toward me and her head is cocked. She frowns, listening for a moment.
“You’re breathing faster? Why are you mad?” she asks, fear touching her voice. I realize that I’m practically panting in my anger and forcibly take a couple deep breaths to calm myself.
“I’m not angry with you, Emmallis. I’m angry with the master and Lidiya. They’ve lied to you.” I reply, voice tight. Emmallis’ eyebrows raise and she looks surprised and… hopeful?
“They lied?” she asks and, seeing success looming, I go in for the kill.