Ava wanted to kill him. She really did. She’d never wanted something so viscerally in her entire life. Nanny Russo watched her, her eyes still red from crying. She said something in Italian.
“She wonders if perhaps you doubt her story?” the priest translated lazily.
They weren’t real, Ava reminded herself. The people in this timepiece didn't exist this way. The actual story had gone differently. So they were just shadows, stuck in a swirling eddy of history’s timeline until Ava could untangle them. The nanny started speaking in Italian again, but Ava interrupted her.
“I believe you,” she said heavily. “I believe you.” She waited while the priest translated. “I’m so sorry for your loss. That man--” she glanced over her shoulder back at the castle-- “is the guilty one.” She couldn’t absolve him now. It was obvious: He strangled the boy--a toddler--in a frantic rage. The little lord wasn’t even two years old. Ava’s chest felt tight at the thought of it. Afterwards, he simply blamed it on the nanny, because--why wouldn’t he? Who would believe a woman over a man of the cloth?
Ava’s grandfather did. He’d saved the grieving woman from execution and, like the conquering hero he was, brought the guilty party to justice. Unfortunately, justice aside, that wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. He’d messed with an Unchangeable, and that was why the timepiece formed in the first place.
Hot, weary rage boiled inside her. It was exhausting and infuriating. How many more of the timepieces were going to be like this? How many more innocent people was she going to have to hurt?
But they weren’t real people, she reminded herself yet again. They were just shadows.
So maybe it wouldn’t matter if she killed him. Just once--just this time around--just to make herself feel better...