Julia sipped at her tea, relishing the warmth as it spread into her chest.
‘I just thought he was going to change things,’ she said. ‘I thought the Queen was supposed to come back, wake up the King and bring us a cure for the contamination.’
‘But you know what the contamination really is now. We both know what it really is.’
The Weeper vaccine. The Silver cure.
Julia had told Livia the truth the moment she’d returned from the Red.
‘I know,’ said Julia, ‘but still, shouldn’t something have changed? All the lives lost and battles fought and still things are happening exactly as they used to. The Candidates are still being cast, the Attendants are still bleeding, the Servers are still slaving, and above it all the Nobles are still taking exactly what they want from us. How is that fair?’
Livia settled back in her seat.
‘Well, now, that depends on what you’re asking. If you’re asking how it’s fair that they’ve used us for this long, then the answer is it’s not. It’s never been fair, and there’s no wiping that blame away from them. But if you’re asking how it’s fair that they’re still allowed to use us when you know very well what has the power to make them stop… Well, that’s a different question, isn’t it?’
Julia put her tea aside, no longer thirsty.
‘What are you saying?’ she said.
‘You know what’s in the blood of them outside the Blue. The way I see it, you’ve got a choice: either you accept things as they are, or you do something about it.’
Julia couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Yes, she’d resolved to change the way that things were in the Blue, and yes, the thing that had motivated her was the knowledge that the contamination could be used as a weapon against the Nobles, but she hadn’t quite put the two together into a course of action. The thought of actually using that weapon felt too extreme to contemplate.
But it was the logical end point, one Julia knew she’d have to accept.