The admiral had come to visit the girl again in the dungeons, a few times now. Each of these successive times the woman had brought some food for Miranda – real food, the stuff her rank deserved. At first she’d been suspicious, but her hunger had won out in the end. She’d devoured the steak and vegetables and potatoes, so much better than anything she’d ever had at home in Clifton, and then, her hunger finally sated, sat in worry that she’d been poisoned.
True to her word, the admiral was indeed there just to talk. Miranda found herself spilling her worries to the older woman, who continued to affirm that the girl’s father didn’t want her anymore. Athering did, the admiral had told her. Was she willing to come to Athering’s side?
She wasn’t. She’d spat in Anala’s face and Anala had left the girl to her loneliness.
The woman had come back earlier that evening, with more food. Despite herself, Miranda had eaten again. This time, Anala had told Miranda something the girl found impossible to believe, could never believe! She’d listened politely while she ate, and when the admiral had finished the spiel she’d obviously rehearsed beforehand, Miranda had simply said she’d think about defecting.
She’d do no such thing. She was sure her father was here for her. There was no possible way Anala could be telling the truth – that the two of them were sisters. Anala would know how wonderful their father was if that were the truth. The admiral had to be lying.
After the admiral left, she pretended to go to sleep. The guards had softened to her in her incarceration – she was, after all, only ten years old, and she used it to her every advantage. After a few hours of feigned rest, she concentrated, and got the guards to open her cell door; her freedom gained, it was only a small matter to make them fall asleep where they stood.
Miranda Exsil Vis was off to find her father.