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The World Ends With You

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Duster died not knowing whether Jewel knew what she'd done.

She knew Rath had known, and that he'd judged her accordingly, but it'd been clear as crystal from the start that Rath didn't like her, and after the episode with the patris dislike had hardened into hatred. And as much as Rath'd hated Duster, he'd loved Jewel, though he'd tried to deny it. Duster didn't have much use for love personally, but she'd learned to recognize it, the better to manipulate people. But she hadn't been able to play Rath, and after the once she'd never tried again.

Love made you weak; love made you do stupid things. Duster believed that, and the proof was that she was vaulting off the carriage and drawing steel against the thing that had been Rath, its eyes miniature pits of hell in the wrack of that patrician face. She ought to be running for her skin, not preparing to die to buy her den-kin time to live. But Jewel had ordered her to do this, and because Jewel was everything Duster was not, and Duster loved her for it in fierce, passionate secret, here she was.

She was sure that Jewel knew that she had sent Duster to her death; in a way it was a mark of respect, and like the fool she was Duster cherished that proof. But then, she'd known for a while that she was a fool; since about five minutes after she'd let the patris rape Jewel, to be precise. Like a spoiled child, Duster had wanted to destroy what she couldn't have, and she'd thought that Jewel suffering even a fraction of what Duster had survived would break Jewel Markess, would make her like Duster. But Jewel had proved that it wasn't her luck or her seer's gift or her dead loving family that made her who she was; she was Jewel. All Duster's meddling had done was put her off sex, and being touched, maybe permanently. 

In the end, she thought, hearing the demon's human roar and noting carefully the inhumanly fast sweep of its human limbs, it was what she hadn't done that would speak for her before Mandaros. She hadn't doubted Jewel again; she hadn't killed anyone Jewel hadn't wanted dead; and she hadn't run from this last fight. Funny how it was the two people who loved Jewel best trying to kill each other, here.

There was a lot Duster didn't know, and never would, including whether Jewel would remember her or Rath with more fondness. She hoped it was her, but she had her doubts. She was Duster; she had her doubts about all but three things.

One, that she loved Jewel Markess, called Jay. Two, that she was about to die for Jay in the streets of Averalaan. And three, that none of it counted against what she'd done.

Duster let herself give the demon a lazy smile, with lots of teeth. "Come on, hell-spawn," she said in her best taunting voice. "You'll be back home before you know it."

The Rath-demon laughed. "Your life in this hell-on-earth was nothing compared to what awaits you, Duster, in death and in your next life. All shall come to the Lord of the Hells."

"No," Duster said, and her own flat certainty surprised her. "Jay won't let that happen."

The demon laughed again. "One sixteen year-old half-seer is not enough to stop Allasakar."

Duster shrugged. "You don't know Jay Markess, then." Even if this not-Rath had Rath's memories.

"And you do, Duster? You know Jewel Markess?"

"Well enough," said Duster, and without another word she threw herseif in to strike.