He did neither. He grabbed her by the shoulder, shoved her to the floor, and left. Alsanit should have chased him, but her legs were too limp. She sat on the tiled floor of the room he rented in a Shred whose name she had already forgotten, shaking and on the edge of tears, and knew her people were doomed.
His tone filled her with a strangeness. Some of it was pleasure at his diffident compliment, some of it was fear, and some more elusive tendril buried in the emotion was something unsettling, like watching a shark drift up out of the depths and vanish again. Sternly she told herself that all of this was normal, and Mother wished her to learn from this creature, who, certainly, above all other things, would be strange! She would not let fear master her.