“I can’t just run away,” he said at last. “The wytchen lord wants to take my people as slaves, and as long as I draw breath, I can’t abandon them to that fate.”

“What difference would one blade make?” she asked him. “Could your people not stand without you?”

He blinked, startled. “Are you saying you want me to come with you?”

She looked away again. In the dim light, it looked like she was blushing, but it was hard to be certain. “I merely wonder what you could contribute, in your wounded state. Would it not be safer to accompany Aspar and I?”

“Safer, perhaps,” he said. “But not honorable.”

“Is honor worth spending the second chance at life that I have given you?” He wasn’t sure whether she was angry with him; her voice turned hard, unyielding, and he nearly flinched away.

For a moment, her question forced him to think. Was his honor really worth his life? If going back and standing with his people meant that he would die—or worse, be subjugated to the wytchen lord and forever a slave—was that worth knowing that he could have escaped and lived somewhere else, away from all of it?

“Yes,” he said finally. “It is.”

She looked down at him with a strange expression on her face—almost entirely impassive, but there was just a hint of embarrassment, or something akin to it, in her eyes. “Then it appears that I saved the right life.”