Embellish your flaws, he says softly. They will turn into your assets. And if you become one of us, I will teach you to wield them like an assassin wields a knife. His eyes narrow. His subtle smile turns dangerous. So. Tell me, little wolf. Do you want to punish those who have wronged you?

When you’re all alone in a world that hates and fears you, you want to find others like yourself. New friends. Elite friends.

I will keep you, until the day I choose not to. You have destroyed and harmed all that is dear to me. In return, I want you to know what that feels like. I will not kill you. I will keep you alive. I will torture you." My voice drops to a whisper. "Until your soul is dead.

Don't be all night about it, she says. Take turns—or get cozy and shower together, if that's faster.

In this moment, I am a god.

I loved you once.

And just like that, I feel my power rush back over me in a flood of darkness, filling the empty crevices of my heart and mind with its familiar, poisonous comfort.

Brave thoughts, but am I ready to follow through on them?

I've always been interested in exploring the concept of child prodigies. When I was younger, I wrote a story about Mozart as a child, and I just always loved this idea of young people who are able to take control of their lives and bring a whole lot of change at such a young age.

John glances at me. We're not going to make it. Between us, Day has faded into a semiconscious state. If the brothers continue on and I run back to fight the soldiers, I'll probably only take down a few before they overwhelm me. They'll still reach John and Day.

What a joke! Poor little rich girl's fallen in love with the Republic's most famous criminal.

I receive emails from readers that both break my heart and give me a profound sense of connection. Several months ago, I received an email from a teacher who told me that 'Legend' was the first book one of her troubled young students had ever read to the end. He cried when he finished it. Stories like that stay with you forever.

Maybe they weren't a smart match but fate had matched them anyway; and someday in some future perhaps they would be matched again.

Enzo's eyes flick back to me. He does not ask if I will be okay. His silent approval makes me stand taller.

Our hearts fill with terror at the thought of harm coming to our loved ones, don't they? You cannot have love without fear. The two coexist.

Zooming in on it only makes it blurrier.

I exchange a long glance with June. She's okay, she's unharmed. And yet, I'm afraid that she'll disappear if I'm careless enough to look away.

Because Day chose to walk in the light. I turn my back on him for the last time. The door opens; the cell's bars make way for the hall, a new rotation of prison guards, freedom. And so did Metias.

A week passes without contact, and then a month, and soon too much time has passed and calling her would just feel random and weird. So I don't.

She's pretty in a way that distracts me just like she did in the Skiz ring. No, pretty's not the right word. Beautiful.

Hideo wants me off the official games and the hunt. Zero has warned me to stay away. But I've never been good at following instructions. I'm a bounty hunter. And if my bounty's still out there somewhere, I have to finish this.

That's another thing to love about me. I steal.

Already, I'm starting to forget the face of the man I killed.

Someday, someone out there will see you for the girl you really are. Someday, you'll find someone who understands you.

I've had this dream too many times. I don't want it taken away again.

We determine whether a book is for boys or girls long before the reader gets a chance to decide: we package them with soldiers and ballet slippers on their covers, war machines and glittering gowns.

I don't think I've ever heard him laugh before. It's a soothing sound, both tender and unsure, reminiscent of someone who used to laugh more.

But sometimes, you find yourself standing in exactly the right position, wielding exactly the right weapon to hit back.

You think me cruel.

They're making me so weak that I'm on the verge of collapsing to the floor. I've kissed a few boys in the past . . . but Day makes me feel like I've never been kissed before. Like the world has melted away into something unimportant.

Fear motivates, more than love or ambition or joy. Fear is more powerful than anything else in the world.

Maybe she'll fight better this way. Nothing motivates you like being alone and cornered on the streets.

You risked an awful lot for someone you hardly know.' I narrow my eyes. 'THAT doesn't say much about your character. Perhaps you should wait until someone's about to be executed for a mistake YOU made.

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

I certainly don't understand all these strange new feelings inside me--am I here because I love him, or because I owe him?

When had Eden grown up? I feel like I blinked and missed it.

Writing the first draft of a new story is incredibly difficult for me. I will happily do revisions, because once I can see the words on the page, I can go about ripping them up and moving scenes around. A blank page, though? Terrifying. I'm always angsty when I'm working my way through a first draft.

I needed the strange calm, the absence of everything, that it brought.

MY MOTHER THINKS I'M DEAD. Obviously I'm not dead, but it's safer for her to think so.

I always knew, on some level, that I wouldn't live long. It's simply not written in my stars.

So many memories, so much joy and sadness.

Everything about Enzo whispers of danger, of murder in the name of righteousness. I'm desperate to pull away. I ache for more. I tremble uncontrollably, caught in the middle.

Each day means everything's possible again.

I've always had this interest in sibling relationships because I don't have any siblings. I'm completely a product of the one-child policy in China, so I always kind of wished that I had an older brother or a younger brother or sister just to have that bond, so I find myself constantly writing about that relationship.

Every locked door has a key.

Thomas stares at the floor between us with hollow eyes. I loved him, June, he says after a moment. I really did. Everything I did as a soldier, all my hard work and training, was to impress him. His guard is finally down, and I can see the true depth of his torture now.

I found a secret place, he whispers. His hand finds mine under the water, tugging on my wrist. Come with me.

And yet, still.

Without his father's shadow in a way, he's beautiful.