I stood on the front steps, and stared at the Mayor. Every urge in me told me I had to hit her. For being so deviously nice. And going behind our backs to save us and all that.

I hated her.

“You seem like you have had a full day,” she said. The Mayor was…beautiful was the only way to say it. Lightly tanned skin, tall, and with strong features while still being super pretty. Wonder Woman, she was the later Wonder Woman figure. Not that I’d ever tell her.

I folded my arms. “So. Are you going to tell me?”

“Tell you what, dear?”

I sighed. “So you enrolled me and Lana at Blue Wheel. That got the gangs off of our backs. And you must have been the one to get the Reza’s curfew lifted.”

“Well, I was the one that put it on in the first place.”

“But how are you enforcing it on the streets?” I asked. “There are plenty of people who hate us.”

“The same sort of people that despise having a dragonlet roaming the not-so-friendly skies.”

“Why do they care?”

The Mayor folded her hands together, and sighed. “You set yourself up as my nemesis. Stab me, in my own home. And now you come to me so I can spoon feed you answers as if you were…” She trailed off, and chuckled. “Ah, yes.”

Gianna looked out onto the city. “Not admitting to anything, I would imagine that several meetings took place the last few evenings. All above board, between several completely legitimate trading corporations. To discuss the new citizens of Gratitude that have severely cut into profit margins just as they saved the lives of their customer base.”

Gianna nodded to me. “Removing the saviors of a city that very week would be too base, even for some of these characters.”

“Didn’t seem base enough to them to storm our new home and try and kill us.”

She spread her hands out in a what-can-you-do gesture. “Appearances must be made. Or so I have been told.”

I nodded, and looked out. “So, a week. And things start getting serious.”

“A week is plenty of time to settle in. Put up curtains, home repair, consider job offers in public service.”


Gianna smiled. “Of course.”

We watched the sun start its descent for a long while. The Mayor seemed content, happy enough. And didn’t mind me standing there.

This was weird.

“Okay…I’m going to go…”

“Oh! That reminds me!” The Mayor reached under her chair, and pulled out a folder as big as my torso. “This is for you girls.”

I stared at it like it had grown gills. “What is that?”

“Tax forms. Residency papers, citizenship proffers. All to be filled out in triplicate, notarized, and delivered in no less than thirty days, else we shall repossess your building.” The smile on her face was wide, and sickly.

“Paperwork?” I took the stack of papers, feeling sick. “You expect us to do paperwork?”

“If you intend to stay as citizens of Gratitude, then yes. If you are going to reside as legal aliens, the forms are being sent to the Spire. You will need to reapply every year.”

I glared at her. “You waited just to give me this in person.”

Gianna kept smiling, and tapped her bandaged arm. “Welcome to Gratitude. We hope you enjoy your stay.”

copyright 2019 Jack Holder

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