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Interlude IV: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

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The Binder was, to his own deep frustration, still alive.

Despite his requests, Julia had not yet kept her word to kill him and destroy his book. This was distressing for a number of reasons, but it became much more distressing when she stormed into his room with an enraged look on her face.

“The Binder saw that Julia was unhappy with him-”

And then, to his pain, the Binder was shoved up against the wall.

“Yeah, does The Binder fucking know why?” Julia Wicker snarled at him. Behind her, he saw Penny and Kady. Only, ah. Something different about him. Surely not the Penny he had met before.

“The Binder had a suspicion, but urged Julia to be patient and listen carefully to his explanation-”

“-of why you lied to me? And were hoping to get yourself an easy death before I found out the truth?”

Surely, Julia, given her choice in friends, would understand The Binder's desire to escape the pain of this world as quickly as possible?” The Binder realized, immediately after saying the words, that they had been the wrong ones.

“You're throwing that in my face? How fucking dare you.” She shoved The Binder against the wall again and then let go, backing away. Kady came up and hugged Julia from behind, saying something to her that The Binder couldn't hear.

“Look, we know you lied. So, tell us, how does Julia access her god-spark again?” Penny asked, though The Binder noticed that he stayed off to the side, leaving a clear path between Julia and The Binder, should she wish to fly at him again. “And why did you lie to- to me?”

“The Binder was aware that the Penny speaking to him now was not the original Penny that The Binder had requested make the choice between Julia's humanity and her godhood,” The Binder told him, feeling a touch insulted. “The Binder... was given a message in between his first conversation with Julia and when she was injured by her friends. He was told that Julia's divine potential needed to be suppressed. He was not given exact instructions on how to do this, but when he realized the strength of the feelings that Penny held for Julia, he understood that this was the correct path.” Julia was looking again like she wanted to come over and shove The Binder against the wall, so he added, hastily, “The Binder admitted that this had been a grave error in judgement.”

“Who gave you this message?” Kady asked, but then she shook her head and sighed. “Hades, right?”

“Kady was correct in her assumption,” The Binder told her. “The Binder did not feel as though he could refuse this request.”

“Yeah. There's a lot of that going around,” Julia said, wearily. “So, how do I find my juice again?”

“The Binder stressed that he had only dampened Julia's innate godhood. In order to regrow her spark, she needed to commit to her calling, as she had done when growing it originally.”

“Thanks,” Julia said. And then she and her friends left the room.

The Binder, regrettably, was still alive and suspected that Julia would not be doing anything to change this situation any time soon. He sighed, picked up the book he had been reading when Julia had stormed in, and settled back down.