Smoke and Mirrors
by Rana Eros

I actually finished these just before Yuletide assignments went out, but held onto them in case I should be assigned Tactics. Heh. Betaed by Eliza, who also helped me brainstorm the titles.

Sucker Born

Kantarou is a liar.

Haruka doesn't have to remind himself of this, because Kantarou doesn't let him forget. Kantarou lies blatantly, outrageously, as often as he can get away with it. He's so cheerfully dishonest, which Haruka is learning isn't very common among humans. Among certain types of monsters, yes, and Haruka's eaten his share of those kind.

He can't say the temptation to eat Kantarou has never presented itself. Tengu are notoriously savage, their impatience cause for fear; Kantarou acknowledges his impatience serendipitously, and shows no fear of it at all.

Haruka doesn't think that's a lie.

Behind the Curtain

Kantarou is a liar.

He can name every monster he encounters. He knows the words of binding and unbinding, knows the spells to reveal secrets and hide treasure. He sees the worlds that lie above, below, and beside his own, and he knows the words that open the paths into them. Truth never hides itself from him, and all he has to do is speak it to show the world he's no fraud.

All he has to do is speak it, and lose it.

Kantarou is a liar; he's no traitor. He lies, and every secret he knows stays safe.


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