The boardwalks here were spindly and creaky, with missing planks and shaky railings. Lucienne loved it. Each step she took was careful as she ascended the slope of a crescent-shaped bridge. Fillip squeezed her hand and inched after her. She stopped and took a seat at its peak. Fillip used her shoulder to slowly ease onto the plank beside her, and then he lifted his head and smiled at the scenery. The bridge’s crest was the highest point in the whole city of Helios. From here, the homes looked like clusters of stalagmites clinging to a cave floor and stretching as far as Lucienne could see. When the moon rose, the stars disappeared, and Lucienne stared at the sole light in the immense expanse of sky that seemed now to embrace her and swallow her up. After a while, she lowered her gaze and focused on the furthermost tips of Helios homes. Then she stared beyond them. Far in the distance, she sighted a tiny pinprick of light. It felt impossibly isolated. With a thrill of wonder and envy and admiration, she knew it to be the home of the eastern Sun-Walker. She knew no one who’d ever met him. Most citizens of Helios went their whole lives only knowing someone who knew someone who knew someone who swore they’d seen the Sun-Walker at the marketplace from a distance.
She wondered if he got lonely.