In which I recreate my experience reading K. Arsenault Rivera’s The Tiger’s Daughter the only way that seems appropriate: through letters. Some spoilers for the novel.
Shefali. O-Shizuka. We need to talk.
You’re out of control. You run through palace gardens fending off tigers, and camp out on the Silver Steppes grappling with demons around the fire. You’re so convinced that you’ve been touched by the gods because you’ve been able to escape tiger attacks without getting mauled, just some claws to the shoulder.
You dream of patrolling the land—Shefali picking off demons from afar with your bow, or, for the ones that get too close, O-Shizuka slashing them with the sword. The two of you will be beholden to none of the responsibilities of the throne nor of the tribe, free to do nothing but play warrior until you have racked up enough demon kills to actually assume the title.
It’s a lovely dream, but one of you has to grow out of it. You can’t both be warriors.