Read it here: https://www.wattpad.com/741949616-the-mechanical-crown-sisters
It’s another one of those spoilery titles! I went back and forth on this one, as I doubt most readers will expect a (slight) return of Pienya after the Arc 6 finale. I think the rush of excitement/anticipation at seeing the chapter title is worth it, though – especially for readers who are reading the book ‘live’, week-by-week as I publish new chapters.
Point of view is an interesting one here. I’d initially intended for this to be a Kirya POV chapter, as it’s really about her relationship with Pienya and finding some kind of resolution there. However, I’d just done a Kirya POV chapter and I’ve tended to avoid having a single character lead more than one consecutive chapters. Switching over to Tarn gave it a new and exciting angle, with him observing a close relationship unlike anything he’s experienced in his life; he gets to witness Kirya’s empathy and compassion, even for this person who has done awful things and been a life-long antagonistic force.
There’s also the notion that being inside Kirya’s head in this chapter would simply be too raw, too chaotic and intense. Being one step removed puts us in the position of a sympathetic observer: we want to give her a hug, to help, to support her. That’s a very different response as a reader than we might have if it was from her POV, where the pain would be so much more direct.
We also get the critical moment right at the end, when Kirya wields the rings – passed on from her sister – and stands, clearly taking a position as the leader of the group. Tarn has crazy magic powers, Tranton is a famed explorer who has done many awesome things – but Kirya is the one who will lead them to trying to save the valley.
Functionally, this chapter essentially ‘levels up’ Kirya as we head into the finale. Tarn has those magic powers, Tranton has his sword: now Kirya has the infinite bow. Kirya is not the kind of character who is going to sit this one out, or be a damsel in distress, or some kind of motivation for the male characters. They are all equally capable of inspiring each other.
As for the Pienya-Kirya thing, I couldn’t help but have the Nebula-Gamora relationship from the Guardians of the Galaxy films in the back of my mind. Here, though, there was never going to be some grand rapprochement in which they get to live together and be friends: there’s no getting away from the past, but they can find a way to shift the focus. Pienya doesn’t get to stick around to see what happens next, but this chapter is vital for setting up Kirya’s state of mind for what’s to come.