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Ludovico spits blood, holding Sardinia underwater. She got in a few swipes, but he’s got a good grip now; her struggling is weaker. He watches intently. Long red segments erupt from her mouth.

He tears her from the tub and watches the thing stop moving. “Carapace bomb,” he says, “meant for me. Shell like iron. Builds up methane until it blows out your esophagus, and the shrapnel kills anyone nearby…”

“Oh G-God,” she chokes, “I thought you were m-mad because I slept with Francesco but you know I’m sorry–”

“Oh,” he says absently, “right,” and plunges her back in.