I disconnected from Kelly after only a few more words, mostly about her brother. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that I expected Derek to kill me eventually, but I…
I definitely shouldn’t have mentioned it. Kelly was not only fiercely loyal, but she had the power to be able to fight the man quite effectively. And the nature of that strength would mean that he, in turn, would kill her without hesitation.
Wonderful. It seemed I had just signed the poor girl’s death warrant. And possibly Derek’s too, I suppose, but if she kept underestimating him, he wouldn’t be in too much danger. Small favors.
“Mary Christina?” I called. “Are you there?”
There was only a brief pause before her voice crackled through the wall speakers. “Yeah, sorry, was talking to Lily. What’s up?”
“Call Jarasax, have him keep an eye on Kelly. I fear she might do something stupid soon.”
I could almost hear my assistant raising an eyebrow. “That’s specific. What exactly are you worried about?”
I waved a hand. “It’s not important. She’s just too loyal for her own good, is all, and I don’t want anyone getting hurt.”
“Okay, sure, whatever. Oh, by the way, you know Sax is spying for his ‘Mother,’ right?”
I snorted. “Please. I knew before he did.”
“Just checking. You never mentioned it.”
“I never saw the need. Though, I have to ask why you didn’t mention it either.”
Now it was my turn to raise an eyebrow. “Eh?”
“C’mon, all she wants from him is to make sure we’re following the humane treatment plans she’s set down and all that. It just didn’t seem important.”
“Well, now you’re asking him to be a spy. Kinda. Anyway, it just seemed like a good time to bring it up.”
“I suppose that makes enough sense. Is there anything else?”
“Nope. Call if you need anything else.”
I smiled. “Will do. Say hello to Lily for me.”
She disconnected, and I turned my attention back to the task at hand. Now, what did we know?
The Composer…was a predator. An extremely dangerous predator, but a predator nonetheless. She had proven more than once that she preferred to fight from ambush whenever possible, even though she was to all appearances immortal.
Did that mean that I should keep the Paladins from going off on their own? Probably, but I doubted they’d listen to me.
I turned to my computer, brought up my maps. For now, I’d just try and check to make sure they were all relatively safe.
Akane was with Flynn at NHQ, probably giving him a few fresh new bruises after he misinterpreted something she said to be more flirty than it was. His class would be soon, so she might leave before that. The guards would inform me when she passed the checkpoint.
Adam and Ling were still at the ave lab, interrogating the poor birds. I should really intervene, but I was having a hard time summoning sympathy for the thieves. Besides, they might actually get something useful out of them.
According to a report that was…ten minutes old, Derek and Laura were still in his room, talking strategy. I checked my clock. They’d be leaving for breakfast soon, I expected. Hm, that was odd. The report said one of the Lancasters, the girl, had been spotted around them.
I checked her file. Yes, she had definitely been spending most of her time at Maladomini after she killed the sibriex warlord. It was odd that she’d return to the school dorms after dropping out. There wasn’t any evidence she had made contact with them…maybe she was just stalking around, checking to make sure her friends were okay.
Speaking of the Lancasters, Simon was still at Shendilavri with his girlfriend. I didn’t have too many spies among the succubi, so I couldn’t be sure, but I doubted he was doing anything worrying. He didn’t seem the type to—
Hm. Actually, I had said the same thing about his sister, before she became Nyashk and killed Narek Nhang.
I redirected a couple spies from Acheron to the pit. It would take a while to get any good intel, but if something big was about to happen, I’d hear about it.
Robyn Joan was…location unknown. Of course. She and Mary Christina were practically sisters. Even though they weren’t particularly close, Robyn still valued her privacy, and Mary would be happy to provide it.
Was there anyone else? The retinue were all in their van near AU, Isaac was still working on that damnable heart, Maria and Victor were at home, Lily was at work…
I blinked in surprise.
Was…was everything actually going according to plan? No unexpected enemies popping out of the sewers, no escape pods crashing down from the sky…other than a few minor turf wars, nothing was going wrong?
I set all my spies to high alert. Clearly, if I hadn’t found anything wrong, that just meant there was something really terrible I hadn’t seen yet.
Behind the Scenes (scene 182)
Another short one. This is one of those scenes that works better as a pair though, so it’s okay.