Courtesy: Part 65

“Right,” Amy said. “They’re going to set something up for the end of the week. I asked why it couldn’t be sooner and it’s what you’d think. They all live in fear of Magnus. They don’t want it to be obvious that they’re going anywhere and don’t want it to be obvious that they returned. It takes time to set it all up.”

“Huh,” I remembered how far Ruthie Shaw had been from anywhere. “I knew they were on the run, but it makes me wonder how much of a risk it is to get them together.”

Amy met my eyes, “One that they’re willing to take because they’re afraid that not doing it will be worse.”

I stepped out of the Rocket suit, leaving me in a grey flight suit that reformed into jeans and a t-shirt. Having a conversation where one of us was in civilian clothes felt weird.

Then I asked, “Did they give us any limits on who could come to the meeting?”

She shook her head, “I’m sure they don’t want very many, but I think we should take people with a chance of beating Cabal soldiers and Dominators in case their precautions aren’t good enough.”

“Yeah,” I looked past her toward the door, hoping we had a private conversation. “I’m thinking you, Jaclyn, Daniel, Cassie, Haley, and me. That’ll be flexible and hopefully not too many people.”

Amy shrugged, “I can ask them, but don’t assume anything. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but wizards can be… flaky and irrational.”

I raised an eyebrow.

Her mouth quirked, “I’m not a wizard. I’m royalty with an extra helping of ‘ancestral guardian of the realm’. It’s not the same.”

“Sure,” I said, “I’m no expert on either one. I’ll believe anything you say.”

“Good,” she smiled, “you should. Now I’m going to go and talk with more flaky and irrational people.”

With that she walked out the door, leaving me alone in the room. I could hear people talking in the main room—mostly Cassie and Vaughn. They tended to be the loudest, but Camille gave them a run for their money. She might not be louder, but she wasn’t quiet and managed to fit a lot of words in.

I wasn’t quite ready to go out. After the fighting, even with the Rocket suit doing the physical work, I still felt sore. Not all of it was physical either. I’d used some of the techniques Kee had taught me. That left me metaphysically sore. I didn’t quite have words for it. I felt frayed. The nearest thing I could think of was maybe being hungover, but I didn’t have a headache.

I could think, but I didn’t quite feel all there.

What a massive detour the last few days had been. We’d started with a plan to get in touch with Magnus’ rivals in the Cabal and see if we could get them to help us find him and maybe the machine that Lee had hidden on or around Earth. We’d succeeded on that, sort of. At least we’d gotten in touch with Ruthie Shaw and she seemed to have decided we were worth trusting.

It would have been simpler if we’d been able to talk to Lee, but he didn’t seem to be available—which was disquieting. It either meant that something big was going down, or it meant that someone had captured or killed him.

On a gut level, the second one seemed unlikely given that the world still existed, but it might not be that simple.

Stifling a moment of panic, I reminded myself that I couldn’t assume anything without evidence and that he might predate our universe. He’d kept himself alive and free that whole time without me.

I decided to go online and check prices on equipment and materials for my lab. It didn’t fix anything, but I bookmarked a few items for later—whenever they felt comfortable shipping to Grand Lake.

I also checked CNN and a few other news sites. All of them were covering Grand Lake. From what I could see, we appeared to be fantastically competent—more competent than I felt at the time.

It didn’t hurt that the only footage they got came from our social media people.

If no one else, they were fantastically competent.

I sank into reading the articles and more than 30 minutes passed without being aware of anything else.

Rachel’s voice pulled me out of it, “Reading your own good press? That’s a dangerous rabbit hole to go down.”

She stood there looking like she always had, but not quite if you had eyes to see it. She wore a white, form-fitting uniform with a pistol on her right hip. A white mask hid most of her face, but not her short, dark hair.

What normal people couldn’t see was a shimmer of power around her, visible to me even without trying. I wondered what she saw in me.

As I turned to look at her, she landed on the ground, solidifying, the power dimming. She squeezed my shoulder, “What happened out there?”

It was hard to know where to start. With Hunter releasing the spores to fight us? With Major Justice complaining about the damage we’d caused while fighting the Nine?

She’d been away for months. I started with, “It’s a long story. I don’t know if you want to hear it from the beginning. The short version is that we’ve been fighting the Nine and you know how Hunter creates creatures? They got out of control. That’s what caused the most destruction, but I should tell you something first. Travis—”

There I stopped—not because of nervousness, but because I felt something and because Rachel interrupted me.

“There’s some kind of hum. I don’t hear it. I feel it. Do you?”

She met my eyes, “You do, right?”

“Yeah,” I felt it through whatever sore, aching, metaphysical part I’d been trying to ignore.

My Xiniti implant said, “Artificer energies. Most associated with newly activated Artificer creations.”

8 thoughts on “Courtesy: Part 65”

  1. As much as that update feels like a cliffhanger, it’s actually an ending. The current book ends there. The next (and last) starts on Monday. It’ll have a new title and everything. It’ll also start with the original League–not for too long, but they’ll appear.

    Top Web Fiction

  2. “I’m thinking you, Jaclyn, Daniel, Cassie, Haley, and me. ”

    Alright, OG League Heirs plus Amy! Looking forward to a slimmed down cast of protagonists, and seeing the growth of the “main” characters.

  3. Wait, wtf.

    I caught up?

    I’ve gotten so used to the

    do {
    } while true;

    loop, that not finding the next page under the chapter caused a rather demanding JIT cache miss… Like, 10 seconds of confusion and clicking back and forth, until I noticed the date.

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