Episode 62: "Secundus"

Arthur continued watching the crime lord until the Emperor was out of earshot. "And what ladies have you corrupted now?" He glanced at the two bodyguards, who glared angrily back.

"So we're speaking to me now, are we? Believe it or not, I'm not as evil as you think."

"I don't want to argue about this."

"Then why did you bring it up? Introduce me." This time, it was the criminal who looked around at his opposite number's companions.

Arthur grimaced. "The man known as 'Secundus,' seducer, traitor, criminal, . . . and my former Lieutenant in the Silver Order."

It was Aurora who stepped forward. "I think I see where this is going." Flames flickered around her hands.

The larger bodyguard shifted into a grim-faced defensive stance, moving between Aurora and "Secundus"; the smaller pulled a knife and grinned.

"Aurora," said Arthur, disapprovingly, "we need him alive, for now."

Aurora hesitated before stepping back.

Everyone relaxed.

"Perhaps you should leave now," Arthur advised Secundus.

"Perhaps I should." Secundus waved his advance guard over to his side. "Plan Angel is now in effect. The surface-to-river routes must be clear of all evidence by dawn, magical transport is forbidden, guards are to stand by at surface posts and take immediate action against any enemy agents, and I will see the assassins and Intelligence in the address chamber in half an hour. Go!"

The man ran back into the shadows at the far side of the square, and the crime lord and his entourage followed behind at a brisk pace.

Arthur cursed under his breath and led his team in the opposite direction.