76

He scrambled to get around the corner as the doorknob to Xitlali’s rooms turned. He shouldn’t have even been listening to their conversation in the first place, but the way Lílrt had looked when he’d returned to the compound had made Xefras’ instincts chitter. And he didn’t want to ignore them, not when they told him that something horrible was coming. So he’d followed the Anointed One to the Mad Qishir’s rooms and pressed his ear against the door, praying the entire time he had done so that no one caught him.

And it was only the sense that he wouldn’t have another chance to gather information that kept him with his back against the wall just out of sight, his heart in his throat, as he tried to calm his breathing enough that he’d be able to hear any last bit of conversation as they came into the hallway. It was a big risk but he’d already taken so many in the last thirty minutes, may as well take one more.

“How many should we send?” Xitlali asked.

“A colony should be enough.” A pause so heavy he could practically hear the way Lílrt was smiling unpleasantly. “Have Iköl send them immediately, Xitlali. I don’t want to give those fuckers more than another five minutes with my brother.”

“As you will,” Xitlali answered and he felt his stomach roil at the words because in all the time he’d been with her, the Mad Qishir had never been that subservient to anyone.

He pushed off the wall and ran down the hallway. He didn’t know what pets the Anointed One was talking about but he did know that he needed to warn Rhyshladlyn. Needed to tell his Qishir that something nasty was being sent to the cabin where at the very least his twin was, where Relyt and Sheieh were. Though what Rhyshladlyn could do about it was anyone’s guess since there was no way either he or his Qishir could reach Nhulynolyn or anyone else outside of the compound. Not without a two-way mirror, not without Rhyshladlyn being able to access the truth of himself and therefore the link he shared with his Otherborn twin.

As he ran down the halls, ducking in and out of the servants’ and slave passageways to cross the distance faster, to get back to the room before Lílrt got there first, he had the absent thought that he could always just sneak out of the compound and be back before anyone noticed he was gone. But that posed a greater risk than what he was willing to take. Because before when he’d done that if he had gotten caught it was only his own life on the line. Now he was too closely tied to Rhyshladlyn, viewed by their betters as two parts to a full unit. And when his actions or lack thereof would net Rhyshladlyn the punishment he was due?

No risk was worth that. The Grey Qishir had suffered enough for other Dhaoine. Xefras flat refused to be added to that list.

Maybe when they got to where they were going next, when they settled at the new location, there would be something he could do? He doubted it, but hope and prayers were all he had right then. For while he wasn’t rendered Imènian-blind like Rhyshladlyn was, he was still restricted. For the wild card of exactly what he was had to be played at the exact right time otherwise he risked getting them both killed before Rhyshladlyn could save anyone, let alone Balance the Worlds again.

“All personnel prepare to evacuate to next location effective immediately. Gather at appointed locations within one hour.” 

As the announcement boomed down the hallways a second time, he finally reached their rooms. He ducked inside, all but slamming the door behind him in his haste and startling the Qishir enough that the male’s arms came up in defensive positions as he sat up in bed, eyes blazing with the battle readiness that was never too far away.

“My Qishir,” he whispered, “your twin is in grave danger.”

Rhyshladlyn relaxed slowly but that look never left his orange-amber eyes. If anything it intensified.

“Tell me everything.”

7 thoughts on “76

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