Chapter 36: Niles

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Niles was getting the feeling Nikolai would rather be left alone right now. Which was certainly understandable. Niles felt bad enough leaving his mom, dad and sister back home in the United States even though, unlike Nikolai's mother, they were all in fine health.

Niles surveyed the other rows on the plane.

Oh, perfect.

The seat across from Ainsley was open.

Not only would switching give Nikolai the peace and quiet he wanted, it gave Niles an excuse to sit with her.

He undid his seatbelt and made his way forward. 

The plane rocked side to side, which was a little worrisome to Niles, who'd never flown before. Part of him felt frightened, of course, but he felt sure that the pilot and Sloan would never let anything happen to them. Because of the turbulence, Niles had to grab the corner of each seat for balance as he walked up the aisle.

"Sorry," he said to Amira as he steadied himself on her chair. She didn't look up from whatever she was reading.

Wally was sitting across the aisle from her, looking bored.

A few more steps and he was at Ainsley's row. He sat down across from her and put on the seat belt. Niles had always heard the seats on airplanes were stiff and cramped, but so far this had been some of the most comfortable furniture he'd ever sat on.

"Comfy chairs, huh?" he said to Ainsley.

"Yeah, they're nice," she said over the steady roar of the engine.

"How cool looking was the outside of this plane though?"

Ainsley shrugged. "I guess. It looked kind of old to me."

Niles recalled photos of antique World War II bombers he'd seen. He had to admit there were some similarities. It was definitely a vintage aircraft. "You think it's so old there's a chance...you know?" He used his hands to mimic a plane crash.

"No, I think we're far too valuable to The Order for them to put us in danger," said Ainsley. "And I don't buy Amira's argument about preserving antiques. It's simple cost cutting. Same as any big corporation. Why buy a new plane when you can merely rearrange the furniture and upgrade the engines on your old one?"

Niles's excitement about the flight was plummeting. "But they helped Sammy, right? Aren't you happy about that?"

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