chapter 14

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The door of the holding room squeaked as it opened, waking Beika. She immediately sat up and placed her hands in front of her in a defensive stance, as she saw Soji enter. 



“S-s-stay away from Lan! No one’s going to kill him, not if I can help it. You’ll have to go through me first!” 



“Master Beika!” he grinned innocently. 



“Don’t you ‘Master Beika’ me!” she kept her hands before her. 



“His trance codes are dormant for now, you crazy healer,” Marceau sighed as she entered the holding room as well. The door closed behind her. 



“Are you sure, Marceau? He’s truly, truly, alright now? The shocks did nothing to him? He’s alright?” 



“Yes, he’s fine,” Marceau answered wearily, rather absently. She dragged her feet to a far corner of the room and sat on the floor. 



“Oh. If you say so.” Still, Beika was cautious as she waved at him. 



Soji bowed to her. “This, where?” 



“I told you,” Marceau answered from the corner. “This is the guardpost at the gate to the capital. You’ve been found out. We’ve been found out.” 



Beika looked at Marceau for quite a while, then her eyes grew wide. “Oh, no.” 



“What? I not understand,” he said. 



“My life is over,” Marceau sunk her head and said no more. 



“What happen?” Soji turned his head, alternately looked at Beika and Marceau. “What happen?” 



Beika looked at Marceau, whose curls fell in torrents and hid her face. She looked at Soji again, carefully stared at his eyes. She turned and watched Lan for a while, still fast asleep. 



Soji came up to where Beika was seated. Beika instinctively scooted away, keeping her distance from him. She placed herself in front of Lan. Soji stepped up to her. She moved farther away from him and kept herself beside Lan. Her breath became deeper and faster. 



“Please, Master Beika. Please.” 



Beika held a hand in front of her, keeping him at arm’s length. “Soji, I like you, but you scare me!” 



“Scare you?” He looked at her in confusion. “Why?” 



“You chased us! You chased Melancho! You wanted to kill him!” 



“No, Master Beika, no!” He shook his head furiously. “I not do that!” 



“You just did!” 



“I not know!” 



“That’s another scary thing about you! You don’t know!” 



“Tell, Master Beika!” 



“Tell you what?” 



“What I not know!” 



“I don’t know what you know and what you don’t know, Soji! It’s Marceau who could get that out of you, not me!” Beika felt the teardrops on both edges of her eyes being squeezed out. 



Soji raised a hand and caught his breath. “Master Beika. I sorry. I not know what, but sorry. Please?” 



“You’re bound to go after him again! You’re going to try to kill Melancho again!” 



“No!” 



Marceau spoke from her corner. “Loner firespark Melancho is the Crimson Master. The Selati is tranced to kill the Crimson Master. The assassin did his job the first time with Corespasa, and he’s tranced to do it again, now there’s a new Crimson Master. Simple enough for both of you?” 



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