Loading... Chapter Twenty Eight
Daniel flipped the coin over in his hands. It should be nothing, but he didn't seem able to set it down. "What is," he started to ask, squinting at the coin. They looked like a random collection of letters. "A, N, T, omega sign? N, E—"
"Wait, wait, let me go ask the internet," Charlie said, while pulling off their headset. They moved over to sit at Owen's computer, pulling up a search engine. "Ok, tell me the other letters."
"I, N, O, C."
Charlie repeated the letters back as they hit the corresponding keys. "Um, let's see," they stalled as they scrolled down the first few entries.
Daniel looked up at Lucas, who stood there unnaturally still until the idle animation kicked in. Lucas cracked the knuckles of his left hand, then his right.
"It's an ancient Greek coin," Charlie said. "For Athena."
"Huh." However interesting, it didn't tell him much. When Charlie put on their headgear, Lucas' movements became fluid again. Transitioning without hiccup instead of cycling between animations.
"What are you looking for?" Lucas asked.
Daniel had moved over to his desk, checking on the maps spread out over it. "Amilia," he said. Her little marker was nowhere to be found. Wherever did she go? He would have sworn she'd be back by now.
"You are so smitten, it's bordering on obsessed." Lucas raised his hands surrendering when Daniel shot him a silent threat. "Sorry. Who was she last with?"
Lucas walked around so he could see the map as well. "I don't see him right now either."
Amilia perked up when they made it out to fresh air. She smiled up at the sun like a daisy after days of clouds. But far too soon, that grin wilted. "Could I ask you something? Maybe for a favor?"
Lance had been keeping an eye on the guards patrolling the area. So far, they stayed out of the small courtyard he and Amilia had found. Once he felt sure the guards wouldn't bother them, he pulled himself up to sit on the carved stone banister. "Of course. What's on your mind?"
She leaned back against the stone as well, unable to meet his gaze. The words had to be gathered up within wisps of courage. "If something were to happen, I mean to me. Or if I need to go about something on my own, I need you to promise me that you'll keep Daniel from getting involved. And I won't stand for you doing anything on his behalf, either. I don't think either of us could convince him not to help, so this might be a difficult request. But, if the need ever arises, I know we both want him safe."
Lance's lips parted to object, but now her request seemed to be gushing out.
"You know he'd risk everything, he has before." She glanced towards the ground. "With the lives we lead, there is bound to be trouble, and I couldn't live with myself if something happened to him."
"Amilia, I..." He didn't want to refuse such a favor, but it was a lot to ask to go behind Daniel's back.
"And, you can never tell him I asked you for this. He would never trust either of us again," Amilia added.
"All right." Lance might have caved, but was quick to clarify. "I will keep him safe." It wasn't exactly what she had asked, but it was the most he'd agree to with the limited information. The request was one of a lover begging for protection against the foolish things that lovers did for each other. Being in love could be as dangerous as any blade.
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Bone Diggers (Paperback out now!)Science Fiction
When everyone IRL lies, the only person you can trust is an NPC. Dirty little secrets can't be hidden behind player avatars, because Bone Diggers like Owen expose the lives behind the code. When his two worlds blur, he must decide which is more impo...