Missing Link - 5 | i

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Anabella and Philippe stood by the glass wall looking out into the city. They were on the uppermost floor of Pentalum, Vescovi's headquarters. From there they could see the towers of the other four buildings, each the point of their pentagram. Anax, NexTeq, Vancor, Pentalum and Salcom International marked the five corners of Pentorium. The door opened to the office, and Vescovi rushed in with his assistant following him. He looked surprised to see Philippe and Anabella waiting for him.

"Was there a meeting?" He glanced at the woman who came in with him, and she shook her head to the negative adjusting her glasses on her nose.

"Not officially," Anabella said.

Vescovi creased his eyebrows looking from one friend to the next. He dismissed his assistant who closed the door behind her.

"Problems?" Vescovi went to sit in his chair.

Anabella took a seat facing Vescovi while Philippe chose to sit on the sofa, hands spread out along the width of the back. When he placed his foot up on the coffee table, Anabella hissed her back to him, but she was familiar with his habits. He dropped his feet to the floor frowning.

"I take it you haven't been watching the news," Anabella asked Vescovi.

"Not recently, why?"

"Anabella has a human reporter poking holes in her story," Philippe sounded amused. "He believes that more happened at the prison than the media is divulging. Apparently a source gave him some scope."

"The story belongs to all of us," Anabella corrected, "unless you have miraculously transformed into a human?"

"Does this human have a name?"

"Dennis Rhodes," she spat the name with such vehemence Vescovi raised a brow. "Some nondescript journalist from backwater country trying to make his mark in the big city."

Vescovi rested back in his chair as he said, "People have questioned what we've put out there before. Nothing as ever come of it."

"This time is different," Anabella insisted.

"We'll keep an eye on Mr. Rhodes, but our immediate concerns are Salvay and Passerini. Any new developments?"

"Nothing new at the moment. We have been following information the mole gave us, but he was only the messenger. He knew nothing about their plans. The others he identified were the same."

"Salcom International has a significant chunk of our investments," Philippe pointed out.

"Money will not factor into Salvay's scheme. I have investments in several companies and properties, we all do. In addition, Anabella has several offshore accounts. No, money is not a weapon."

"He'll go for our reputations," Anabella said. "He's notorious for that."

"That he is," Vescovi agreed.

"The breaking of our alliance with them will pose a problem for our people. Vancor does our procedures," Philippe ran his hand along his jaw line. "We have been able to keep questions to a minimum because we age as we should. How many different faces have we had over the centuries?"

"Thankfully NexTeq has the patent for the creams we use, at least, we won't get burned in the sun. The surgeries, the other cosmetic applications, they are all Passerini," Anabella added.

Vescovi sighed running his hand over his shaved head. "Aesthetics will have to be put aside for now. We will figure it out."

They continued discussing the possible implications of the feud brewing in Pentorium. In the middle of their discourse, the door to Vescovi's office flew open. Salvay sauntered in followed by guards. The three came to their feet.

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