10. Gray Suspicions

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Stupid kid. This is all your fault!

Raith's prediction proved to be accurate.

Forty-five minutes later, both flyers were cuddling the single surviving tent pole, praying that it would hold against the 600 km/hour wind that was trying to blast them off the face of the earth. They had hung the tent fabric over the single pole, and spread it out in a rough pyramid shape, fastening it down at the corners as best they could. Even now, it flapped violently in the wind, to the point that Gray wondered how long it would take for it to break free from its fastenings.

With the cruel wind came the rain, pouring down in sheets. Though their little shelter managed to keep them dry, it could not keep out the noise of the storm. It wasn't the first time Gray had camped out in unpleasant weather. However, never before had he been forced to huddle nearly nose-to-nose with another flyer. At least there was still the tent pole between them.

Raith didn't seem bothered in the slightest. Even when the wind shuddered through the canvas and smacked it against violently against his shoulders, he didn't even blink. He merely pulled out a lightstick and snapped it at each end to activate it. Within seconds, it gave off a gentle yellow glow, illuminating their tiny shelter.

"Now," the Scout said. Even though he had to raise his voice to be heard against the storm raging outside, he still managed to sound composed and dignified. "Shall we discuss what happened earlier?"

Gray scowled instantly. "What happened is that the stupid brat wouldn't even listen!"

A soft sigh came from Raith. Even though the sound of it was lost amidst the storm, it was still evident in the brief shutter of his dark eyes and part of his lips. "While your baby Talon's actions are troubling, I was referring to the timely interruption of the Kairg. They seem to have come to his aid. Wouldn't you agree?"

Those words served as a bucket of cool water to Gray. He'd been ready to go on another verbal rampage. Though he would never admit it, Jett's act of betrayal had affected him far more than he'd ever thought it could. After all, the stupid kid was no longer his responsibility - he'd handed those reins over to Raven long ago.

Raven. Jaw tightening, he stared down at his thighs, where his rested hands twitched. If the black Talon had been here, Gray would have punched that violet-eyed freak in the face with all his strength. If you hadn't gotten yourself killed by the Kairg, none of this would have happened!

"Something bothers me about this entire situation," Raith went on. When Gray looked up and met his gaze mutely, he continued on. "Let's look at the facts that we do know. First," here, he held up the index finger of his left hand. "Due to his ... relationship with the Kairg leader, Raven was sent to try and negotiate some terms. Second -"

Gray had grown still, eyes widening. "How did you know about that?"

"About what?" Raith paused, gazing at Gray without blinking.

"About Raven's - his ..." Gray made a furious gesture. "That's something that only the Council knows about. And the Twelve. No one else was supposed to know - that was the Council's order!"

"You mean the fact that Raven is the offspring of Ra'Skevvor?" Raith's tone was bored, like he was discussing the weather. "Gray, please. Do you not know what the Reconnaissance Guild's main purpose is?"

"You guys are scouts," Gray muttered. "But what does -"

"Very good," Raith interrupted gently. Suddenly, his voice became warm, as if he was praising a small child. "And what do scouts usually do?"

It was about this time that Gray realized that Raith was just toying with him. It was like some of the storm clouds from outside found their new residence within Gray, for his expression darkened. With startling speed, he grabbed the front armor plate of Raith's suit and jerked him forward.

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