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"I don't understand it," I told the Sin as we approached the backside of IMOR Advances from one of the many underused alleyways. The rain continued to pour and promised to not relent until Verweald was drowned by its onslaught. "Envy cannot possibly be the Klau Killer. He knows Amoroth is the CEO, so why would he be threatening her? Isn't this exactly what you were thrown into the Pit for? Interfering with another's contract?"

"My circumstances weren't exactly the same, Sara...." Darius drawled as we came upon the back door. It was predictably locked, but Darius wrenched the knob free and the door swung outward with little complaint. The knob landed on the pavement with a loud clunk. "I admit, his behavior is odd and I have not seen him do something like this before, but Balthier has not hesitated to kill several Sins in the past—two of whom were Originals."

The narrow hall flanking IMOR's rear conference rooms was quiet and musty from the storm's latent humidity. When the door shut, we were sealed inside with the dark and the steady drumbeat of rain striking the asphalt outside became muffled. I heard nothing coming from the building itself—not a word, not a breath. Not a click of a fan left whirring in an office or the flutter of papers disturbed in the air-conditioning. Nothing.

Darius lifted his arm so his palm faced the length of plastered soffits above us. He shut his eyes in concentration, and the air surrounding him began to shimmer with currents of scalding and freezing air. The currents worked each other into a frenzy of motion. The Sin threw the resulting kinetic energy toward the ceiling—and one by one, I heard the lobby's cameras explode in showers of sparks and metal.

"They keep their personnel records on the second floor in the HR department," I muttered, pointing out the way to the stairs for the Sin. Together we moved along the quiet hall, our footsteps echoing upon the slick floor. I held my anxious breath, certain that after the next corner or step, Balthier would suddenly burst from the Realm and I would be dead.

"Relax," Darius said as he prodded the spot between my shoulder blades. "I would know if he was near. We can sense one another moving in and out of the Realm if we are close enough."

His words didn't assuage my nerves. If Darius did sense Balthier coming nearer, what would we be able to do to protect ourselves? Run? Run where?

We ascended the desolate stairwell to the service hallway on the second floor. From there, we crept to the records room I knew mirrored the archive joined to the lobby. I used to have pull and sort papers there on a daily basis while working here.

The windowless room was hot from lack of air circulation and the scent of freshly printed paper was thick in my nose. "Over here," I whispered to Darius as I hurried to the far wall of heavy filing cabinets. Instead of turning on the lights, I found my phone in my pocket and enabled the flashlight app. I handed it to Darius to hold as I began opening the drawers. "It'll be in here...."

Unlike the person who had left the slipshod clutter in the archive below, whoever had filed the HR documentation had done a marvelous job. I found the section for "G" in under a minute, and had my employee file in hand seconds after that. Darius snatched it from me without a word. The file went up in a puff of acrid smoke and embers.

The door's hinges creaked as it was shoved aside. My heart leaped into my throat as I expected Balthier to begin cackling—but it was not Balthier silhouetted on the threshold. It was Gregor Eoul.

"It seems you've escaped Envy," Eoul sighed as he revealed a black M9 Beretta pistol from the pocket of his suit. "Mind, I was against sending him after you in the first place—God forbid he recognized you from the warehouse, but the others were understandably shaken after your stunt with the witch." Eoul raised his arm as his stubby finger put pressure upon the trigger. "I recommended an easier solution."

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