The Fallout - 11 | vi

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Anabella stood staring at Ava and Marx. She wasn't sure if she was hearing what they were suggesting. Though Marx's lips moved, she heard nothing pass 'we need you to go into Sven's mind.' Since nothing else he said mattered, she held up a hand to stop him.

"No," Anabella said. It was the sanest answer she could give to their absurd request.

Ava and Marx exchanged looks.

"We need to know what Salvay is planning," Ava tried to reason.

Anabella gave Ava a withering look walking off. She wasn't happy to have the Queen of Shadows among them. One could argue Ava was the catalyst to the catastrophe they were now trying to survive. She knew Ava also blamed herself, and that was the most they agreed with each other. Anabella went to the decanter on the table beside her office desk. She poured herself a glass of water. What she needed was a glass of wine. Of all the things, these two could have suggested linking her mind to Sven's was the most ridiculous. Take on an army, sure. Topple a Government, just another day at the office. Trapeze through the mind of a lunatic—Anabella took another sip of water, "Find some other way. I am not opening my mind to that man."

"If we had another choice, we would not be asking you to do this?" Marx said.

She respected the man. Trusted him and gave leave to his counsel. None of those things added up to her willingness to hang her soul in the balance. "When I enter the mind of anyone I don't just see their memories. I'm not a spectator viewing their thoughts from the sidelines; I take them inside of me. I relive them as if I was there with them. All their emotions. I become them. And those memories never leave me."

In her mind, there were numerous compartments. Tucked inside each were the memories of hundreds of minds. Minds she had absorbed into herself. She could tap into the memories when needed. Otherwise, she kept them blocked. It was the only way to keep her sanity. Sven's mind, she thought, would be like a maze of sharp edges. He was nothing like the others. Taking into account that he was far from being an ordinary werewolf, or a man for that matter, connecting with him could have adverse effects. Anabella had to admit that the idea scared her. The man himself and the lengths he would go to gave her cause for pause. Being in his mind, feeling the things that drove him to those lengths? She would sooner walk over a bed of rusty, hot razor blades.

"Why can't you do it?" Anabella asked of Ava. "You look to be back in full fighting order." Malice tinged her voice. Philippe and Vescovi were the forgiving ones in the trio.

Ava glanced at Marx, her expression saying 'I told you so.' She gave Anabella her answer. "If I went into Sven's mind it would sense me as a threat. Fight back. He could have fail-safes. Who knows with that man."

"Minds fight against me too."

"Conscious minds," Ava said.

"And how do you know his magic won't target me as a threat? I have no defense against that."

"Your intrusion won't be seen as a threat because you have no magic. Trust me."

"Trust you?" Anabella found that laughable. Giving her confidence to the woman who brought war down on their heads, forcing the vampires and werewolves to flee their homelands. Trust was asking for a lot more than Anabella had to give. She opened the cupboard door to the table that had the decanter. It was a wine rack. "What's the worst that could happen?" She popped the cork out of the bottle. "And don't tell me nothing." Her question was for Ava.

"I cannot say for certain."

"Well," Anabella said, raising the bottle to her head, "that's lovely." She took a swig right from the bottle. Not her usual habit but it seemed fitting based on the conversation she was having.

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