Chapter Eighteen: The Glass Embassy

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"Tell me about Lord Éven."

The man's name was Lawrence Keele, and he was Horseshoe's director of intelligence. He wasn't young, like so many of the others, and that immediately made him a little impressive, because he had somehow held on to his wits through all the years.

He looked about fifty; in good health and mean spirit. His head was cue-ball bald, his short black beard was flecked with white, and his barrel chest stretched the seams of his suit jacket.

Grace De Souza sat quietly in the corner, poised and perfect in a black-and-grey print wrap dress, but this featureless room was Lawrence Keele's domain, and he filled the space with pugnaciousness.

The room was on the top floor of Lancaster House, an unremarkable concrete building on the north bank of the Thames, across the street from the more elegant government buildings at Somerset House, and just south of the Strand. From the outside, Lancaster House looked like one of any number of government monoliths that pepper the city, and on the inside the building wasn't much different. The carpets were eggshell brown. The walls were tobacco yellow. The desks were divided by grey plastic partitions, and the people behind them looked like the sour-faced office workers you might find anywhere else.

Yet this ordinary block was Horseshoe's London headquarters. This was where magic didn't happen—so of course it looked boring.

Through the window I saw people crossing Waterloo Bridge on their way to work, and none of them had any idea of the wonders and horrors that the people in this building were protecting them from.

"Mr Frazer? Tell me about Lord Éven, if you could," said Keele.

"I told them yesterday," I said. "I don't know much about him."

I'd spent the night in a safe house in the East End, but I had barely slept at all for worry. The room they had put me in was like a prison cell, with grey concrete walls and no windows. There was nowhere for me to hang Éven's crystal, and with no word from him and no update from Horseshoe, I felt hopeless and exhausted, and not the least inclined to answer Keele's sceptical questions.

Keele narrowed his uncharitable eyes.

"When did you first meet him?" he asked.

"At the beach on May Day."

"He saved your life?"

"I think so."

Keele nodded very slowly.

"And why would he do that?"

I shrugged. "Because I'm different, I think. Do you know what they call me?"

"The bulletproof boy? I've heard it. It's crass. How did he know that you're different?"

"Because I was awake. That made me different."

Keele bared his gritted teeth. I think the expression was meant to be a smile.

"What did he say to you at the beach?"

"He told me not to be found," I said. "I suppose so something like this didn't happen."

Keele nodded again. I knew all of this was being recorded so Keele didn't need to take any notes, but I got the sense that he kept his own indelible records in his head, and every word I said was being scrutinised and cross-referenced.

"And when did you see him next?"

This was where I stepped into difficult territory. I had spent a lot of time the past night staring at bare walls and wondering what to say to these questions. Éven had spoken with me twice without Horseshoe's knowledge—once in the moonlight, and once in the mirror. I had to decide if I would lie about it, as Éven had asked me to, or if I would tell the authorities the truth.

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