(5-1) The fiercest fight

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Nursery Tower was one of the greatest of the City's marvels.

From where Samuel stood on the station platform, every other floor of the tower looked as if it had been gutted. Through each level, Samuel could see the sky, or other towers, and even a wisp of low lying cloud just as it was pulled apart by the air currents around the Spire.

But the most startling thing about Nursery Tower was the other colour Samuel could see in those hollowed out floors.


Vines trailed off the edges of the balconies. Bushes and small trees seemed to reach up as to climb the windows on the next floor, and from the distance Samuel looked from, the tower was so vividly, vibrantly green it threatened to bring tears to his eyes.

"Inspector!" someone shouted from further down the platform. Samuel turned his head to see Angela and Bertram make their way through the crowd.

Samuel smiled in relief, seeing his partner again.

"You learn anything from the father, Ang?"

"No. That ash-bitten prick gave me nothing but excuses and platitudes. Hasn't seen his son in months, doesn't know a thing about the boy's life, unwelcome in his home, so on and so forth to ad-burning-nausea," Angela explained, her voice surprisingly bitter.

Samuel knew the reason behind her anger, even if Angela would never voice it. Failure cut at his partner deeper than it did for most.

"Well, the mother was surprisingly helpful," Samuel said, as he explained what he and learned from his recent interview.

"So there's more than one reject who's gotten sick? And this one died?" Angela asked.

"One sick, one dead. And we're not even a full day into this investigation," Samuel reflected. He turned to Bertram and asked, "have you ever heard of anything that could make a reject sick?"

"No. Especially not something that seems to hit just rejects," Bertram admitted, shrugging in confusion. "Burn me, I would have laughed at anyone making the suggestion."

"The reject that died, Francis Pilchner," Angela began to say. "Does he work for Research?"

Samuel looked to Bertram and was surprised to see the shadow nodding in the affirmative. When their companion saw Samuel's surprise, he waved his hand and chuckled. "I know the shadow who had Francis as an assignment. I'll ask her to meet us later today, see what she can tell us."

"Alright. So, I guess our next step is to head to the Foundry and speak to Amanda Destir, see what we can learn from her," Samuel said, pointing at the platform behind him.

"Wait, we're not here to check our quarry's family residence?" Bertram asked.

Bertram looked as if he had never learned that fire burns, as he glanced from Samuel to Angela. It took only a heartbeat for the shadow's incredulity to shift to indignation, as he pointed back toward Nursery Tower.

"Members of Parliament are given residences there, you said so," Bertram said, his finger wagging towards the tower for emphasis. "Their home is spitting distance from us, and you're just going to walk away?"

Samuel laughed and looked at Angela. "With permission from what judge?" Samuel asked. "It would take days to convince a Justice of the Peace to let me into her home on the evidence we have."

"It's a good thing you're doing this on behalf of Oversight, then," Bertram said as he drew his knife. He held the obsidian pommel up, where it glinted with both the light of the sun and the Spire. "This is all the authority I need."

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