Urgent steps pound the sandstone of Ochre, noise which my ears pick up from beyond the confined classroom. I glance up from my reading of the Kamakura shogunate and sniff, gently. The scent is feline with tones of aftershave and steel…. Corazon.
I shrug to myself. So Corazon is in a hurry. Nothing strange there. Indra clears his throat, a reminder as to what I should be doing. I resume my reading, thinking not of the shogun, but of mortality. Last semester Indra disappeared. At the time I wondered if he had been killed by Gravsten. Turns out the reason was much more mundane; Indra, you see, had cancer.
He survived it but…. but the old Indra he was someone you could confide your secrets to. A guy that looked not much older than us and who just projected health and confidence. This new Indra is gaunt, a scarecrow with pallid skin and sunken eyes.
It makes me think of immortality and the Plan. Anytime now I am going to ask Elena straight-up to join my plan. One way or the other I am going to get her to say yes. That gets me an entry into my soul and someone who might be able to bring me back. But the other option of the plan, the actual stabbing of Linn’s physical body as we duke it out, who am I going to ask for that?
/Are you worried about the morality of the deed or that someone will screw it up?/ Both I think. A second pair of feet pound the stone of Ochre, heavier feet I think. Inhale. Gomagog. Yes, that’s his scent, a scent that reminds me of Dover and rocks and crags.
/For the ‘stabbing’ as you called it, I would choose either Amanda or Nevena./ I don’t ask him why. Amanda, despite her cockiness, possesses a soild core of ruthlessness, and Nevena… Nevena will not shy away, she will always follow her convictions.
“… can’t be!” I frown. That sounded like Perenelle.I focus my hearing in an attempt to overhear the conversation. “I snuck by. It looks like a battefield”, Hermann recites. My consternation increases. What is Hermann doing at Ochre? And what looks like a battefield?
“…Greyscale confirmed it. The smell of wolf, Fenrir we think, and Tam Linn. Neither of them was present at the site…” Their voices move away, tantalizing, just out of reach. I duck my head, having learned from previous mistakes, and pretend to read. An altercation of some kind? /A battle between Fenrir Suneater and Tam Linn would result in widespread destruction. But where?/
I flip a page, the cogs of my brain moving fast. The forest! Where else could they hide? /The forest then. But how did he track Fenrir? I thought he and Amanda had no contact?/ I envision the file I have on Tam Linn. Sight I decide. Linn’s most potent weapon is his eyes. You can’t hide from those eyes. I mean, he could actually see Verde, inside my soul.
My thoughts make a leap of logic. So without knowing where Fenrir was, he probably tailed Amanda. And there he saw something, something that led him to Fenrir… /The question though is what?/ Is the how of it really important? /It is. Because he could use the same method to track you./
In that moment, a phone rings. Signe Revsand makes a strangled, embarassed cry and shuts off her phone. /The phones! He can see the signals!/ That’s… I pause. I was going to say ridiculous, but I can smell people, Hermann has got a sixth sense along that a radar and Greyscale can turn into Godzilla. No phones then.
I spend the rest of the lesson working through those ramifications and then..
…class ends, and 1A spills out of the classroom. I position myself behind Elena./ Are you certain that this is wise?/ Wise? No. Neccessary, yes. The Plan isn’t going to work without her. “Elena”, I call out, softly.
She halts.” Can I talk to you for a second?” I ask, my question aimed at her back that is turned. She twists around and gives me a neutral look. The silence drags out, sentiments are placed on a scale of emotions and weighted. Just as I think that she is going to say no, she inclines her head to the left.
We walk around a corner into a secluded corridor. “I am not sorry” I say. /Rune?!/ “I am sorry that I hurt you. But I will never be sorry keeping a secret might have gotten you killed”, I add. There. I have said it.
Elena stares at me. Then she laughs. What did I say that was funny? /Do not ask me, this is beyond what I know of Elena./ Elena’s laugh tapers off. “Alright. You’re forgiven, although I reserve the right to still carry a grudge against you for this. Had our roles been reversed, I would probably done the same.”
I can feel my spirits rising. This rift between me and Elena has occupied much of my time, and the experience has taught me that she truly is my best friend. So when her fist collides with my sternum, I am surprised, to say the least. That explains the laugh then.
The air is forced out of my stomach and I fall on one knee. “If you ever lie to me like that again, I will dump you in a tub of cement, and leave you there for a month”, she whispers in my left ear. “Gotcha”, I say in a breathless voice.
She offers me a hand. I grab it./ With friends like Elena, I almost feel sorry for your enemies./ “Was there anything else?” I shake my head.
I am not stupid. Asking Elena about my plan right now would be stupid, a misjudgement of social balance and very likely to backfire. That’s the excuse I use to justify myself as I follow her to the next lesson.