The Underground

"It's probably just a mood." Derrick shrugged off Gwendolyn's temper tantrum as one would shrug off a piece of candy dropped on the ground. "Kiandra is the same way. The healers say that it's from the strain on the body of a child growing. She'll see the logic in it once she calms down. You two," he looked from Thomas to Paul. "really should catch up on what we've learned. And you," he glared at Gavin.

"What?" Gavin asked, nochalant. "You have a problem with my not going?"

"I don't have a problem with your lack of enthusiasm. But you're going, if I have to court-martial you into it. Now catch up on the prophecies with the other two. If I hear about you pulling another escape stunt, then I will give three of the highest ranking guardians I can find, along with Alexander Kahner, permissi0n to hold you in a cell with magical restraints that I will personally place on you until you decide to cooperate! You're going to want to remember who you're up against this time-"

"Don't think I can't escape!" Gavin snapped.

"-because Manipulation magic is almost as powerful as Command. With my help, Alex and those guards will have no trouble persauding you to work with us." Derrick ignored Gavin's protests. "Now if you don't mind, I have better things to do right now then find you some babysitters! Roland, get somebody to supervise him. I'll take the usual squad with me to visit the bosses."

"You got it." Roland replied, discouraged. "Although, Derrick, you really shouldn't make threats like that. It won't help people get used to you being the Magister's. . ."

"You think I didn't mean what I said to him?" Derrick demanded as he stepped outside the door, turning back to look once more at Gavin. "Power does bad things to the wrong people. No idiot wants to learn that the hard way. Keep him in the palace until we can meet again, Roland." he added

". . .advocate." Roland finished quietly.

"Who are the bosses?" Gavin started for the door with the intention of disregarding Derrick's threat.

"Not so fast." Soren placed a firm hand on his shoulder. "I'll be watching you myself until Lord Pelastor needs me. Sit down and read, and I won't say a word to Derrick."

"What power does he have?" Gavin scoffed.

"The power he was given by the rulers of the kingdom. Haven't you heard of the Magister's Advocate, Lord Keane?"

Gavin blinked in surprise. "Isn't Lord Keane some sort of nearly-dead weakling?"

Soren shook his head. "This is the new Lord Keane, and he will do exactly what he said he would do to you if you don't listen."


Derrick strided down the corridor, calling for his horse, and a squad of second-level guardians once he reached the gate.  

"What will we be dealing with this time, Wickson?" Derrick asked as his informer came up to him.

"My lord. There's been some sort of uproar recently." Daedus Wickson replied. "I don't know how the bosses managed to keep it quiet up until now, but they want to see you."

"All of them?" Derrick exclaimed. All five of the underground bosses at once wanted to meet him?

"Yessir. They came to me personally, said they knew I had been watching them and they wanted me to tell you that they're waiting in a room at the Sitting Duck for you. Do you know the way, sir? Or would you like me to serve as a guide?"

Derrick shook his head. "I know the place. I'll take three of the men and go there. Don't want to scare them." he grinned. "But they'll need horses as well if we're going to reach the place in time."

"My lord." Wickson stepped away, ordering a nearby page to get three more horses.

Derrick took a deep breath, then pointed in succession to three members of the squad of twelve. "Midius, Ryan and Saelim, you're coming with me. The rest of you can do whatever you usually do in the evening."

"Sir!" the squad answered as one, saluted him and dismissed themselves. The three Derrick had chosen came up, and he quickly explained to him what the task was. They would wait outside the room for him unless he indicated otherwise or they thought he was in trouble.

Once Midius, Ryan and Saelim understood, Derrick took off on his horse with them following behind.


"Remember what I said about staying outside the room." Derrick whispered to Midius, who nodded quickly and placed one hand on his sword, his mouth twisted in a half-smile.

"We will be a paragon of discretion, sir." he replied. Ryan and Saelim nodded in agreement.

"Good. You can get some dinner one at a time if you want.  Just tell the inkeeper I'll pay him for it later."

"At your will, sir." the three soldiers replied.

Derrick gave the three soldiers a brief, grateful smile before opening the door in front of him and stepping in.

He had met each of the bosses at one time or another, but rarely had he seen more then three of them in the same room. Now they were all gathered in the same room, staring at him in what seemed to be an anxious manner.

Jada and Delta Typhaeus. Amos Whyte. Brock Strike and the mysterious Artorius all in one room.

Derrick almost felt speechless, but felt his Magister upbringing overtake his silence in a manner of seconds. It didn't matter whether he felt comfortable or not as he said,

"Well, I'm surprised. But what do you all think you're doing, calling me here when I should be having dinner with my wife? Do you think I can just come over here at your bidding anytime? What's so important?" he asked, chuckling as if he really were a spoiled, rich boy.


The End

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