Lorden’s brow furrowed as Percy slipped them through into the servants’ quarters of the castle, of all places.
“This is your big—?”
“Shush,” she said, almost as loudly as he’d spoken.
“This is your big plan,” he muttered. “Back where we started? Need I remind you that Dagger captured you right here.”
Whitney closed the door behind them with an apathetic thump. “Incorrect. Dagger has fled, and his plans are probably miles from us now he thinks us dead. The CTO expects you to be in the middle of the uprising in the city; they won’t expect you to have entered this castle once more.”
Was she holding something back? A peculiar expression crossed her face, but not the kind she wore when she was listening to Devil inside her head.
“Exactly, Whitney,” Percy said. She was guiding them along a narrow corridor with neat, square windows every two metres of so. The floor, although it bore the wheel-marks of many autobots, had been buffed to a sheen all too recently. Somehow, Percy had this uncanny ability to tiptoe along the corridors as if she had no mass whatsoever, whereas Lorden stomped like an entire herd of elephants.
After a minute, she unlocked a room to their right with the swipe-card she’d kept on her person (Lorden didn’t dare imagine where) and ushered them in, a finger glued to her lips, as if she were some matron ready to scold them. Or – Lorden shuddered – Aunt when he’d first asked about his parents.
“I won’t sit around doing nothing,” he said, flopping onto a nearby stool made of cracked light wood. It creaked in protest and he leapt up, wrapping his arms around his torso. It was the safest option not to break anything.
“What do you suggest, Lorden? Flash-bomb every vaguely-CTO-looking outpost in Dartoc-6? Recruit my grandfather from the opposite side of the city? Fat chance.”
He winced, and turned away. Studying the alabaster walls and the rope-twine curtains was a far more interesting pursuit than finding sorrow in Percy’s eyes every time he met them with his own.
“I just think—”
“That you have more information now to strike—?”
“Perhaps an argument is not best at this time, given our current position,” interrupted Whitney.
Yeah, she had a point. What was he doing arguing with a non-magic ally when the rest of his people? Lorden opened his mouth, took a deep breath, closed his mouth, then turned from the wall. The words to apologise for forcing Percy to save Dagger tasted bitter on his tongue and he failed to spit them out. Yet.
“So, we wait? Great, my favourite pastime.” He didn’t see the point in hiding his contempt.
Percy sighed. She perched on the bed and crossed her arms over her chest. “In the meanwhile, let’s try and salvage the remains of the original plan. Whitney, can you get hold of Devil?”
An odd look crossed Whitney’s expression again. Lorden was sure it wasn’t the light or lack thereof in the room. “Negative.”
He tried to ignore the fact that he sensed nothing of Elenia. He tried reaching out to her mind, but he kept hitting this blankness that ached like a pit in his chest. She’d always been the skilled one with mind magic. Typical that now he needed it most, it escaped him.