The mage sighed. “I didn’t used to be this bad. Since they took Simon, though…I’m just scared, I guess. I don’t want anything to go wrong.”
“Your brother will be safe in my hands.”
“I hope so.”
Seymour smiled at him. “Just keep your head about you and play your part, and you’ll be seeing him alive and well by the end of the week.”
Henry bit his lip and studied the cobblestones passing by beneath his feet. “That’s part of what I’m scared of,” he admitted, kicking absentmindedly at a drift of fallen leaves. “It’s my fault he’s there—or mostly my fault. I don’t know what he thinks of me.”
“What do you think of yourself?”
“Awful. But it was an accident, really. I just…lost control. I was angry, angrier than I’d ever been before.”
“You killed them?”
“I didn’t mean to.” His response was whispered, and he looked to be on the verge of tears. “I didn’t frame him, though. He did that himself, to protect me. He was always protecting me, always thought himself the big brother…I’m sorry. I’m babbling, aren’t I?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Rezyn, I’m pitiful,” he mumbled, sniffling.
“No, you aren’t.”
They paused, having come to the grassy top of the bluff, the abandoned citadel castle looming before them, magnificent and glistening in the evening sun. The wind was strong up here, flattening the long grass to the ground in periodic gusts. Storm clouds waited upon the far away horizon, accumulating ominously, but the sky above was clear and pale yellow. Seymour wandered over to the castle’s marble wall and set his hand upon it, pressing his palm into the cold stone.
Henry followed him over. “You won’t tell anyone, will you? No one else knows I killed them, and I don’t want, you know, people to look at me as if I’m some sort of monster.”
Seymour was silent.
“I honestly don’t know why I even told you.”
“I would have found out eventually,” Seymour said dryly. “I am, after all, a detective, and I already had my suspicions.”
“But you won’t—”
Henry didn’t have time to finish that statement, for Seymour grabbed him roughly by the shoulders and kissed him on the mouth.
He let him go after a brief moment, and the human stumbled backward a few paces, dazed, clearly struggling to comprehend what had just occurred.
“There,” the detective informed him quietly. “I know your secret and you know mine. You keep quiet about mine and I will keep quiet about yours. Do we have a deal, your lordship?”