“Only six hours?” Seymour exclaimed, frustrated. “You couldn’t have asked for twenty-four?”
Alasdair MacQuarrie shrugged, twisting and untwisting his sheet around his hand. “It’ll be five and a half by now, if not less.”
The Aechyed exhaled through his teeth and looked to the ceiling. “I need more time than that to come up with a decent plan. I’m a detective, not a bloody general!”
“Well, that’s what you have to work with. Use anything you must, just make sure that bastard is out of the picture before the time limit.”
Seymour sat down heavily in the chair beside the bed. “If I fail?”
“Then I must follow through with the bargain. And while I would hate to lose Seoc, I couldn’t bear to lose Mia. You must understand, Seymour.”
The Aechyed let his gaze wander to the far end of the infirmary, where Seoc and Mialina stood conversing by the windows, out of earshot. His eyes stung, and he swallowed the painful lump that was rising in his throat. “Yes,” he replied, and his voice betrayed him. “I understand.”
The Alt-Mage studied him, not entirely sure how to react. “I’m sorry, Seymour. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Seymour snapped, turning his head so that the mage couldn’t see his face.
“You like him, don’t you?”
Seymour did not reply. Instead, he stood up and stalked out of the infirmary, the wooden soles of his boots clicking on the flagstone floor in the unmistakable rhythm of subdued fury. His footsteps spoke for him.
Yes, they said. How could you do this to me?