"We need to move him," Yulevi spoke in a harsh whisper. Jason was sleeping in the next room, exhausted from the jail break and shaky sleep the night before. Rakesh had helped him find appropriate clothing and, after showing him how to properly layer the pieces, the young man had stripped the elven disguise and fallen quite quickly to sleep.
"And just where would you suggest, Yuli?" Rakesh asked. "The Badlands?"
Yuelvi's face flushed red in a mixture of frustration and embarrassment. "Where else, Rakesh?" She made a point of enunciating his name. "We can't risk the security of any safe house in the city, especially Aurok's."
Rakesh sighed, defeated but unwilling to submit.
“You know I’m right, there’s no other option,” Yulevi pressed. “You can’t let a spat between brothers dictate the safety of our operation.”
Yulevi had pulled the trigger, and Rakesh responded with an angry outburst.
“Our operation? Do not drag me into my brother’s business! What he does is hurting the resistance, not helping. I am here because of him, not to help, but to prevent his idiocy from damaging things beyond repair.”
He continued despite Yulevi’s attempts at interjecting.
“You can be assured that if Ronsher had his way, the streets would be running red with the blood of Iron Elves and not a single safe house would remain. The resistance in Auburg would be broken due to his thick headedness.”
When Rakesh finally stopped to breath, Yulevi was able to interrupt his outpouring of contempt. “Regardless of Ronsher’s actions, you must agree that Jason is at risk here in Auburg. If we could send him to your people-“
“And just why is it always ‘my people,’ Yuli?” Rakesh fumed. “For someone who claims to fight for us, you sure like to keep your distance.”
“Rakesh,” she whispered back sternly.
“The Badlands are no place for the boy, no matter how safe he would be in Ironhaven. Send him to Belleverde, with your people,” he stated, eyes narrowed.
Moonlight shone through the expansive windows, the stars twinkled in silence. Some of the illuminated apartment windows outside had gone dim, leaving the buildings like piebald giants standing tall amid the urban forest.
“We could argue this all night, Rakesh, and come to no conclusion,” Yulevi sighed, eyes straying to the window.
“Then let us wait for Aurok’s return,” Rakesh replied flatly. With this he stood, symbolically ending the discussion.
“Sleep well,” Yulevi called after him.
She received no reply as he disappeared into one of the dark rooms.
“Looks like someone is upset,” came a yawn from behind her. Yulevi turned to see Jason framed in the doorway, wearing only a loose pair of white trousers. His shoulders were slumped and his back stooped, certainly not as imposing a figure as Rakesh. With a little work, though...
Yulevi shook the thought from her mind, eyes snapping closed.
“Something wrong?” Jason continued.
“No, Jason,” Yulevi said. “It’s nothing; just a heated discussion between friends.”
Jason nodded silently.
“Did we wake you?” Yulevi asked, advancing to a new subject.
“Maybe,” Jason evaded. “But no worries, this place is better than the dreams I’ve been having lately.”
Silence fell upon them once more. Jason hadn’t moved and was leaning against the door frame while Yulevi continued to stare at the world outside the windows. More lights had fallen to darkness, making the stars and moon appear brighter by comparison.
“The nights are beautiful here,” Jason said.
Without turning to face him, Yulevi replied, “Wait until you see the stars from outside the city.”
“We’re leaving, then?” It was more a statement than a question, a fact that Jason knew but hadn’t confirmed.
“Maybe,” Yulevi said, mimicking Jason’s earlier reply. A smile tugged at her lips. “It’s what Rakesh and I were discussing before you came in, what our next steps would be.”
“We remain at odds. But until a decision is made, Rakesh has agreed to include you in his sparring exercises, teach you how to handle a sword and dagger properly.”
“Really?” Jason’s mouth fell open slightly.
Yulevi made a noise of affirmation, despite the truth of the matter. Rakesh had agreed to nothing, and in fact she hadn’t even broached the subject with him yet. She knew he wouldn’t mind, though: Rakesh had been an odd choice for an intelligence agent, a fact often vocalized by his older brother, Ronsher.
“Huh,” was all Jason could manage to reply.
“You had best go back to sleep,” Yulevi said as she stood. “Rakesh is an early riser, you won’t want to keep him waiting.”
“Right. G’night, then.”
“Sleep well, Jason.”