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The Grey Edge: Chapter Twenty-Nine


‘Sir?’
‘You already know the answer, Magnolia.’
‘Yes sir.’
Any exit that they would have directed Taylor to could have been an execution, a dead end, or another cell. Any exit sign they followed could be leading them the same way. At this point though, any direction was as good as another – there was only the vague hope that the Courts had to adhere to some sort of building code, and provide proper exit signage. The Agency did, but the Agency liked its employees; she wasn’t so sure of how well Magpie wanted to treat the majority of her children.
She kept an eye on each door they passed – waiting for one to open and for a flock of her siblings to exit and attack them.
There had been so many guards that she’d seen on the way there, and surely they knew they were missing by now. It had been five minutes – definitely enough time for a prisoner check to have been performed. It was unprofessional to let prisoners go unsighted for more than five minutes.
Five minutes was more than enough time to enact an escape, or use a suicide pill, should they be inclined to do that – as too many of the Solstice she’d arrested had done.
‘Can you get us out yet?’ He still wasn’t looking at her, and she was glad of it. It meant that he was focused on his work, focused on escape, that he wasn’t being affected by her. That she hadn’t made him weak. She had made him weak.
She had made him weak.
He was in her mother’s Court because of her.
He was chancing trial and execution because of her.
He’d had sex because of her.
Until today, he’d been perfect. He’d been…all about his duty, all about his tasks, his missions, he had no personal life to speak of. He’d had no partners, no hobbies that weren’t work-related, and no pieces of fluff sharing his hard bed.
Until her.
Until she’d been weak enough to admit her feelings, arrogant enough to believe she had the right to push herself on him. She had corrupted him, to his detriment.
He stopped and turned. ‘Yet, Magnolia?’
She tried to fade them out again, felt the pressure building up in her skull again, stopped trying, then shook her head. ‘No, sir, not yet.’
He went right at the next turn – there were far less turns than she expected – not that she had spent much time imagining what her mother’s Court was like – in less content moments, she had imagined fire and brimstone, befitting her mother’s adversarial personality.
Then again, long corridors with no turns made better killing funnels – no escape to the side other than locked rooms left those unlucky enough to be on her mother’s bad side with very little chance of hiding, or of escape.
They were going to escape.
They were going to get back to the Agency.
They were going to go back to normal.
One more kiss. One more fuck if he insisted. Only once more, then back to how they had been. It was better that way. Everything was better that way.
What she wanted didn’t matter. What she wanted wasn’t for the best.
What she wanted wasn’t in the best interest of their duty.
Things were better when they were within expected parameters, and that’s where they needed to be.
He stopped, pushed her against the wall, and shushed her. She went still, and listened. One set of footsteps. Two sets of footsteps. Three sets of footsteps. Five sets of footsteps.
He looked down at her, and nodded.
She returned the nod – five against two, hardly a fair fight. Her siblings were going to be nothing but stains on the wood, and possible sources of more weapons.
He held up three fingers, a countdown. They stayed still – there was no need to announce their presence until they were closer, a few more seconds at the least.
He shushed her again, and gave her a quick kiss.