58.2 \ 240

Eyes still on the General, Dalib raised a finger to his lips. Derringer seconded the motion. General Claymore followed with the same, showing he copied the message. Keep quiet, now or about the information to be revealed, or both.

It was too weird to be expected, the way a real person shimmered away to reveal a different real person, like a reflection on the water disturbed to show something beneath. Even Derringer, who had half expected it but hadn’t seen the change with his eyes, startled in his chair the way the General did, recovering from the eerieness. Draig returned his finger to his lips and and concentrated on it for another moment.

As soon as they had a hold of themselves and before any surprised questions, Princess Soleil delivered her priority matter of import. “Where is Arkuda?” She knew she was very vulnerable here, that this moment was fragile.

Draig fell into step with her like in the days they played as children. “I miss er a lot.” He waggled his finger from one of them to the other. “More than either of you, I’d bet. My job right now—“ Cutting off his statement, he raised a hand to pause time. Soleil and Derringer let him process the request from behind his raised hand. This went on for a number of measures.

Draig suddenly knew things, one after the other. He would back her up, right now, with everything. Few minds in existence could sway him thus, and he decided to allow it completely. He swept aside his heavy moral greys. He would let her influence him to do what felt right, and seemed difficult. Their arrival at this moment made it simple. He understood everything more, now. He knew that he could find Arkuda, as though it just hadn’t been important or clear until this situation. He knew he could do it using his Viridian Phasing connection. The Princess was asking him to connect her to someone in removal; that determined their course, and his. “I can help you find er. If that’s what you want.”

“Yes,” replied Princess Soleil, in her familiar tone bearing the weight of much consideration.

General Claymore looked at their faces. They looked ready. “Then we have to go somewhere else. Now.” All three of them stood. “I can take us somewhere appropriate. No, not the library,” he said, throwing in the last line to invoke an old in-joke. “I’m going to disappear with you to do this. They will start looking for me.” He turned to look at Derringer. “Do you understand why I cannot pay you now, as the last thing I do before embarking on this course?”

“That payment is for the return of the Princess. But we are not returning the Princess.”

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