The Evil League of Evil
Is watching, so beware
Ofir glanced around at the assembled group and swallowed the lump in his throat. Ardell regarded him with casual disinterest, but he knew how quickly the gleam in that lazy tiger's eye could turn predatory. Beside him, Uberto fidgeted; he at least seemed nearly as uncomfortable with the assemblage as Ofir himself. Acacia and Allyse shared a knowing look and smirk, but remained silent, proud statues. Agatha sat in a chair, inspecting her newly polished nails; they looked delicate, even pretty, but he knew their power. Rozen's power was nothing so subtle, and he hulked in the back of the room, arms folded over his chest. Ib sat sullenly; he'd been a bit out of sorts, with Callista on vacation. It'd been years since he was without her this long, Ofir realized. Lastly, his gaze fell on Ty. Always a puzzle, that one; the freak went from boisterous to melancholy at the drop of a hat, and now was totally unreadable.
"Well?" Agatha broke the silence, with that tone of voice he remembered well, as sharp as her claws.
"Right," Ofir said, clearing his throat. "I suppose you're all wondering why I've called you here."
"Cut the melodrama," Rozen suggested in a low rumble.
"Yes, okay. I've been noticing something disturbing lately. The Fifth Cohort seem to be organizing."
"Organizing?" Ib laughed. "They couldn't organize their way out of a paper bag."
"So we'd think," Ofir nodded. "But Jamian..." All eyes went to Ty as he paused for a moment. "...has been seen on numerous occasions skulking about to collaborate with our Kept. And I don't think he's the only one."
Ty raised an eyebrow, smirking. "'Collaborate?' Jaya might be cy'Linden but she's not that cy'Linden."
A round of general snickering went up from the others.
"That's what I thought at first too," Ofir nodded. "But, I don't think so now. He's discussing something with them, something secret. I think that girl he's palling around with lately is part of it, too."
"Kailani?" Agatha dismissed that thought with a flick of her fingers. "I dealt with that meddling little nuisance."
"She's tougher than you'd think," Rozen put in. "If she's involved, this might actually be something."
"The girl does seem to have some modicum of potential," Acacia agreed.
"Puh-lease." Agatha rolled her eyes. "It didn't take me any effort at all to get her under Tolly. The only potential she has is as a breeding factory, which I'm sure our esteemed Director will love."
"The world had best hope the child gets his brains and temperament and her physical stature and prowess, rather than the other way around," Allyse said quietly in the background.
"Nonetheless," Ofir said. "This could be an alarming trend. We've already seen other Fifths try to stand up to us..."
"You mean when that dumb jock kicked your ass in the dining hall?" Ardell interrupted. Ofir's hackles rose, but he continued. He couldn't afford to make enemies of these people; no one could. That was the point.
"...and we need to take action, if we're going to maintain the status quo. I don't think any of us want to see a general uprising, something that might make the administration do something drastic like take our pets away, yes?"
"Take your pet away, maybe," Allyse purred. "I've got nothing to worry about."
"Nor I." Agatha smiled sweetly at him. "You of all people should know that, Ofie."
Ib leaned forward, finally speaking. "The kid may have a point, Aggie. The last thing we want is for someone to be rocking the boat this late in the game. We may want to identify these people and... deal with them."
"Deal with them?" Ty's voice hadn't gotten any less lazy, but now it had steel behind it. "We are still talking about my Kept, aren't we?"
"And thus we'd trust you to handle that," Ofir hastened to add. "But it may need dealing with. I can get more information from Kendra when she returns. In the meantime, we can interview the other Kept on the matter."
"I'll talk to Jamian," Ty agreed. "But I really think you're blowing a little basic friendliness out of proportion."
"I truly hope so, Ty. If I'm not, though, we all need to be on our guard."
"The rest of you, watch out for your own, and see if there's anything to this," Acacia said as they all began to move, preparing to leave. "As for Kailani... leave her to me," she purred. "I've got her right where I want her."
Copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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