Home > Veiled (Alex Verus #6)(6)

Veiled (Alex Verus #6)(6)
Benedict Jacka

“Yeah, and it’s going to stay that way,” I said. “Talisid still hasn’t given up on getting me to go spy on Richard as a double agent.”

“Which is frigging insane, by the way,” Variam said.

“No kidding,” I said. Talisid hadn’t tried to sell it to me again, but I knew he hadn’t forgotten about it. “But as long as he thinks he can use us as plants, he’s not going to want us to get any recognition. He wants to stop Richard. Keeping us alive is an optional extra.”

“But that’s going to screw us over, isn’t it?” Luna said. “People are talking about Morden’s new proposal. I see it in my classes. All the Light mages who’ve got an axe to grind with the Dark ones, they’re all coming out of the woodwork. They’re going to be looking for someone to take it out on, and we’re right in the crosshairs. Well, I guess Vari isn’t, but . . .”

“Yeah, it’s not that easy, you know,” Variam said. “Just because I’m a Keeper apprentice doesn’t mean they don’t give me shit over Sagash and Jagadev.”

“They’re still not going to go after you. But they might go after Alex.”

“The Council’s never liked me,” I said. “That’s nothing new.”

“We know Richard’s going to make a move sooner or later, right?” Luna said. “If that happens and the Council are after us as well, we’re going to be totally and utterly screwed.”

“Thanks, Luna, I figured that out already.” I still had no idea how we were ever going to stand up to Richard. He was one of the most feared mages in the country. And the Council was the most powerful faction in the country. The thought of trying to fight either of them was insane. Fighting both at once . . .

“Is there anything we could do to stop that?” Anne said. Anne tends to be the quietest one in our discussions—quiet enough that it’s easy to forget she’s there—but she pays attention.

“Okay, what if we just go public with the whole thing?” Variam said. “We take everything we’ve figured out about Richard and shout it as loud as we can. People’ll listen.”

“We’ll also be painting a giant target on our backs,” I said. “You seriously think Richard and Morden are going to take that lying down?”

“Um,” Anne said. “I don’t really like that plan.”

“Nobody likes that plan,” Luna said.

“I don’t mind a fight,” Variam said.

“That’s because you’re an idiot.”

“Oh, stop being—”

“Guys,” I said. “Not helping.”

“Fine,” Variam said. “You just want to hurt Morden and Richard? We take what we’ve found and leak it anonymously.”

“No,” I said. “First, we haven’t found out anything important enough to make any real impact. Unless we have solid proof that Morden’s working with Richard, it’ll just be another rumour. Second, it won’t stay anonymous for long. They’ll figure out where it came from. And third, it doesn’t actually do anything to make it less likely that we’ll end up fighting both Richard and the Council.”

“It’s not as though Richard can afford to focus on us, either,” Variam said. “His big problems are going to be other Dark mages. They’re not going to be happy taking orders from him.”

I nodded. “But he’s going to get around to us eventually.”

“Okay,” Luna said, “so if we can’t do anything about Richard, what about the Council?”

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