Orphic Phantasia

36: The Scrying Game

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Meeray’s smile faltered in an instant. “I—I’m not sure that’s a wise choice of meeting place,” he said. “It is rather popular, even at this time of day, and there are ears everywhere. Perhaps it would be best if Lady Jasmine and I remained outside while you bring these contacts to us?”

Emily watched his hands, the way they clasped together as if in prayer, a silent plea for Chris to leave him alone with Emily. She knew that, any moment now, one would slip into his shirt to work that hidden magic. She had to be ready to deflect it.

“It’s okay,” she said. “I can just cloak myself.”

She felt guilty for bringing Dante’s cloak — his memento of his mother — all this way, but she needed its powers. He knew that as well as she did, or else he would have never entrusted her with it. She only wished she could have repaid the favour and entrusted him with details of her plan. I don’t want you to see the real me, she wanted to tell him. It’s not who I want to be.

Mention of the cloak drained the last drop of blood from Meeray’s face. “They would have you thrown out before you took a single step into the palace!” he said. “Better to leave that thing behind. Or, of course—”

“I’m not staying behind,” said Emily. Nor was she abandoning Dante’s cloak. Turning to Chris, she asked, “Is there any way they can tell what this thing does?”

“If they could, it wouldn’t be a very good cloak,” he replied. “Just don’t activate it and you should be okay.”

As the shuttle came to a halt and opened its doors, Emily glanced outside. The station they had arrived at was identical to the last, down to the solitary elevator waiting for Meeray’s authorisation. Once he and Chris had satisfied its automated systems, they stepped inside. Emily noticed a shimmer of sweat across Meeray’s brow.

“Don’t worry,” she said, placing a reassuring hand on his trembling arm, “I’ll protect you, no matter what.”

As will I protect you. It was that voice again, that distant whisper Emily first heard in the White Rabbit, but the moment she cast her senses into the aether to track it down, it was gone, leaving nothing behind but a faint impression, like a vague and indecipherable shadow.

And then, as the elevator doors opened, that shadow seemed to rear out and engulf the world.

Chapter 36 End

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If a cloak can deflect light and electronic signals, it makes sense that it can also send out a false identity to any sensors in the area. This is why you have to keep three eyes open, you see. Everything lies!

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