Orphic Phantasia

36: The Scrying Game

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Meeray summoned another control panel. “It will take a few moments for a shuttle to arrive,” he said. “It should take us directly to the central tower.”

Chris walked over to the edge of the platform and stuck he head out into the tunnel beyond. “So, what level is this?” he asked. “Judging from the decor, I assume we’re underground now?”

“This is the under-terrace,” Meeray replied, those cold blue eyes of his narrowed with a curious suspicion. “You might call it a basement. It’s where we keep various supplies. It’s also where we house the synthetics and their combatants, as well as other … undesirables.

At this rate, Emily could leave all the scrying to Chris. Meeray’s willingness to talk only belied his arrogance, however. He was confident in his victory. All Emily had to do was wait until he was certain of it. They always dropped their guard at the moment of their greatest triumph. It was like some ingrained, sociopathic tendency.

Meeray was still far from that moment, however. “You know a great deal about our operations here, don’t you … Chris, was it? Might I be so bold as to ask which Terrace you hail from?”

Chris took a step back from the platform’s edge. “Ah, one or the other,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I forget the number. They’re all the same.”

“I would say a slum is far from a paradise,” said Meeray as the shuttle slid into view. “If they were all the same, why, people would never gamble their lives to reach higher.”

The shuttle opened its doors and Meeray stepped aside with a bow. Chris jumped on board, Emily a step behind him. She wanted to reach out and warn him of Meeray’s treachery, to brush her fingers against his skin and send her thoughts into his own, but she had no idea how he would react. Dante, at least, had a history with such things. Chris, a Malkuthian, might have only read about them in research papers, if that, and she couldn’t risk startling him in front of the enemy.

The Sultan’s snivelling underling hopped into the shuttle and accessed its control panel, shifting his body so Chris could not watch him. Emily, however, saw he was simply stating their destination. “It should only take a moment, my lady,” he said, turning his snakish smile on Emily. “Where were you hoping to find your contacts?”

Emily glanced at Chris, giving him permission to elaborate. “They should be in the casino,” he said.

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Originally had some ambiguity as to whether Jonas was planning to push Chris in front of the train or not. File that with all those other “cut for pacing” moments.