Dark Game (Merikh Book 1)
knight pondered what they were saying, trying to see where they might land next. They’d examined every person in Fairbridge City, looking for something they couldn’t see. This was how they could track DeLacy’s assassins, and the few others who had been provided some level of protection from scrutiny: they could watch them through the eyes of others, observing their actions in a way they otherwise couldn’t without breaking ancient covenants.
    And they hadn’t seen anything surprising or revelatory in their search. They hadn’t spotted the obvious.
    The knight forced his mind to blank, to the stillness and emptiness of a winter graveyard. He’d thought too much. Ahn would know, if he wasn’t more careful.
    “Who can hide from us?” Ehl said, skipping back to the pool. Blood was oozing from the girl’s nose. “DeLacy and his lot. Our children, to an extent. The boy, now. Who else, I wonder?”
    “It won’t be them.” Ahn’s words brooked no dissent.
    “Not him, certainly. He’s lost his mind. But her…that’s another story entirely.”
    “They aren’t involved.” Ahn was losing its patience, and Ehl knew it. The knight could see what it was doing, the interplay they were having, but Ahn remained oblivious. It simply believed Ehl to be an idiot.
    “Fine, then we deconstruct our children and see what they’re up to.” Ehl sat on the edge of the pool and hung the girl’s legs over the edge. She wasn’t tall enough for her feet to touch the bottom.
    “And will you allow me to deconstruct yours?”
    Ehl giggled again, but there was a wetness to it now, a hint of the damage it was causing beneath the surface. “You don’t trust me?”
    “Should I?”
    “I have nothing to do with this,” Ehl said. It straightened the girls dress. “I don’t think it would be fair, though. I have nine children now, and you only have seven. I’d be allowing more access than you would be.”
    “So we will examine our own children and swear that we find nothing, in the hope of discovering an advantage.” Ahn seemed tired in that moment, as though the endless back and forth was finally, after an eternity, wearing him down.
    “I will make a deal,” Ehl said. The girl’s body rose into the air from her position seated on the edge of the pool, hanging above the stone floor for a moment before Ehl set her down again. There was a tremor in her limbs now. “Allow me to deconstruct your knight as well as your children, and we shall call it even.”
    The knight stepped back involuntarily, as though he could run away from the idea. Forget keeping his meager secrets from discovery; if he were handed to Ehl there’d be nothing left of him afterward. Even millennia later, the knight had as little wish to die as he’d had back when he’d been part of a history that no longer existed.
    “He is mine. Besides, he won’t survive.”
    “Nobody survives,” Ehl said, wiping bloody spit from the girl’s chin. “In the end, they’re all dead.”
    “Not by your hand.” Ahn dropped into the pool, forgoing the stairs and levitating as Ehl had done. “This host is done, and we have a hint of a plan. It’s time to move on.”
    “Agreed. I will see if any of mine are involved, and if they are how they managed it. I would be surprised, but I can see how it could be done.”
    “As can I.”
    Ehl jumped down into the pool to stand beside Ahn. The knight knew what was coming next and wanted desperately to get away from the scene, but he spoke up anyway.
    “Can you leave her alive?” he said.
    “Your monkey speaks to me,” Ehl said, for the first time bothering to look his way. “I find it irritating when it is silent.”
    “The girl,” the knight said. “She doesn’t need to die. You can fix her and leave her hale. She is but young.”
    “And the predator she was strolling with?” Ehl replied, glancing up at Ahn’s host and confirming what the knight had only suspected. “Would you have your master leave him alive,

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