Book 2, Chapter 100

Elizabeth led Ean up a winding, creaky staircase and down a long hall lined with old paintings, dust entombed busts, and battered suits of armor. At the end of it, she turned and pointed to a locked door. “This is the master’s ritual room,” Elizabeth announced. “Now, it would be best for you if I went and watched the front door before he decides to start shouting orders. Also, since he does not want to be disturbed and that is a rather sturdy door, here is the key. It will provide a much quieter means of entry than utilizing that crowbar of yours too soon.” She pulled a small key from under her belt and passed it to Ean. Then Elizabeth afforded him what might have charitably been called a smile. “I honestly suggest you not disturb him for as long as possible. It would really be best if he not see you coming.” Then she hastily turned and retreated, anxious to be away lest Ean’s de-abduction fail and she be ordered to kill him for disturbing Michael.

Bemused, Ean watched Elizabeth leave. “And this,” he mused, “is why you should always treat your minions well.”

I really hoped he was aware of the hypocrisy of that statement.

Like: Really hoped.

Ean scowled. “Oh, shut up Narrator,” he grumbled — but it was only a half hearted grumble. He leaned his crowbar and board with a nail through it against the wall. Then he crouched down and put his eye to the door’s keyhole, hoping to scope out some of the room that he was about to barge into.

So naturally he was startled when Sakura said, from right behind him: “How in the… I had to scout the entire dungeon. How did you know Rachel wasn’t down stairs?”

Ean had twisted around to stare at her when Sakura had appeared behind him, but it only took him a second to recover his breath. “She’s in there,” he said, pointing at the locked door.

Sakura narrowed her eyes. “How… Did you already scout the rest of this floor?

Ean stood. He made a show of dusting himself off, then looked at Sakura again. “I’m good at what I do,” he said blandly.

Sakura scoffed in disbelief, but then smiled. She looked at the door again, assessing it. “Well, it’ll only take a few seconds for me to pick that lock,” she started to say — but Ean interrupted her by holding up the key.

Sakura’s jaw dropped.

Very good at what I do,” Ean said dryly. “Shall we?”

Et Alia, Book 2: Black Magic, Secret Agents, Shakespearean Tragedies and Interoffice Dating

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