Episode Thirty-Three, Taken, Scene 3

“So,” Charles said, sticking his fork in a piece of his lunch. “It’s been…”


“I was on vacation. And…well…”


“Busy. So was I.” He managed a grin. “It’s fine. Friendships between people like us…sometimes have to take a bit of a second fiddle to politics.”


I opened my mouth to say it wasn’t exactly politics. Realized it absolutely was and closed it again.


Definitely politics. “I know,” was all I actually managed to say.


“And I’m figuring it’s god politics I’m not allowed to know about.”


I considered that. “More that I don’t want you dragged in when somebody is burning things down. I don’t want the next thing to be burned down to be your house or something.”


“Hrm.” A pause. “Suppose the cops can’t do anything.”


“The arsonist is very good at making it look like an accident.”


“Which is another way of saying they’re using magic.”


I nodded. “Yes. And it’s blackmail, and I won’t give in.”


“Good. You give in and whoever it is owns you.”


I thought about that. “I suppose that’s one way of looking at it.” Especially given what he wanted from me. “Still working out how else to stop it.”


“You may be right. I may not want to be involved.”


“I don’t plan on…” I tailed off. “You probably don’t. Oh, be careful, there’s a ranking demon in town.”


He nodded. “Another succubus?”


I shook my head. “No. At least I don’t think so. I should have more information soon.” I let out a breath.


“If there’s anything I can help with, let me know.” A sincere offer.


“There really isn’t at this point. I just wanted to, well, talk to you. Remind myself we’re still friends.”


He grinned. “That’s help in and of itself, I know it is.”


I thought about that and then nodded. “It definitely is. Having friends. Having people to fight for.”


“Just don’t get yourself killed.”


“I won’t.” I didn’t remind him how tough I was. I took the concern for what it was. A friend, sort of an uncle figure.


“Or ruin your outfit.”


I laughed. “I try not to do that either. It’s sometimes unavoidable, though.”


He was actually making me feel better, even if our conversation was not exactly normal.


But then, what else were friends for?


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