“How long was I out?”
“A day,” he replied, “to the hour. Even when you sleep, you keep a schedule.”
She didn’t want to burst his bubble about how accidental that had been.
“Yes, well. I need a change.”
“I don’t know where they put your dress, didn’t they leave it for yo—”
“I don’t give a rat’s droppings about the dress, where’d you get the outfit?”
She groaned in impatience and stormed off.
“Wait, I just, oh, these clothes?”
She already had the hair done like a girl, she shouldn’t grab boy’s clothes anyways. She needed something to walk about unbothered, and that meant servant’s uniform.
“You’ve been around, right? Where can we find a better disguise for me?”
“Right,” he nodded, finally giving up on playing the jokester. “Follow me.”
He went ahead, finally acting like the veteran Scavenger he was. They had enough space between them that she could be warned to hide from a passerby, and they were walking silently while not to a suspicious degree.
He led her to a closet where she changed to a girl servant’s dress.
“I’ll uh…stand outside and watch.”
Her head was much too busy to care about prude concerns. She was thinking if there were any way the Chancellor wouldn’t in fact help with fighting the dark ones.
The beasts. I’m the Street Rat. As a final touch, she messed up her hair a little bit so she’d seem tired, and put on the kind of face one would expect out of someone who’s worked a few extra hours and is really looking forward to getting home. She grabbed some spectacles off a drawer and redid her lipstick.
Wasn’t a full make-over but it’d have to do.
“Arright, let’s get out of here for real now.”
He smiled and motioned her on, he was as instinctive to letting her take the lead as she was to take it, even though he knew the way better.
“Were you successful?”
That’s a good question. She was still not a hundred percent either way. In the end, passing out had turned out for the best. That confrontation with the Chancellor did nothing but help Amara’s case for him to participate in the war if she died. If she lived, then it was guaranteed anyways.
“If the Holy Lady survives, for sure. If not, not for sure. Probably, it was her last wish so old dumb Cronenberg will prob’ly go ahead with it.”
“You’re very into half victories recently, huh?”
A vein popped somewhere in her head, hiding behind the fact she was not looking his way.
“Feelin’ in advantage there, rotten fig?”
“Just pointing it out,” he said in that unnerving confident tone of his.
“Well, why don’t you point yourself outta my way?”
“’M loyal to Andy, and he’s loyal to you, for some reason.”
“We’re loyal to ourselves first, and so is he.”
“Well, sometimes loyalty to yourself means loyalty to someone else.”
She glanced back at him with an eyebrow raised. Was he serious?
“I wouldn’t know.” With eyes forward, she continued walking.
They passed by a few people, servants and the occasional guest that stuck around to pay their respects or congratulations, depending on the outcome. There were a lot of guards, they were everywhere, most of them patrolling but a few were standing guard. They had little revolvers and the vest-based uniforms of the state’s best.
Nobody paid attention to servants, however, even in that hostile climate. Unless they were heading somewhere they shouldn’t be, they were ignored. And the last thing they were worried about was letting people leave. The killer had, after all, already been caught.
The attacker, she corrected herself, the Holy Lady wasn’t dead. Not yet.
Jamie felt her head throb. The Holy Lady was a powerful variable of change to take into consideration. If she survived and then learned from the Chancellor that her manipulations had been found out, what would she then do? Would she hunt down Jamie? Would she work against the Scavengers?
No. She had no reason to hate them, or the Street Rat, more so when she had been doing the exact same thing. Amara wasn’t one to be an unreasonable ball of ego.
More importantly, however, who was the assassin? Any member of the Led by Anarchy would most likely be arrested, or even killed, on sight. Yet the man had walked around the party unbothered.
“Who was the assassin?” She asked.
“The man who tried to kill the Holy Lady. Who was he?”
“Are you kiddin’ me? Everythin’s relevant!” She whispered annoyed.
“Well I’m not your stooge, you know info’s got a price.”
“The world’s in danger, ya half-brain pine tree.”
He snickered. “Pine tree. You have the best insults, Jamie.”
“Who was he?”
“What’ll you give me?”
“Oh for cryin’ out loud, what do you want? Money?”
And look at that, Jamie had lived all her life really convinced she would never want to kill anyone, and in one quick minute, Jordan had changed that.
“What is that? You want me to stab you in your sleep?”
“You can’t even walk straight.”
She felt even angrier, she was sure she was disguising her limp. But it’s Jordan, for whatever else, the boy was a Scavenger. Their attention to detail was at a completely different level.
“What’re you gonna do, escape me in your sleep?”
“It’s kinda hard to sneak up on me, is all. I would hope I could say the same for you.”
She rolled her eyes and grabbed the sleeve of a passing young man, a boy in his late teens who seemed to be a very bored son of a member of staff.
“Excuse me, hey.”
“Huh? Hey, guys, what’s up?”
“Crazy night, it’s what’s up, can’t believe that happened.”
“For sure, and here I thought it could never get busier than that ball.”
“Yeah,” she scoffed, “all thanks to that maniac. I never would have expected, who could see it coming?”
“I know, her own cousin? And a bishop of hers to boot.”
“Yeah,” she turned to Jordan with a hidden smirk, “can you believe that?”
Jordan shook his head.
“It’s kind of unbelievable,” he replied, talking about her.
“I hope they find out who put him to it,” she commented, looking back at the boy, “I mean, who the heck has anything to gain by killing the Lady of Light.”
“Short chance of that happening,” the teen sighed, “the bishop took his own life, apparently. Poisoned himself before doing the deed.”
“That’s crazy, I hadn’t heard!”
“Oh my gosh, I really can’t wait to get home. It’s been so busy, and then unsafe?”
“Oh I feel ya, I wasn’t even supposed to work today… but I still need to tend to Lord Byron over there,” he groaned, “he’s being super stubborn on making sure the Lady of Light makes it. And of course, on keeping his stupid tea cup filled.”
Or making sure she’s actually dead.
“Oh crap, sorry to make him wait, you better go before you get into trouble.”
“Yeah, good point,” he said a bit embarrassed, “hope to see you guys around. See ya,” he hurried off, and she just walked off without even gloating. One has no need to gloat when the achievement is obvious enough.
“Arright,” Jordan conceded, “that was amazing. You found out what I knew and then some. You think Byron is with whoever that Bishop was with?”
“Shut up,” she said without slowing her pace, “I’m thinking.”