Dream Leaper 7

Tildalune treaded like a smooth, nimble cat along the roof of an office building. Her wings and red glow were gone, without even a trace of glitter in her wake. They would give her away. Instead, she looked like a human woman with red skin, wearing a black cat suit.

An orange woman followed her closely. “I see him,” she whispered.

Tildalune nodded grimly and swallowed. She couldn’t decide if the knot was in her throat or her stomach.

Central control amazed her. How did they find out about Bob so fast? Not minutes before he burst into the streets her crystal pager went off. They had eyes everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. She knew that’s where she and Ysandre came in, so she obediently followed her partner here, but something in her gut twisted every time she thought about aiming her fairy wand at him.

She shouldn’t have gotten so close to Sherri. Now she loved her like a niece. Hell knew what would happen if her boss found out. Her hand hovered apprehensively over the star-tipped wand at her hip. Assassinate their father? Immediately after befriending them, improving their lives, and giving hope to their parents’ marriage? How heartless did this organization have to be? Technology and logic were forbidden, but Bob hadn’t even done anything yet. Of course, to central control, that meant this was the best time to take him out.

Ysandre’s eyes slid cautiously at Tildalune as she sensed her steps growing tentative, slowing. “Keep up. We don’t want to lose him.” She approached a three-foot ledge surrounding the perimeter of the roof and crouched against it.

Tildalune knelt beside her and saw her partner pull out a wand. Her insides wrenched as she watched herself grab hers and mirror Ysandre’s movements. Both sticks silently glimmered as they pointed at Bob ten stories below. He was desperately clambering through the streets with several books clamped to his chest.

Ysandre paused as she noticed Tildalune’s wand from the corner of her eye. It was out, but not aimed. She looked at her. Tildalune was staring at the chipped brick of the ledge instead of her target. The deeper gold of Ysandre’s lips pressed into a firm line. “Tildalune,” she warned in a low voice, “you’re obligated.”

I know,” she murmured.

Even if he has a chance of leaving technology behind, he’s been corrupted. He has a chance of reverting to it at any time. We can’t allow that risk--”

And what exactly is the risk?” Tildalune snapped back in a hoarse whisper. “He hasn’t committed anything yet. Why can’t we send him to a rehab center where we can be cured? He’s not a bad man—for Tink’s sake he has a wife and children!”

Mick Diavoni. You remember Mick Diavoni? The man who was sent to a rehab center thirty years ago and went insane? That ‘curable computer nonsense’ killed sixty plus fairies and gnomes--!”

I’m not an idiot!” Tildalune seethed. It could have been worse. God forbid that Ysandre found out about the computer lessons she implemented in her dream magic. If she was lucky, Sherri would remember them.

There was a long, awkward silence. Ysandre was stone. Her stare fell more and more, until it finally plummeted into a glare of disappointment. It made Tildalune’s heart fall like a dead leaf.

You got too close.”

I did what was required of me,” Tildalune countered quietly.

I think you got too close.”

Don’t be so ridiculous,” she raised her voice. “She’s an old client now—I have nothing else to do with he--”

Then what’s stopping you? I’ll let you have the honors. Shoot him.”

Tildalune glanced at the manic, black-suited form darting down the streets.

Do it. Do it for our people. Do it for them. Sherri and Milo will understand.”

A pang of disgust suddenly shot through Tildalune’s veins and she sneered with disbelief. Just how apathetic and selfish was this woman? She never got commissioned to do her work. She never mingled with humans. She didn’t understand. Humans weren’t like that. She lowered her wand and turned to her, her head hung.

What are you doing?” Ysandre asked sternly.

Tildalune looked up and drew in an anchoring breath. Her voice was a weak, brave choke of air. “I can’t.”

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