Opposing Forces

Opposing Forces Page 4

She points to one of the monastery’s towers. There are monstrous statues surrounding the spire.

“Gargoyles,” she says. “Lyrie’s been terrified of them ever since she was little, and a stray one gobbled up her pet canary. We can’t have her freezing up if the monks release theirs.”

“That was fifteen years ago! I’m not going to freeze up!” you protest.

“You vomited when I showed you a picture of one on the move last summer,” Melody says firmly. “Sir, she’s just not going to be reliable.”

“I’ve been working on it since then! I’m not afraid of them any more! I don’t even feel a thing looking at them right now!”

“But they aren’t moving yet. That’s what always gets you.”

The sergeant frowns.

“Lyric. There wasn’t anything about a fear of gargoyles on your application form. Even if you’ve recovered, you’re supposed to let us know about that sort of thing.”

Damn. Now you’re in trouble.

“But it’s too late to change plans. If there’s trouble, I don’t think a duet will be enough, and there’s no way anyone else can get here in time. So I suppose there’s no choice but to chance it for now, and we’ll talk more about this situation when we get back.” He glances at the tower. “They don’t like to use the gargoyles, anyway. Too hard to control. Still, we don’t know how desperate they’ll be after the bombs go off.”

Well, you suppose that’s the best you can hope for. You aren’t looking forward to being lectured, though.

Your meal is finished, but you still do not feel at ease. Today has been thick with the scent of trouble.

You have not even been told yet what role you will play in the defense of the monastery. You aren’t even sure your master knows much of what plans the Ascented have for fighting back. They have been even more secretive than usual lately.

You are sure they are acting with wisdom, of course. It is simply unsettling not to know what drives that wisdom.

Perhaps meditation will be clarifying. You sit down, close your eyes, and focus only on the smells around you.

And what you smell disturbs you even more.

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