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agreed with our assessment of the situation but couldn t officially set us on the track we
wanted to take. He finished with,  Not the other way around.
Easy for General Kyle to say. He wasn t sitting in a rental house in Tehran, wondering just
who would dig his career out of the Dumpster if he killed the right guy, but was never able
to prove it. The Wizard s henchmen might continue his work, use his name like he was
still calling the shots and no one would be absolutely sure he wasn t. I d be lucky to get a
job scraping gum off the undersides of the desks at Roosevelt Middle School.
Vayl and I looked at each other, and I could tell we were both thinking the same thing.
Better to follow General Danfer s directive. Take out the double. Maybe I d been wrong
about him and he hadn t been coerced into this situation. No, he was probably a highly
placed lieutenant, responsible for arranging or executing many of the atrocities the Wizard
had committed over the course of his career. Okay, so we wouldn t end up eliminating our
true target. At least they couldn t fire us for following orders.
But the whole deal sat wrong. It was the picture, dammit. The man in my hip pocket with
his arms around his family. Nobody had ordered us to kill him. We weren t certain he d
committed any offense deserving of assassination. Which was why I still couldn t grab
onto the sleep I so desperately needed.
After the phone call I stalked back to the girls bedroom. Tossed and turned for fifteen
minutes. Gave up, got dressed, and sought out Vayl. He was still in his room. Sitting on
the bench at the end of the bed, his hands on his knees, staring at the carpet.
 I can t sleep! I announced as I marched in.  I d be snoring now if not for those calls!
I m going to build a time machine, go back to visit Alexander Graham Bell, and kill him
before he invents the telephone!
Vayl mustered a smile. One of the twitchy ones, which told me he was nearly as disturbed
as I was. But he d lived a lot longer, so he knew better how to go with the flow.  We have
already hashed this out from every conceivable angle, Jasmine, he said.  I cannot see an
alternative to deviating from our original assignment that will not gravely jeopardize our
 I know, I know. But I still can t sleep. And I need to! I think the desperation in my
voice finally registered, because Vayl slapped his hands on his knees and stood decisively.
 A walk then, he said.  To cool you off and cheer both of us.
I almost asked him what he had to be depressed about, that s how tangled up I d been in
my own junk. But one look at his face reminded me of what he d given up when he d
agreed not to turn Zarsa. I searched my brain for a way to make him feel better about not
seeing his sons right away, but it was so raw from its recent bombardment it just moaned
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and curled into the fetal position.
So far the walk hadn t done either of us any good. Of course it probably hadn t helped
that I kept bringing up our intolerable work situation and Vayl wouldn t stop talking about
Badu and Hanzi.
A red glow in the middle of the street several blocks ahead of us stopped me in the middle
of my current rant, which effectively saved General Danfer from the maw of the Sarlaci
from Return of the Jedi.  Do you see that? I asked, grabbing Vayl s sleeve and pulling
him forward as I spoke.
When he didn t immediately comment I looked up at him. The expression on his face
threw me because it was so intense.  Vayl? What s wrong?
He jerked his arm away from mine and stopped cold.  That red flame is outlining a plane
portal. I can see it because I am other. And because I have had occasion to battle
creatures that emerged from similar portals elsewhere. You see it because your Spirit Eye
has obviously gained power enough to open farther than ever before. But that power did
not come from me. His eyes sparked their own shade of red in the shadows of the street.
 What vampire has taken your blood, my avhar? Somehow he put a wealth of meaning
into that last word.
 Okay, first of all, you ve got some kind of nerve throwing that double-standard crap at
me after what you were just planning to do with Zarsa, I snapped.  And second, I was
trying to do my job by finding the mole. I needed to boost my Sensitivity and you, my
sverhamin, had made yourself about as scarce as it s possible to be without actually falling
off the planet!
 Who. Is. He?
 Not a vampire, I said, hating the fact that, despite my righteous stance, I still felt guilty.
 He s an Amanha Szeya.
Vayl s brows shot up. He looked around the street, his fiery gaze taking in the locked
shops, the quiet sidewalks, the arched doorways and window frames that gave everything
its wonderful Persian flare. I decided he expected Asha to jump out of the nearest alley, at
which point they would bicker over who had the most right to sink his powers into me.
 I take it you recognize his race, I said, mostly to fill in the uneasy gap his raging silence
 I thought his kind had died out aeons ago.
 He was after Zarsa for the deal she d made with you, I said, conveniently omitting the
fact that Asha hadn t meant to take any action to prevent the turning.  We met on her
Vayl pinned me with a look so piercing I put my hand to my chest to make sure there
weren t any smoking holes in it.  What were you doing on Anvari s roof?
I cleared my throat, switching stances uncomfortably. I suddenly wanted to pull my gun.
Not to aim at anybody. Just for the comfort it would give me. I had so little left. But hey, [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]