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.If he gets away with it, he pulls off the plan and gets his mojo back from me.""I still don't get why Thomas didn't say anything," Murphy said."To you, I mean.I never figured him for that kind of secrecy.""That's what tipped me off to the whole thing," I said."There just aren't many things which could make Thomas do that.I think he was counting on it to tip me off, in fact."Murphy shook her head."A phone call would have been easier.""Not if he's being watched," I said."And not if he's made a promise.""Watched?" Murphy said."By who?""Someone who has more than one kind of leverage," I said."Someone who is his family, who is protecting the woman he loves, and who has the kind of resources it takes to watch him, and enough savvy to know if he's lying.""Lara Raith," Murphy said."Big sister is the one behind the peace movement," I said."Everyone thinks it's Papa Raith, but he's just her puppet now.Except that there aren't many people who know that.""If Raith's authority is challenged openly by the Skavis," Murphy said, putting things together, "it exposes the fact that he's utterly powerless.Lara would have to fight openly.""And theWhite Court vamp who is driven to that has already lost," I said."She can't maintain her control over the Court if she's revealed as the power behind the throne.Not only does she not have the raw strength she'd need to hold on to it, but the very fact that she was revealed would make her an incompetent manipulator and therefore automatically unsuitable in the eyes of the rest of the White Court."Murphy chewed on her lip."If Papa Raith falls, Lara falls.And if Lara falls…""Justine goes with her," I said, nodding."She wouldn't be able to protect her for Thomas anymore.""Then why didn't she just have Thomas go to you and ask for help? " Murphy said."She can't have it get out that she asked for help from the enemy team, Murph.Even among her own supporters, that could be a disaster.But remember that she knows how to pull strings.Maybe better than anyone operating right now.She wouldn't be upset if I got involved and stomped all over agents of Skavis and Malvora."Murphy snorted."So she forbids Thomas from speaking to you about it.""She's too smart for that.Thomas gets stubborn about being given orders.She gets him to promise to keep quiet.But by doing that, she's also done the one thing she knows will make him defiant to the spirit of the promise.So he's made a promise and he can't come out and talk to me, but he wants to get my attention.""Ha," Murphy said."So he gets around it.He works sloppy, deliberately.He lets himself be seen repeatedly taking off with the women he was rounding up.""And leaves a big old honking wall o' clues in his apartment for me, knowing that when I get involved, I'm going to get curious about why he's been seen with missing women and why he's not talking to me.He can't talk to me about it, but he leaves me a map." I found my right foot tapping against an imaginary accelerator, my left against a nonexistent clutch."Stop twitching," Murphy said.The Beetle jolted over some railroad tracks, officially taking us to the wrong side."I'm a better driver than you, anyway."I scowled because it was true."So right now," Murphy said, "you think Priscilla is shilling for the Skavis agent.""No.She is the Skavis agent.""I thought you said it was a man," Murphy said."Strike you funny that Priscilla wears turtlenecks in the middle of a hot summer?"Murphy let out a word that should not be spoken before small children."So if you're right, he's going to clip Elaine and all those moms.""Kids too," I said."And anyone who gets in the way.""Mouse," Molly said, her voice worried.This time I didn't yell her down.I was worried about him, too."The Skavis knows that Mouse is special.He saw the demonstration.That's been the only thing keeping him from acting sooner than he did.If the vampire started drawing upon his powers, Mouse would have sensed it and blown his cover.So Mouse is definitely going to be near the top of his list."Murphy nodded."So what's the plan?""Get us to the motel," I said.We were getting close enough that I could start trying the spell."I'm going to try to reach Elaine.""Then what?""I've got no use for anything that does what this thing does," I said."Do you?"Her blue eyes glittered as the car zipped through the illumination of a lonely streetlamp."No.""And as I recall, you are on vacation right now.""And having fun, fun, fun," she snarled."Then we won't worry too much about saving anything for later," I said.I turned my head and said,"Molly."The girl's head whipped up almost audibly."Um.What?""Can you drive a stick?"She was silent for a second, then jerked her head in a nod."Then when we get out, I want you to get behind the wheel and keep the engine running," I said."If you see anyone else coming, honk the horn.If you see a tall woman in a turtleneck sprinting away, I want you to drive the car over her.""I… but… but…""You wanted to help.You're helping." I turned back around."Do it."Her answer came back with the automatic speed of reflex."Yes, sir.""What about Grey Cloak and Madrigal?" Murphy asked me."Even if we take out the Skavis, they're waiting to jump in.""One thing at a time," I said."Drive."Then I closed my eyes, drew in my will, and hoped that I could call out to Elaine—and that she would be alive to hear me.Chapter Thirty-OneI closed my eyes and blocked out my senses, one by one.The smell of the car and Murphy's deodorant went first.At least Molly had learned from experience and left off any overt fragrances when she tried to use the veil trick a second time.Sound went next.The Beetle's old, laboring engine, the rattle of tires on bad spots of road, and the rush of wind all faded away.Chicago 's evening lights vanished from their irregular pressure on my closed eyelids.The sour taste of fear in my mouth simply became not, as I focused on the impromptu variation of the old, familiar spell.Elaine.I referred to the same base image I always had [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]