‘That’s awfully considerate of you,’ said Voreese with more than a hint of doubt in her voice.
‘Yeah, we’re nice like that.’ Darsihm leaned back in the air, as if lying on an invisible bed, and crossed his ghostly arms. ‘But it’d also be problematic if one of Mehlsanz’s old comrades came to kill you. We’d rather the Vanguard not be collectively blamed for the assassination of the Atreyan Queen. But then, that is precisely why Mehlsanz here resurrected her, isn’t it? To hide behind her status?’
‘I didn’t think anyone would actually come to protect me,’ said Mehlsanz. ‘Especially not a Lt. General.’
“We weren’t planning to, either,” said Harper. “But then word got out that the Queen was traveling around, visiting different divisions all haphazard-like. If you stumbled onto the wrong people, they might’ve done something very stupid.”
“So you’re only here for damage control,” said Roman.
‘We’re only here because Mehlsanz and I share an old friend,’ said Darsihm. ‘Valess.’
Mehlsanz shifted. ‘Ah... that wonderful fool. It’s been ages. How is he?’
‘Finally took on a new servant. When he heard about the trouble you were in, he wanted to come for you himself, but he doesn’t have that kind of freedom or authority. So he begged me to have Harper come help you, instead.’
“Wait,” said Roman, “so you weren’t even ordered to come here?”
‘Harper is a Lt. General in title only,’ said Darsihm. ‘In truth, he’s more of a freelance officer.’
Helen tilted her head. “I do not understand. How does that work?”
“Basically,” said Harper, “I don’t have the authority to order anyone around, but in exchange, I don’t have to take orders from anyone below the rank of general, either. So Darsihm and I are usually able to go where we like and do as we please.”
“Sounds like my kind of deal,” said Roman. “How’d you swing that?”
Rather than answering, Harper just returned a confident smile.
‘Would you mind saving the chat for later?’ said Kohzek, whom Helen had nearly forgotten about. ‘I have other matters to attend to.’