‘We should return to headquarters,’ said Ezmortig.
‘Are you sure?’ said Hoyohté. ‘We can still fall back to our allies in Kahm, no?’
Ezmortig shook his huge head. ‘This operation is lost. We’d need to bring someone in who could kill that light bastard, but this mission just doesn’t have that kind of priority. Atreya isn’t important enough right now.’
‘I was told that this operation was critical for establishing Abolish’s dominance over the continent.’
‘Ah. Well. Our captain tends to exaggerate when she gets excited.’
Hoyohté swam up behind Karkash, and her voice bristled with irritation as she said, ‘We would not have come here if we had known that this was just some trivial fancy for your sect.’
‘Yeah,’ was all Ezmortig said.
Desmond snickered, drawing Karkash’s glare.
‘You waste our time,’ said Hoyohté. ‘I do not find that amusing.’
‘Oh, please. Your people knew this assignment was probably horseshit when they only sent two servants to assist. Simple risk-reward scheme. They wanted to send someone so that if things went well, they could claim to have helped, but they obviously didn’t want to devote any real resources to it. And all the while, both sides could dress it up as the spirit of cooperation, which is always good for morale.’
‘But you knew that already,’ said Ezmortig. ‘C’mon. There’s no need to play dumb with me. I know you’re smarter than you would have me believe. The way you ferreted out those traitors of yours, led them right into a trap--and by pretending to be overeager and stupid, no less. You’re really quite calculating, aren’t you? No doubt, you were hoping this assignment would help you gain traction with your superiors, too.’
“You talk too much,” said Karkash.
Desmond laughed. “He does talk too much. There’s no stopping him once he gets going. But still, I’ve learned that he’s worth listening to. I’m sure you’ll understand that we’re pretty good friends to have, if you give us a chance.”
Karkash eyed them flatly. “You both talk too much.”