‘I’m sure you have any number of collaborators in this game of yours,’ Dergoz was saying. ‘I don’t think we’ll be trusting anyone’s word concerning your whereabouts. Why don’t you just admit it?’
Parson exchanged lingering looks with Overra, perhaps indicative of a silent conversation between the two.
‘Easy, Dergoz,’ said Lawrence. ‘He may be ridiculous, but we do not want to pick a fight with Parson, especially not here.’
‘They need us as much as we need them,’ Dergoz said privately. ‘Sanko is coming, so they can’t afford to fight with us now, either. This is the perfect time to press them with hard questions. In fact, it’s probably the ONLY time.’
Lawrence wondered how much truth there was in that, but he knew there was no point in arguing.
Parson finished off his ice cream sandwich. He smacked his lips a couple times and took a long breath. “I’m just going to tell them. If they’re this suspicious of us, then there’s really no point in pretending anymore. We’re all on the same side after all.”
Overra gave a public sigh. ‘I suppose you’re right. Go on, then.’
“Oh, but soundproofing first.”
‘Right.’ Overra flew into Parson’s body, and a moment later, Parson’s forearms disappeared, leaving his sleeves to flap wildly in the sudden whirlwind that consumed the room.
Lawrence had seen similar techniques before. The airy hum of Parson’s oxygen would prevent physical eavesdroppers, and the tightly controlled movement allowed the man to also press his soul into the air and thereby prevent reapers from hearing them through the walls.
And Lawrence felt abruptly unsettled. Such a precautionary measure was disturbingly unlike Parson and Overra. Whatever they were about to say was not going to be pleasant, he felt.
Parson stepped closer. “Time is short, so allow us to make this quick. First, we know your secret. You and Lawrence belong to a shadow faction within the Vanguard--a shadow faction which believes Sermung is no longer fit to lead all of us. Which is true. He isn’t.”
Dumbstruck, Dergoz needed a second to respond. ‘That’s not... We’re not--’
“Please. Let’s not waste time. We also know that Lamont is the head of your shadow faction, and that no one is able to speak with him about it directly due to the immense secrecy required. Because he is constantly surrounded by Sermung supporters, Lamont is restricted to passing along coded instructions until the time comes when he can reveal himself.”