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“Captain General Miles!” Sanko called out. “And General Lawrence! What manner of welcome is this?! Open the gate!”
Parson leaned over the wall with his arms folded. “I’d rather not do that! Sorry!”
“You know why we have come, do you not?!”
“And yet you still test our patience! You have five seconds to start explaining yourselves before we arrest you for insubordination!”
“Now just hold on!” After a moment, Parson leapt off the gate. His legs vanished as he neared the pavement, letting the pants of his airman’s uniform flap wildly while his descent slowed within a rising gust of wind. His socks and shoes popped off of his missing feet and flew up past his head, and when his freshly reappeared legs touched the ground, he was barefoot. One of the falling shoes smacked his shoulder as Overra melted out of his body.
However, there was a reason Parson had chosen to vanish his legs instead of his arms. The man carried a box with him. “Before you go getting all intimidating and whatnot,” said Parson, “I hope we can have an honest conversation.”
“Honest?” Zeff growled. He could feel his fist shaking involuntarily and had to consciously relax it.
“Ah, Zeff!” said Parson. “It is good to see you again, my old friend, though the circumstances are disappointing. As are you.” The man’s expression turned suddenly grave. “In your youth, you demonstrated such potential. I’d hoped to foster greatness in you, but since I’ve been away, it seems you’ve grown content with being the willful stooge of more conniving men.”
Zeff was almost as confused as he was angry. “What the hell are you talking about?”
‘And Axiolis, too,’ added Overra. ‘Such complacency in the face of wrongdoing is very unbecoming of someone as old as you.’
‘I see the two of you haven’t lost your gift for spouting complete nonsense,’ said Ax.
Sanko intervened. “Make your point, Miles. Before we make ours.”
“Okay, well, first of all, the attempt to apprehend the Elroys was motivated by a suspicion that they were harboring a fugitive.”
“Gema Elroy,” said Sanko. “We are aware. That is far from sufficient cause for the unlawful capture of this man’s other children.”
Parson began rifling through his box. “Of course. I won’t do you the disrespect of assuming you don’t already know the details of what transpired after Zeff was questioned by General Lawrence up there.” He retrieved a string-bound folder and offered it to Sanko. “But I don’t think you know the whole story.”