Parson smacked his lips as he observed the gaping hole in the gate. Then he just looked at Sanko, bobbed his head a little, and proceeded to do as he was told without another word.
Once he was gone, Sanko turned her attention up toward Lawrence, who was still watching from atop the gate. “Bring me the officers who took these photographs!” she yelled.
Lawrence nodded and disappeared from view.
She turned her attention back to Zeff and Axiolis. “Now. Explain why Salazar was visiting you.”
Zeff folded his arms. “She said she was abandoning the Vanguard. She wanted us to join her. We did not appreciate the offer very much and instructed her to leave.”
“And you simply let her go?”
‘Rather than fight a Vanguardian general in our own home?’ said Ax. ‘Yes. You’ll have to forgive us for prioritizing the safety of our children.’
“I see,” said Sanko. “However, a mere day before this photo was taken, Juliana Salazar and several of her subordinates stopped reporting for duty. A large number of important items disappeared along with them, including weapons and classified documents. Their actions have jeopardized many sensitive operations all over the world. So I am sure you can understand my reluctance to trust your word alone.”
‘If we’d taken Salazar up on her offer, then we would have disappeared with her,’ said Ax.
“They would have also avoided a lot of trouble,” said Rayen Merlo. “Instead, they chose to stay--for the good of your organization. And look how their loyalty has been rewarded.” And when Sanko offered no response, Rayen only seemed to grow angrier. “How do you plan on rectifying this situation?”
Sanko glared at her. “Be silent. Circumstances here are more complicated than you seem to appreciate, and I did not ask for your opinion.”
The Lady Merlo scowled. “I do not answer to you, Gargoyle.”
“You do today.”
Octavia pressed a tiny hand against Rayen’s arm. “Calm your blood.” But she also spared a look for Sanko. “And you can bark orders all you like, but remember that we are not Vanguard.”
“You may not be, but the Elroys are.”
‘No, we aren’t,’ said Axiolis. ‘Not anymore.’
Sanko stared at him now. “You claim you are not traitors, yet now you tell me you have abandoned your duty?”
“You cannot honestly expect them to stay with you!” said Rayen.
“They are Rainlords first and foremost,” said Octavia.