“Are you ready for this, Mein Liebchen?”, asked the blonde woman.
The dark-skinned elf shrugged. “Does it matter?”, she said with a resigned smile.
Vesic squared her shoulders as the younger woman pushed open the massive wooden doors. They strode across the marble floor, the clicking of their boot heels echoing in the space. Stopping before the ornate wooden desk, the women waited to be acknowledged.
“They have all been dealt with, Fräu Veralath?”
Vesic swallowed hard. “All of the members of Delta Phoenix have been accounted for, Mein Herr”, she answered. “I have corrected my error.”
“You have cleaned up the mess, Zerstörer. Do not imagine you have atoned for the mistake.”
Vesic shuddered at the ominous tone in the reply. Hälm shifted her weight slightly as she stood next to the older woman. The blonde elf’s tension was palpable as she stood by silently, anger radiating from her pores.
“And you, Fräu Hälm? You can confirm that both men died in the explosions?”
“I witnessed them engulfed by the blast. Zerstörer knows her business. They are both dead.”
Hälm’s clipped tones revealed her emotions even more than her body language. Vesic’s anxiety level rose with the blatant display of anger. If he took offense to the blonde’s curtness, the two women would be lucky to leave the room dead. But the non-verbal challenge either went unnoticed, or was judged unworthy of a response.
“Very well. His second subject has been relocated and is now mature enough for another attempt. I expect that Tänzer will also be present, so you shall all have the chance to redeem yourselves for the failure nineteen months ago. Fräu Hälm, you will leave us now and make the necessary arrangements.”
The blonde elf stood fast, clearly unwilling to leave Vesic’s side. The older woman gave her a pleading look, silently willing her to leave before the insubordination could no longer be ignored. Hälm turned on her heel and marched across the marble, her gait as clipped and angry as her words had been. The door thundered shut with a sound of finality that Vesic hoped wasn’t an omen.
The silence seemed to stretch on forever as Vesic waited in dread.
“Explosives are a rather crude method of assassination.”
Vesic shrugged, not trusting to know how to answer that safely.
“But not so crude in the hands of a true artist. As Fräu Hälm suggested, you would be able to achieve any outcome you wished with only the slightest stretching of your talents.”
The elf could feel the cold sweat trickling down her spine. The pause in the conversation again seemed to drag on forever.
“I am pleased you were able to clean up the loose ends and return to us. You have been very much missed. But I am keeping you from your spouse and daughter, who no doubt wish to spend time with you. You have a few hours before Gestalt must leave for Yucatan.”
Vesic allowed herself to breathe again as she bowed and backed up a few steps before turning to the door. She had to force herself to not sprint, and walked slowly away from the desk.
“Oh, and one more thing, Fräu Veralath.”
She went rigid as she sensed the presence closing behind her. She turned slowly to face the dragon’s scaled snout, his great fangs mere inches from her head.
“Do please see to it that you do not make another error?”
“Jawohl, Herr Lofwyr.”