Kegan dropped the crossbar down locking the door. “That should keep us safe till morning,” Kegan said. “I’ll sleep on the waiting couch and leave you the spare bed in the back.”
Sariah laughed. “Decided it was too risky to walk to your new bed?” she asked.
“No, you were right,” said Kegan. “If they wanted to kill us they would have. That means they were testing us. I am testy enough now to take any more tests tonight.” He opened a small locker and took out a flask of amber liquid and two crystal glasses. He filled them both and handed one to Sariah.
“Any more ideas on who was behind this?” asked Sariah. She swirled her glass a bit and breathed in the aroma. “This is quite the brandy.”
Kegan lifted his left eyebrow in surprise. “Good nose,” he said. “It was magically aged for two hundred years in sentient oak. I keep it to help customers loosen up their wallets.” Kegan took a large swig and held it in his mouth for a moment, savoring the taste before swallowing it. “I love this stuff. I just wish it wasn’t such a kick in the wallet.”
Sariah sipped hers, liking the way the brandy played across her tongue. There were hints of oak and a sweetness that played well with the alcohol. When she swallowed the taste lingered on her tongue, playing games with her taste buds.
Kegan refilled his glass and continued, “I was thinking that whoever it was has a good sized group of people to draw from, or money to blow, or both. They must have been pretty sure we would wipe the floor with the ground crew and wanted to make sure if when we won the power would stay anonymous for now.”
“For now?” Sariah asked.
“It was a test. If we failed we would be dead. Since we passed I’m sure we’ll be contacted for a job soon,” Kegan replied.
Sariah took another sip and savored the flavor. She shook her head and said, “I hate being blind in these things. That’s why I’m my own fixer now.” That got both eyebrows raised from Kegan. Sariah held up her hand. “I’m not going into it right now, but let’s say Tomias and I didn’t agree to come out of retirement together. He lost his head about it and I left him behind.” Sariah could tell that Kegan wanted more, but he showed his patience as she continued. “I need to know more before we’re contacted. I can’t negotiate blind.” She took in another sip of this wonderful spirit.
Kegan pointed at her. “You know what,” he said, “I know of one way to find out, your old apprentice, Asopt.”
Sariah spit that wonderful spirit right out of her mouth. “Asopt?” she asked. “He was never my apprentice. I never took him on.”
“Hey, remember this stuff is ridiculously expensive. For intake only,” Kegan said.
Sariah ignored the remark. “I can’t believe he thought that I… Oh that little…” Sariah’s glass was moving in larger and larger arcs as Sariah became more and more agitated. The liquid looked for an avenue to escape.
Kegan wiggled his fingers and the glass flew from Sariah’s hand and landed on the counter. “Hey, why did you do that?” Sariah asked.
Kegan opened up the bottle and filled both glasses before putting the bottle away. “I wanted to fill it up and calm you down. Whether he was your apprentice or just claims it, he is the most connected person in this city, besides the Minister of Lies whoever he is.” He gave Sariah back her glass.
Sariah took a small gulp of the brandy. “I don’t want him knowing I’m in town,” she said. “He was like a puppy. I couldn’t get him to leave me alone. Tomias thought it was cute and encouraged the kid.”
“That puppy has grown into a pit dog with plenty of teeth,” Kegan said. “He still works for Gordo, but runs a network twice as big as Gordo’s. Honestly I don’t know why he doesn’t just go out on his own.”
Sariah finished her glass with another gulp. “Because he never wants to be that responsible. It is all about Asopt all the time.”
“I’m going to talk to him in the morning. See what he says,” Kegan said.
Sariah noticed what she had done and regretted not enjoying the brandy more. She stared at the glass mourning her loss. “Fine, you keep me out of it though. I’m going to get an audience with the king.”
“You want to stay unknown, but you are going to see the king.” Kegan pulled back out the bottle and gave Sariah one more refill.
Sariah raised her glass to toast her host. “I have a get in without being seen card.”
Kegan tapped her glass with his. “But someone already knows you are here. Remember that.”
“No, they better remember,” said Sariah as she watched the amber fluid dance in her glass.