There was a young girl no more than six. She sat at an outdoor table of a coffee shop sipping tea in a yellow Sunday dress and pigtails tied with bows. Occasionally shed glance up from her reading to take in the golden afternoon around her, but for the most part she simply ignored it.
Normal people, who had no eye for aura or the greater issues of the world, passed her by without thinking anything out of the ordinary. At the most, they may have wondered why she wasnt in school, or why the book seemed far too thick for a child that age.
It was such a shame; they didnt understand what a rare sight it was that they were passing up.
He was actually out in public.
Your body guards arent around, I see.
Sacha looked up from his tea and smiled just a bit, You know me better than that, Aralt. He sipped at it again, You cant possibly believe I havent noticed your dogs sniffing around.
Id hoped you would. Aralt glanced around again and tried to tell if he was being watched. You still feel comfortable without your own protection, though.
Theyre someplace around here, he said dully, I just cant stand spending every waking moment with them. Could you?
Your staff or mine?
Sacha chuckled, Point taken. Sit, sit. He closed his book and motioned with a wave of his hand to the opposite chair. Ive missed hearing your stories.
Aralt took the invitation, They all lead to the fact that were closing in on you.
Do they? He paused to stir more cream into his tea, From where Im sitting, they dont seem to be.
We forced you into that body, didnt we?
The little girl Sacha had become looked up, the grey eyes a bit colder.
Dont think this means you won, he said flatly, Ive taken residences not to my liking before, and it doesnt mean a thing.
Of course it doesnt.
Sacha returned to his drink. So what are you doing here?
Following my scouts.
You never follow your scouts. Weve been going at this for centuries, and never once
Maybe I realized that was the problem.
Or maybe youre just doing the same thing youve always done, Sacha said flatly, Lets stop pretending I dont know who you are and you just tell me what you want.
You never did figure out how to keep up small talk.
Neither did you.
Aralt sighed and folded his fingers, Youve heard about our problems with your associate.
Youll have to be more specific than that. Youve had problems with all of them.
Id rather not use names in such a public place
Id rather not be led around when you chose the public place. He looked over, The name please.
Aralt hesitated for a long while and took a few glances around to make sure no one was in hearing distance. Xun, he said under his breath.
Ah. Sacha paused to sip his tea, mix in more sugar and sip again, Hes never been anything but talk, Aralt, you know that. Why on Earth do you need to take him down now?
Hes gotten a hold of some dangerous technology
Sacha held up a hand and shook his head, I warned that idiot to stay away from things like that. But of course no one can ever listen to me
He put his cup back down, How long do you have?
Maybe a week, at the most, Aralt told him, Hes already issued threats.
Sacha hid his mouth behind laced fingers as he thought.
If you leave me alone completely, I can have something suitable in three days. And I mean leave me alone completely.
That can be arranged.
Well negotiate price when Ive finished, as always, Sacha told him, This one will be high, I warn you.
Id figured it would be.
Good then. He smirked as he finished the last of his tea, Ill never understand why you want me dead, sometimes I just dont know what youd do without me.
My headaches would be far less severe, Im sure.
The head of security, ever in a perfectly-shaped body, came from wherever hed hidden himself as his employer stood. He kept a suspicious eye on Aralt as he helped Sacha into the tiny petticoat.
You should try the Darjeeling tea while youre here, Sacha said as he tucked the book under his arm, Its quite good.
Aralt turned in his seat to watch the two head off for the market place. Other staff, seemingly coming out of nowhere, joined the ranks. The group flanked behind what was now a little girl as they disappeared into the crowd.
It was such a shame that whenever he had Sacha across the table, there wasnt enough to take him in. Not that anything less should be expected of him, of course.
After this state-sponsored commission was finished, Sachas services would open up again and hed begin re-building his record. And when he started, he wouldnt be spotted in public again.
Not that it really mattered theyd been through this same routine so many times that Aralt knew they would catch him again. With the latest technology theyd developed, he should finally stay in their custody.
But the day they would be able to was a while off.
For now, there was nothing to do but try the tea.