11 – Meris
Myranda paced in a tight circuit like a caged beast. Meris sympathized with her anxiety and eagerness to be off, but Alazar was not yet convinced to go along with the plan.
“I can’t believe you’re not chomping at the bit here – this is a way to draw him out and keep you out of chains, and you’re – what? – second-guessing it? This is insane!” Myranda’s fist were balled at her sides, and it looked like it was taking every ounce of self-control to keep her from punching Alazar out and forcing him to go with her.
“I think she’s right. If we can do this without giving you up to the police, then we should at least try it.”
Myranda gave Meris a grateful smile. “Just give this a chance, before you go off and martyr yourself.” Her tone was borderline pleading.
Alazar’s jaw muscles twitched as he mulled it over. But his arms remained crossed over his chest and his eyes were cast toward the floor. It would be a miracle if he relented. Meris knelt next to him and placed her hands on his leg. “Darius, please. If this works – and that is a big if, I admit – but if it does work, we will have Berent in our hands, and we can force him to tell the truth, for the whole NewVerse to see.” She dipped her head down a bit to force him to look at her. “Your message can go out with it, sure, but you wouldn’t have to give yourself up to the Council for something you didn’t do.”
His eyes locked onto hers and her gut twisted again. Before her was a man willing to put his life in her hands, willing to risk the Chamber to expose the truth to get justice for her murdered fiance, and she was manipulating him like some bored, conniving vamp because she suspected he cared for her. She felt like throwing up. “We had a plan, Meris, one that would keep the rest of you out of the Council’s hands. I cannot guarantee anyone’s safety or freedom if we abandon it now.”
“I know. But we’re not asking you to. We’re asking you to trust that Berent’s own nature will work against him, and that Myranda and Zac can take care of the rest. If it doesn’t work, we still have your plan to fall back on.”
He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I don’t like it, there are too many moving parts.”
Myranda threw her hands up and growled in frustration. Alazar raised a hand for her to hear him out. “But, it could work. If Zac can sell Berent on his story, and if Myranda can pretend she doesn’t know what a monster he truly is, we have a chance. But I can’t be anywhere near it. If he even suspects I know about this, he’ll bolt.”
Meris shook her head. “We’re not leaving you here.”
He covered one of her hands with one of his. “Leo can stay, if you wish. It will be down to him to get my message out to the Nexus anyway, if Zac’s plan fails.”
She chewed on her lower lip and felt anxiety crawling through her stomach. It was too much, all of it, too much to keep bearing. If it could be over, and without losing Alazar to the Council… She looked at Leo. “Will you stay with him?”
Leo nodded, but there was fear behind his eyes. “Of course.”
Alazar squeezed her hand. “It’s settled, then.” She turned back to see him smiling sadly at her. “I’ll see you soon.” Her heart broke at the look on his face. He turned to Myranda and Leo. “I’ll see you all very soon. And I will hope this will all be over when I do.”
Myranda looked him in the eye a long moment. Then she nodded. “Thank you.” Her gaze flicked to Meris. “Come on, Zac’s expecting us.”
Chapter 10 Chapter 12