Silk and Steel
So, right now I’ve not much clue what day it is or what I’m meant to be doing my life has become even more of a yarn ball that a pack of feral kittens have been handed lol, what with Dan working from home most days, all four kiddos in lock-down mode it seems every moment mama needs a new trick up her sleeve to juggle people and pokemon and elves and spring bunnies and creepy pasta people… it’s all good fun but it just means I’ve no brain or time for much else! XD Still, this book is still flowing in the few quiet dark hours so here’s the next bit. How are your days shaping up? Hopefully better than Ros and Spyro’s… XD
‘The Yag’, Ros thought as she spun on her heel and stormed back into the house behind the shop. Who else could it possibly be? Either Spyro had acted without her knowledge… no, she immediately dismissed that possibility… or the greedy, opportunistic little Yag and his demon-bound friend had made the mistake of their lives.
Possibly the mistake of all our lives, Ros thought desperately. The colonel, a retired demon hunter who still retained a healthy appetite for adventure, owned many of the properties – both commercial and residential – out of which the associates of Silk and Steel operated. His connections to high society were, in many cases, their connections to the same and his unimpeachable reputation validated a significant number of their fronts across the city.
Ros went to the tzujka cabinet and poured herself a drink. What have you done, Vraxi? She thought furiously… and why? She had to get to the bottom of this immediately; to ascertain whether the Yag and his dumb-waiter had acted on impulse or if they had taken on the job from someone higher up the chain, in either case she would have to make an example of them some how, but if the latter were so she needed to find out who they were working for before she pounced.
She left the drawing room and wound her way through to the cramped little cupboard they used for doing accounts, easing the door open with her hip.
Spyro, half hidden behind piles of old books, gilt framed paintings and mounds of paperwork, looked up from his desk as she entered.
“Busy?” she asked, handing him a tzujka .
“Always. But never too busy.” he replied, his dark eyes drinking in her appearance in a way that made it quite obvious what he was thinking.
Ros shook her head. “We need to put a tighter leash on our firey little friend.” she said seriously, taking the only other chair in the tiny over-stocked room.
Spyro leant back and steepled his fingers. “Again?” he asked, and Ros narrowed her eyes at his ambiguous tone, unsure exactly what he was thinking. She shot him a warning look but he merely smiled and said nothing.
“His unwitting actions have rocked the boat.” she said tartly. “Seriously this time I’m afraid; the colonel is very upset and although he hasn’t said as much, I think we’re going to feel the crushing blow of his displeasure before too long.”
“Ah, I meant to find out where that pair got their hands on four vials of demonsong…” Spyro tapped his fingers together thoughtfully. “In wrapping up the Pav’shamah contracts and trying to manage the carnage the Doctor has left us with, I placed the question on a back burner.”
“Well, the matter is now a pressing one.” Ros said firmly. “I need to know… we need to know, if they decided on a whim to add the colonel’s property to the list of jewel grabs we told them to make …”
“What would be the logic in that?” Spyro asked. “All the houses we listed were on the East side of the city – that serves the strategy of our purpose in angering those who are most likely to blame the duke for the rise in crime and to paint him as incompetent in the public eye. The colonel’s town house is on the west side. They would have had to go considerably out of their way to include it just for the sake of a few pastes.”
Spyro opened a desk drawer, pulled out a bag and emptied a collection of necklaces, brooches and bangles onto the desk. To the untrained eye they were very convincing but neither Spyro nor Ros needed to examine them to tell at once they were fake.
“And the demonsong.” Ros added.
Spyro shrugged, “I rather thought that was an unexpected find. They tried to sell it to me in the same haul as the jewels.”
“And you didn’t tell me?”
Spyro looked uncharactaristicly strained for a second. He put a hand over his eyes and massaged his temples with his thumb and forefinger. “If you recall…” he said, looking up again through his fringe of dark curls, “things got a little intense that night.”
Ros’s expression softened a little, and she reached across the table and stroked her partner’s hand. It was not a sympathetic gesture; rather one which exerted her power over his need. But they both smiled at the action – they had played this game for a long time afterall and, despite its constant cadence there was trust, there had to be.
“So, you think the jewel grab was pre-planned but the demonsong was an unexpected bonus?” Ros asked, frowining slightly when Spryo closed his hand over hers, preventing her from withdrawing easily.
He held it for a moment, moving his thumb slowly over her fingers, and then finally spread his palms and shrugged. “I honestly have no idea.”
Ros nodded. “I will ask the Doctor to have a word with him this time.”
Spyro shook his head, “Leave it with me.” he said, in a tone that did not invite dispute. “Bane is far too tightly woven into our inner circle to risk scaring him off.”
“I doubt Vraxi would ever betray us knowingly.”
“True. But a frightened fox will bolt for any hole. We want to draw him in closer, not scare him away.”
Ros nodded and bit her lip, fully grasping the implications of what he was saying.
“Leave him to me.” Spyro repeated. “I know how to put Bane in his place.”
He tapped the ledger he was writing in with his pen. “I’ll be done here by one, tell him to come to lunch.”