Shannon stretched out on the beach bed. I haven’t even looked.
Manas faces his commander. No, sir. Do you need to be reminded?A vein in Deven’s forehead bulges. You’re excused from your post until further notice.
Manas recoils with a hurt expression. He must be confused by his captain’s behavior. I rise to his aid. Captain, he is only concerned—Viraji, Manas says sharply, and then he bows and marches away.Good gods, he’s mad, I say, watching him turn the corner. Deven and I go inside my chamber, my head pulsing with every footstep.
That imperial guard uniform has gone to his head. Deven sighs at his own aggravation. Manas is tired. I’ve been overworking him.Do you think he knows we left the palace?
I doubt it, but we have to be more careful. Manas owes everything to the rajah. He will not stay silent if he believes we have wronged him. Deven helps me lie down on my bed and rearranges the pillows behind me. The linens smell of sunshine and lavender. This arrangement is for the best. Manas can get the rest he needs, and I will reassign Yatin to guard Natesa in the courtesans’ wing. While they are gone, I will look for the book.
My gaze swings to him. You’re going to look for the Zhaleh?Gemi comes in from the corridor. Ashwin convinced her to take shelter after we arrived. The demon can fly? she says.
Deven groans. Kali?I crawl to him and touch his chest. His burns have healed. His clothes are scorched, yet his skin is smooth and unblemished. How? I breathe.
I don’t know. Deven opens an arm to me. I lie down beside him and stroke his bearded chin.Ashwin looks away from us. Don’t question a mercy from the gods.