White Wyrms Chapter 55: She's a Spy
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As Ann worked on her paperwork, she allowed Drepal to wake. Her other half had improved so much over the years that Ann trusted her. Despite what they told people, they got along.
Is Andy teaching karate? Drepal asked.
He is. They could feel the hits as he sparred with someone.
What are you working on? Drepal asked.
A report to Ertonia. Then there are the citizenship papers and an invitation to the high council for the cross-kingdom competition.
Can’t you just talk to Nim or Pt’this?
The invitation will be given to Nim to take to the council. It’s the proper way.
What about the dwarves?
I’ll send an invitation to the Chieftain Council. They can decide how to pick representatives to come.
How will we pick?
The top students from each school.
We’ll go to protect Ruzi, won’t we?
Of course. He’s family. And it’ll be in Menthanla. The elves aren’t ready for that kind of invasion.
Are we? Drepal was thinking of the visit with the Yarbs.
We handled them and trolls and immortals. We’ll be fine. We’re friends with those invited.
You’re too confident, Drepal accused.
And you’re too suspicious.
Drepal smiled and Ann wondered what others would think if they saw them talking.
She found Pisha and Tercala’s citizen applications, but hadn’t received Sinta’s. She sent a page to have Norka schedule the ceremony while she went to the clerk’s office.
“I’m looking for Sinta tre Erkita's citizenship request form,” she told the clerk on duty.
The clerk looked for the paperwork. “It’s been put on hold,” he reported.
“On hold? For what?” Ann frowned.
“Apparently, she’s shown evidence of being a spy.”
“Spy? She’s an ambassador.” Shunati was the spy, sort of.
“I’m sorry. The request is on hold pending an investigation. You’ll need to talk with your father.”
Ann nodded. The clerk couldn’t really do anything. Emeton was holding court this morning. Remtani would be a better one to talk to, or possibly Rejenn. He’d be the one to investigate any claims of spies. She found him in the barracks reading to his son, Merban.
“No school?” She asked.
“He had a sore throat last night. Darkham took care of him this morning, but I wanted to keep an eye on him.
Ann nodded. Rejenn had been left sterile as a child by a neglected illness that would’ve been harmless if treated. Because of this, he was a little paranoid about his adopted children getting sick.
Rejenn put the boy down. “Go play in the other room. Ann, what do you need?”
“I was told Sinta is being investigated as a spy.”
“Oh, that.” Rejenn waved it off. “It’s a common procedure when a noble is seeking citizenship.”
“Since when?” Ann frowned.
Rejenn shrugged. “That’s what I was told.”
“The duty captain. I should be done in a couple of weeks.”
“Weeks? Dad wants to do a combined ceremony for her, Pisha, and Tercala, so he can use that as an excuse to push Pisha citizenship.”
“Is he worried the elders will change their mind about their leniency?”
Ann nodded. “Or that she and Thailyn will get themselves marked for death.”
Rejenn raised an eyebrow and smiled. “Ti’s been holding out on me.”
“There’s not a lot to tell. Thailyn’s courting her. They’re bonding.”
Ann nodded. “Of course. They’re letting the bond get stronger before mating, though, because of Thailyn’s heart.”
“So should we expect to get woken up some night, or is he more like Nim?”
“No, he fully intends to let the whole city know.”
“How did no one in Thager know about him and your mom?”
“He took Darina to his cabin near Bisfip. There are enough dragons there, no one thought twice.”
“That makes sense.”
Ann paused for a moment. “Speaking of my mother, you looked into her death. Do you know who commissioned the theft?”
Rejenn shook his head. “I didn’t find a name. Would you like me to look into it?”
“If you have time. It’s not like it matters after all this time, but I’m curious.”
Rejenn nodded. “I’ll talk with the guy who took over that part of Merrada’s business.”
Merrada had run most of the organized crime in Thager for several decades. The rest had been run by a man named Kritalla, though he had done it strictly to put Merrada out of business.
Rejenn had worked for Merrada as an informant. When Merrada was killed, his empire split and Rejenn kept the information network going. He now did the same thing on a larger scale for Prince Remtani and King Emeton.
“And talk to your brother about Sinta being a spy,” Rejenn suggested. “I probably know every spy in the palace.”
“She’d be spying on us, not for us,” Ann clarified.
Rejenn nodded. “I know. What kind of job would I be doing if I only controlled the information coming in?”
Ann smiled. “You were born for this job.”
Rejenn just grinned.
Ann went to find Remtani next. He was in Andy’s beginner karate class. He’d encouraged his soldiers to learn, but had avoided it himself. In a fight without magic, sometimes the only way Ann would be able to beat him was that she knew karate and he didn’t. Even after the spell had been removed, he’d worried he’d still attack her. He was finally starting to trust himself.
Ann waited until the class was over.
“Looking good,” she told her brother as she approached.
“Really?” He looked surprised.
“You’ve taken what, four classes?”
“Then yes, really.”
Remtani frowned. “What did you need besides to mock me?”
“When did we start checking for spies among those applying for citizenship?”
Remtani’s eyebrows crinkled. “We didn’t.”
“Sinta’s citizenship was put on hold pending an investigation into her being a spy. Rejenn told me the duty captain said it was standard procedure.”
“No, it’s not. I’ll look into this and I’ll clear Sinta. I already know she’s a spy anyway.”
“The elders don’t trust Shunati’s information so they talk with her. Everything we tell Shun is accurate, so they don’t question it. The rest she tells is gossip, mostly gotten from Shun.” He led her back to Rejenn’s office.
“Rejenn, where is the form for investigating Sinta?”
Rejenn pulled out the paperwork.
Remtani marked it cleared. “What were you planning on doing with this?”
Rejenn shrugged. “I figured I’d look into the specific claims and clear her.”
Remtani nodded. “Look into the accusers instead.” He gave Ann the form to take back to the clerk.