Movement, traced by the faintest bright wings of rukh. A small head of messy brown hair, tucked against a woman’s dusty blue blouse as the young boy shivered in chill air. The lady herself was shackled to a bench – steel, no magoi-draining runes – deep blue eyes scared and furious enough that those shackles might be the only thing keeping her from tearing evil idiots to bits.
Alan blinked. And took a second look, where two blank-faced men in suits stood behind a stranger with a patrician air, carefully combed blond hair, and a white labcoat meticulously buttoned over his own suit.
Hidden underground lab, creatures that shouldn’t exist in tanks, and mass kidnapping. He is Hojo. Only no glasses, and less mad cackling. “Right,” Alan said dryly. “Mad scientist. Why not? I’ve run into everything else this week.”
Somewhere behind one of the tanks, there was a glimmer of rukh, like a stifled snicker. Hojo-lite’s eyes narrowed, just a hair.
Distract him. “So.” Alan spat out a bit more water, trying to link fuzzy thoughts together. Garlic, gah, why did everything taste like- oh.
No wonder I went down like a rock. Get that on your skin, it carries whatever nasty you mix it with right through. “DMSO’s illegal.”
“Ah, but so effective.” Hojo-lite was studying him, like a microbiologist who’d had something pink bloom in his Petrie dish. Why?
…And maybe it would have been better if this had happened yesterday after all, because Hojo-lite had obviously been expecting a different reaction. Namely, fear.
I’m not afraid.
Worried sick, yes. Not looking forward to pain, yes. But the fear that usually dogged his every footstep in Boston… wasn’t there.
Aladdin and everyone got away. There’s nothing of mine he can touch now. Why should I be afraid?