Part 37: Chapter Eleven - pt.1
It seemed as if she had been waiting for me...
...Because as soon as my I closed my eyes, she appeared before me. «I was betrayed, she said, my faithful have repudiated me. You are the only thing that remains with me, my soul, my inseparable connection......would ask you to come, but I can not guess where my feet have brought me myself. In fear, I fled from the theatre, descended the stairs, ran into the yard that was more difficult to get into, hid in a small house that was surrounded by three bigger ones... You can not approach the windows, and there is nobody alive here who could answer me...
...Come if you can find me, comfort me and I shall comfort you in return... »
Another letter was waiting for her beside the bed when she woke up. What a surprise.
This Aglaea Lilich ignores all rules! Not only did she protect the demons, fail at her chief task, appropriate the results of other peoples work and distort other peoples victory, but now she treats the Town like its conquered enemy territory! This will not stand.
You are now allowed to go to her and demand your answers like she demanded from you before. Give it a try, Klara, give it a try... What if something interesting comes out of this?
So, an authorisation from an anonymous source? Whom was she supposed to refer to? No matter. If it was wanted from her, then she would do it, and things would work out somehow.
Why did you come? I already know everything I wanted to know about you, Living Plague.
I wanted to tell you an amazing thing...
Did you? What is it? Actually, nevermind that. There is a more pressing issue now. It is time to do away with the Bachelor. His games are over. Deliver this letter to Mr. Dankovsky. It says that he is divested of all authority and accused of high treason. If he opens it in your presence and asks for your advice tell him itd be better if he shot himself.
I thought you were friends...
What? Friends? Certainly, obviously not! Right now, the Bachelor is no less of a terrible enemy to the town and the people than Ms. Sand Plague herself.
You see, this town is a homogeneous structure. Or a living organism, depending on your point of view. It can be compared to a system of interconnected organs, or better yet, a clockwork. The clock keeps doing while the mechanism performs correctly. But it takes only one foreign body in the gears to cause it to stop working...
And what does he have to do with this?
Bachelor Dankovsky took the liberty of doubting this obvious fact. He seems to be aiming at destroying the town an administrative unit and a demographic entity that belongs to our country for the sake of a detestable fata morgana! Im going to stop him.
There is no longer need to destroy it, Inquisitor. Trust me...
We can talk about it when you come back. Give this letter to the Bachelor. Although dont have a slightest idea where one should be looking for him. Perhaps, his new ally is informed of his plans better.
Who is the new ally?
General Cinder, iron teeth, thats who! The two destroyers sing in unison. Killing is a snap for people like them.
Ill find the Bachelor. Do not worry.
Let him worry. I have no reason to.
As many times before, Klara was being sent on an errand by the very person she was supposed to interrogate. Such was the Way. It was better not to question it.
With letter in hand, she walked to the Town Hall, to ask the General about Dankovskys possible location.
I need the Bachelor. Is he with you?
No. He is not here. And I advise you against going where he went.
Where did he go?
The mutineers have captured the architect, Andrei Stamatin. Your Bachelor took the news close to heart. He decided to break him out.
There was a mutiny? I havent seen any fighting...
They have captured the big cannon and continue to defend it. All of them are currently there except for those who started pillaging the town. Dont even think about going there; we will handle it ourselves.
What are you going to do?
Im gathering those who are still true to the oath. When I establish the order in my troops, we will recapture the cannon. I will head the loyal units personally.
It will be too late... They will execute the Bachelor by then.
I have no options. I am responsible for the order and must follow the instructions. Besides, I feel that Bachelor Dankovsky will somehow manage to get out. He is not the one to just let them put a bullet through his temple.
For a second Klara thought about what she was doing. Trying to deliver a note to Bachelor because Aglaea hoped he would kill himself? Was it the best thing she could be doing at the moment given the circumstances?
On the other hand, it was either that or starting to round up the «volunteers» for the...
Klara started walking again, even faster, towards the giant cannon.
At one of the stub tracks stood a single freight car guarded by an executor. Another Adherent had succumbed to the disease. And Klara didnt even know who they were.
There were smaller cannons around as well, all positioned to fire at the town at any moment, but they were dwarfed by the main one.
Just a little further from the station she noticed a group of soldiers. They were scattered behind several large boulders, hiding from another group that could be seen further ahead.
One of the soldiers hissed at her, gesturing for her to come closer.
Who are you? Are you here on somebodys instructions?
Yes. I am.
Listen, our officer has been shot, twice. We have them pinned behind those boulders, but he could bleed to death.
Ill bandage him. You lead the attack.
Well wait until reinforcements arrive, and then we will drive them away.
Your commander is wounded. And there will be no reinforcements.
She walked towards the wounded man, who was dressed just like everyone else, without any insignia.
He was still conscious, if somewhat delirious. He grabbed the rifle with his one functioning hand and aimed it at the Impostress.
Klara brushed the barrel aside softly he was so weak! and knelt in front of him.
She was finding it a little hard to focus though: part of her couldnt help but observe the developments.
In the corner of her eye, she saw the man that had assumed command, summoning the rest of the team.
When everybody gathered, he shouted a command and the platoon stormed off.
Almost immediately the rattle of gunfire could be heard from somewhere near the tracks.
Klara squinted in that direction and saw people in uniform running around, firing at each other, fighting hand-to-hand...
It was difficult to understand who was winning, since everybodys was wearing the same uniform.
Soon the sounds died down, and she saw some of the uniformed men approaching. She looked down at the commander shed been treating. The bullet holes had already skinned over. She found some dirty bandage in her pocket and wrapped around him quickly to conceal that fact.
It turned out that the approaching man was the same soldier from before. He bent over his commander, noticing that the bleeding had stopped, breathing had become even and the man was asleep.
Impressive. I wont be asking any needless questions. Thank you. Are you a sister of mercy?
That is, in fact exactly what I am. I heard you had executed Andrei Stamatin, an architect. A man in a light-grey coat, with a motley handkerchief sticking out from his pocket?
We didnt do anything like that. Its the mutineers who conduct executions. But your architect could still be alive. There still were living prisoners when we engaged them.
I need this architect very much! It is important!
I understand. There was a man fitting this description among the survivors. I saw him in the beginning of the skirmish; he was accompanied by the Inquisitors aide, the Bachelor. He was pale and was holding his side. Bachelor must have taken him home.
Klara hurried to Whirlpool.
But Bachelors second floor apartment was completely empty. The door was not locked and oil was still burning in a lantern, but it was possible that Daniel had left in a hurry.
But she didnt find them in Andreis twyrine den either. Two out of two; the soldiers intuition proved completely wrong.
Since she was already in Land, she decided to check Petrs house as well. Maybe Dankovsky had managed to spare a powder to save his Adherent from Sand Fever.
But no; the executor was still in place. Against her better judgement, Klara decided to demand audience.
Behind this door is the victim of your incompetence. The casualty of your disregard for your calling.
Stop cawing, beakhead! Here, I have a panacea. Now let me in, Ill cure the man.
Give it to me. It is I, who brings them back from the other world.
Perhaps the nicer of the brothers would be thankful enough to tell her of some hiding place or give some clues as to where Andrei and Dankovsky could have g...