The Prefects filed back into their side of the chamber. Linsora noted that some were red-faced and grim, some looked calm. None of them looked pleased. None of them looked like they had been influenced to feel generous. By a slim margin, they had agreed to grant her a month to survey the Forbidden Area. Supplies and manpower would be provided, whatever she needed. Strict security and reporting protocols would be established.
As she stepped down from the podium, she felt a light breeze in her mind that tasted like the spray from waves on the Green Sea. Not the feel of Permac, and certainly not Gordek. She felt pleased, as though she had been congratulated. In a far corner of the Prefecture, hidden from Linsora, a man leaned against the wall, his arms folded. The slight smile on his face was interrupted by a scar that ran down the length of his cheek from just beneath his left eye, toward his mouth and ending at his jaw. Another bruise, by now a dull purple, marked his neck.
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