In Sheep’s Clothing – 10.19

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My head rocked side to side, while my eye remained locked onto the Baron, who slouched against the wall, chest rising and falling.  Now and then he twitched, or he tried to breathe and found his nose clogged, and snorted out a wad of bloody mucus.  I wasn’t sure why his nose was bleeding when I’d pierced him through the eye, but I didn’t mind.  Once proud and arrogant, the nobleman drooled.

Candida’s ministrations at the side of my head continued, jarring me and moving my head this way and that.  I was being bandaged, pieced back together.  If I’d had two eyes, one would have been on the door, in case the Baron’s elite soldiers wondered at the silence, and one would have remained on the Baron while I convinced myself that it was really over.  As it was, I kept my eye on the Baron and kept my ears out for trouble.

As my other senses went, my instincts were that the soldiers wouldn’t intrude.  He wasn’t the type that encouraged others to stick their necks out on his behalf – he was too fond of beheadings and slit throats.

“Almost done,” Candida murmured.  Her face was so close to my bandaged ear that I could feel her breath.  She squinted.  She fumbled for and then took hold of my most intact hand and raised it up to the side of my head, where the bandages had been set, “Hold this in place for a second.”

I did.

I could hear the ripping sound as she tore at the dress the Baron had given her, turning it into strips.  She tended to my hand.

The Baron raised his head up, very suddenly, and then let it drop.  It lolled.  One of his hands moved a great deal, fidgeting, the other remained still, as if the symmetry of his body had been absolutely broken.

“We still need to get out of here,” Candida said, her voice hushed.

“Talk louder,” I said, my voice a croak.  The wound at the base of it had been closed.  “They won’t hear the words.  Hearing speech, they’ll be less suspicious.”

“I don’t know how you can talk,” she said.  It seemed to take some effort for her to speak with more confidence.  “The way I cut into your throat… I’m a hack when it comes to medicine, my knowledge is piecemeal, things Drake and the primordial text taught me.”

“Third time,” I croaked the words, touching my throat.  “Throat slashed, first time.  Then dog.  Then the burrower worm.  Think… doctors were proactive, second or third time.  Relocated bits.”

“That doesn’t sound like any way to live,” Candida said.  Her hand found and touched the back of my head, stroking my hair.

My first impulse was to argue the point, but my mind, even as tired as it was, was quick to jump to why, to call up counterpoints, to draw conclusions.  Before I even asked for it, I thought about those days.  The early days of the Lambs.  After my throat surgery, I’d been rendered mute for a week, on strict orders not to speak or laugh.  Gordon had had a field day, teasing me.

I wanted to tell Candida that she was wrong, that those days had been the good days, but the thought of Gordon made emotion well up in my throat, and some combination of being choked up, trying to talk, and the damage to my throat left me hacking out some fantastically painful coughs instead.

“Thank you for coming,” Candida said.  She’d dropped her voice again, despite my urging to the contrary no more than a minute ago.  “Thank you for killing him.  For rescuing me.”

Still suppressing my coughs, I nodded.

“I thought you’d take longer.  I thought, maybe, that by the time you came, I wouldn’t have any fight left in me.  It’s stupid, I hate feeling weak, but everything I did, every change I had made, to be stronger, fiercer, he had the doctors take it away.”

“You get it back,” I croaked.  I coughed some more, and then climbed down off of the stage.  “After we leave.  You go to Drake.  Understand?”

“It sounds too good to be true.”

Someone should get a happy ending, I thought.

I checked my pockets, and found them largely empty.  All I had was the ribbon and the empty syringe, now.  I approached the Baron, periodically glancing at the door.  I stopped roughly ten feet short of the man himself.

Laboriously climbing to the ground, I swept my hand along the stone floor, brushing up the dust.

“I’ll help,” Candida said.

“No,” I said.  “Poison.”

And you can barely see.

All of the poison that I’d dashed into the air while trying to drive back the Baron had gone somewhere – and most of it had gone down.  Now I collected it again, with a side helping of the dust that had layered the floor of the unused church.

Once I had two piles of the dust in hand, I gently transitioned it over to a bench.  I stared at it, thinking.

I ached, every single part of me, from the physical to the mental to the emotional.  Staying still and thinking of nothing in particular meant not hurting.  Not hurting that much, anyway.

The plan was straightforward, the execution simple and very possibly easy, depending on how things unfolded.  But the plan in and of itself, for reasons entirely separate from the execution, was the furthest thing from easy.

I was shaking, I realized, and I had no idea why.  The chill in the air combined with me being soaked in sweat?  Suppressed emotion?  Shock?

“Sylvester?” Candida spoke, venturing.  “Are you still there?”

I raised my eye from the pile of poison.  “Yes.”

“Are you okay?”

I couldn’t bring myself to respond.  I would have choked up, started coughing again.  Even nodding would have been a bad lie, and I didn’t have it in me.  Shaking my head would mean making an admission to both Candida and to myself that would have brought tears to my eye.  If that happened, it could be treacherous.  A tell for Mary to use to know that something was wrong.  I’d already given her so many.

A huge part of me didn’t want to move forward.  I wanted to just stay where I was, hurting, in the candlelit church, and postpone the next hour, the next few days.

I managed to convince myself that if I stayed still for one second longer, I wouldn’t ever be able to move.  “Help me move the Baron.”

“I’m not very strong, Sylvester.  I could barely lift the sword.”

“I know,” I said, my voice reedy.  “I know.  Just help.”

She gave me a nod.

I took one arm, and Candida took the other.  It was very possible that she weighed twice what I did, and she wasn’t exhausted and hurting to quite the same extent I was, in the end, but she only contributed roughly as much as I did as we managed to drag the Baron around.  We left him between the first and second pews on the far end of the church.

“Is this good enough?” Candida asked.

“No,” I said.  I walked over to the nearest corpse that had been nailed to the pew, and I dismantled it.  I took the first armful of rags and scattered bones, and draped them over the Baron, camouflaging him.

I was midway through my second trip when Candida got over her shock and horror and began to assist me.  She could only see the vaguest of shapes, but the white bone against dark wood and darker stone seemed distinct enough for her to work with.

When we were done, I stopped, and I watched the Baron’s chest rise and fall.  One of his hands still twitched, dancing like the entirety of his ability to move had been trapped in the one extremity.  I paid mind to the corpse that draped him, a woman, if I judged by the hips.

“I hope she would be happy, knowing she helped,” I said.

Candida nodded, but she wasn’t able to bring herself to even face the scene.  With eyes as bad as hers were, she was still unwilling to look at it.

“This next part,” I croaked, “It’s on you.  You’re going to go to the side door of the church.  You’re going to open it.  You’re going to talk to the soldiers standing guard.”

I expected her to balk, to give me another excuse.  But her offer to help earlier had been earnest and carried over even to this, and I seemed to have her trust.

“You tell them the Baron wants me taken to Richmond House.  To amuse himself with.  To interrogate.”

She nodded.

“Repeat it.”

“They’re to take you to Richmond House, for the Baron’s amusement and later interrogation.”

“Make yourself smaller, weaker,” I said.  “While you’re at it, scratch at that cut on your neck.  Open it up, so it bleeds.  Then hide it, keep your arms up and in front of you…”

I watched her as she moved her arms, thumbnail working at the cut until blood trickled down.  She held them up, more of a fighter’s style than anything.

“Wrists closer together, elbows out.  Head down.  Like the world is a bad place and your arms are the only thing between you and that badness.  Like you’re a child again, and cover that wound.  They’ll see the trickle of blood.”

“They’re going to wonder where he is,” she said.

“If they wonder, then say he’s in the back of the church, he’s angry, because I hurt him, but he doesn’t want the guards to know, so tell the guards they need to be very, very quiet.  They’ll know-”

“They’ll be quiet, if I say that,” Candida said.  “Definitely.”

She understood how things worked here, then.

I nodded.

“And you?” she asked.

I walked around the first pew, and I scooped up the dust I’d collected, a fistful in each hand.  I made my way to the carpeted space between the first pew and the stage.  Slowly, carefully, I lowered myself to the cold stone floor, curling up in a fetal position, fists held tight to my chest.

“Just like that,” she said.

“I’ll need the sword,” I croaked.  “And you’ll need the knife that’s lying somewhere, just in case.  Let me know if you can’t find it.”

She brought me the rapier.  I raised myself up, indicating where she should set the rapier, and then lay down on top of the blade, the length of it running between my arm and my ribs.

Once I was settled and sure I wasn’t going to slice myself by lying the wrong way, I let my head drop down to rest on the floor, bandaged side down.  Once there, I altered my breathing, making it hyperventilation-quick, coinciding with sharp movements, as if I was in pain.  It was the convulsing of a dying rabbit, a pig that had been struck in the spine with a blade, but without enough force to instantly kill it.

“When?” she asked.

“Give it a minute.  Let the silence sit with them.”

The side door had had three soldiers stationed there, last I’d seen.  If it was four, this got that much harder.

I lay there, controlling my convulsed breathing, listening as Candida paced.

When the door opened, I suspected it caught Candida and I both by surprise.  Small fortune that it was the side door that creaked open.

“My lady,” one of the soldier’s voices echoed through the church.

Then silence.  It took me a second to realize that Candida had raised her finger to her lips, shushing the man.

Good of her, to do that.  It would be ideal if she didn’t expand on that, if she let their imaginations draw the conclusions instead of relying on her words to do it.

I couldn’t make out the words of the conversation that followed, only the tone.  I wanted to give more pointers, even though I doubted it mattered.  She would be playing the battered fiancee, looking after the aftermath of one of her husband’s sadistic games.

Hearing the footsteps, I knew that it was two men approached me, not three.  I was dimly aware of Candida hanging back, closer to the door.

The third was still watching the door.  Was he watching this?

That would be a problem.

Still, I would do what I could.  Two was easier to deal with in the short term, if not the long.

They bent over me, and I resisted their initial efforts to budge me, keeping my body stiff and curled up.  As one hooked an arm under my armpit and the other seized my knees, I moved.  Nothing sudden.  Sudden would have caught them off guard.

Fluid, easy movement, raising one hand to my mouth, then blowing through my fist, expelling a cloud of dust.  Before the one at my feet could react, I moved, hurling the fistful in the direction of his face.

Both stumbled away, coughing and choking.  Their efforts to take in breath only choked them more, and they were nearly silent.  The person still at the open door would hear, I suspected, but the ones at the front door wouldn’t.

My movements felt glacially slow as I got my feet under me, picking myself up off the ground, taking up the sword.  Every muscle that I used to lift and thrust with the sword resisted me, pushing almost in the opposite direction.  The soldier at my feet was my first target, and the rapier thrust beneath his sternum and up into the space between his ribs.  I stumbled to one side, levering the blade inside him, but it was far less than I’d hoped for.  It made a sucking noise as I pulled it free.

I half-turned, facing the other one that I’d blinded and suffocated, and swung the blade around.  I caught the soldier’s face instead of his neck, summoned the strength, and then swung again.  It bit deep into the neck and shoulder, and blood started spurting out of the wound in a rhythmic fashion.

I looked to the door.  Candida was there, on her knees, her arms around the third soldier.  He must have seen her as weak or inconsequential, a bleed-over of the Baron’s attitudes, overlooking her in the moment of crisis.  She’d managed to grab him from behind probably with one hand to his mouth, and she’d opened his throat.

Carefully, I divested the man I’d stabbed of his pistol.  I tucked it into my belt, at the small of my back, and pulled my shirt down over it.

I gave Candida a hand, helping her to rise to her feet.  I then had her wait, while I peered out the open door, checking to see if the coast was clear.

I saw a flash.  Light reflected off of a mirror or a very well-polished blade.


“There’s a signal.  A friend.”

“We could have used a friend in here.”

One hand went out to my left, indicating that one side.

One flash.

I switched sides, indicating the right.

Two flashes.

That meant there was probably one soldier at one corner of the building, and two at the other.

I indicated the way forward, hand out in front of me like I was offering a handshake.

A long pause, then one flash.  No soldier, followed by the universal one-for-yes, two-for-no.

The dance.  Coordination, knowing how each of us thought.  I felt a pang.

“Go,” I said.

My injured chest hurt with each deep breath I had to take while running.  Candida had a much longer stride than I did, but she wasn’t quick.  She was blind, reliant on my lead, and the alterations to her muscles, the removal of the enhanced strength she’d sought, it impacted her ability to move.  I thought her more akin to an animated doll in the way that only some limbs could move, and only in certain ways or on certain planes.  Arms that could raise and lower, but not stretch out to either side.  Legs and hips that were much the same.

We made it across the street before anyone started shouting.

The soldiers started toward us, but it wasn’t the whole contingent.  Others were going inside, to check on the Baron.  They would find their fellow soldiers first.  Wariness would slow them down.

Not so for the ones chasing us.  They were faster, picking up speed.  Only a winding path and the use of corners for cover spared us from gunshots.  That, and perhaps a fear of bringing on the wrath of Firstborn or of angering a Baron who wanted us alive rather than dead.

We reached the building where the flashing had originated from.  A door was wide open, Mary, Chance, and Lainie on the other side.  We hurried through, and Mary closed it after us, turning the deadbolt.

“You killed him?” Mary asked me.  It was almost accusatory.  You got to kill him and I had to sit around doing nothing?

I coughed in response.

“Are you okay?” was her second question.

“Alive,” I croaked.  “Mary, meet Candi- Emily.  Emily, meet Mary, Lainie, and Chance.”

“Call me Candida,” Candida said, between gasps for breath.  “Emily is… gone?  Maybe I’ll be Emily again when I get stronger.  When I get my horns and my eyes back.”

“Candida, then,” I said.

“I picked locks, we have a route through, we can shut doors behind us,” Mary said.

All business.  I nodded.  Business was the last thing I wanted to attend to.

“I’ve got two wire traps, I left the rest of-”

“Take them down,” I croaked.


“Take them down,” I said, again, fiercer.  “We’re wrapping up.  Can’t leave any leads.  Wire traps are too you.  Too Mary.”

“I’ll catch up, then,” Mary said.  “Chance, Lainie, you show them the doors I opened.”

“We’ll go to the train station, find a spot nearby,” I said.  “The trains come several times a day.”

Mary nodded, “Chance, take my bag?”

Chance nodded.  He looked wary.

“Almost done,” I croaked the words.

I felt a pang of loss.  I didn’t blink, because I worried it might squeeze excess moisture out of my eyes.  I had to be stoic, inhuman.

It was merciful, in a way, that someone banged on the door, distracting everyone in the room.  A window at one side of the house broke.

They’d seen us enter.  Now they were giving chase.  Some would be circling the building.

We cut through the house, entering the side-street, where Mary parted ways with us.  Chance led the way as we crossed that street to another house, where a door was only slightly ajar.  We cut through that house as well, then a third, deadbolting and flipping latches where we went.

She was a clever girl.  The doors, setting out the escape route, laying traps, it was smart.  I’d asked her to use her head while I saw to the fighting, and she’d done so in a very Mary way.  The traps were unfortunate, but she couldn’t have known.

I was left pretty damn secure in feeling that we were out of the soldier’s reach, after the third house.  We were able to slow down, making our way toward the train station.  Not terribly far.

Once we were a fair distance away, we found a place to hunker down, not on the north side of the tracks where the landing was, but across the tracks, on the far side.  The occupants would exit onto the landing, and we would hopefully be able to sneak onto the train and hitch a ride out of town.

Time to leave Warrick.

“You said-” Chance said.  He startled a little as I snapped my head around to look at him.  “You said you would let me go?  That you wouldn’t kill me, like you did the doctors.”

“I suppose I did,” I said, my voice rasping.

“Lainie too?”

I saw Lainie shrink into herself.

“Lainie can’t go home,” I said.  The words were painful to utter.  Can’t go home.

They seemed even more painful for her to hear.

“I’ll scream,” Lainie said, her voice firm in a very tremulous way, as if that firmity would crumble at the slightest touch.  “I’ll bring down hell on our heads, guards, soldiers, Firstborn…  I’m sorry, Chance.”

“No,” Chance said, “Don’t be sorry.”

The young gentleman.

“Lainie,” Candida said.  “He’s not a bad-”

“He’s going to kill me,” Lainie said, abrupt, interrupting.  “He’s going to kill me because I know things.  He told the Infante that he would punish me, that-”

“No,” I said, my voice hard.

I paused, taking in a breath, “No.  You live, Lainie.  But you can’t go home.”

The change in her expression, it was as if what I was saying was even more terrifying than the idea of dying.

Perhaps death was a great mystery, but the idea of never going home again was something she could understand.

“No,” she said.  Her eyes were as wide as they could get.  They might have been puppy dog eyes, but they were too haunted.  “I tried.”

“The Infante saw you.  He said he would check up on you,” I said.  “He wanted you punished.  If you show your face, if you reach out to family, give him or them any clue at all, he’ll see to it that you suffer the worst sort of fate.”

“No, please.”

“It’s not up to me,” I said.  “The only thing you can do is to stay away.  Keep your distance.  So long as he never sees hide or hair of you, his imagination will fill in the blanks, and he’ll believe you’ll have suffered.”

“I’ll stay away for a few years, then.  Five years?  Won’t that be enough?”

“No, Lainie.”

“Ten?  Fifteen?  Twenty?”

“No,” I said, again.  “He remembered one incident from when you were a newborn, didn’t he?  Fourteen or fifteen years ago?  He’ll remember your face.”

Lainie’s hands went to her mouth.

I screwed my eye closed and turned my face away as I heard the cry pass through her lips.  It felt so real and tangible that it almost physically pained me to listen to.

“Candida will look after you in the short term,” I said.

Deaf ears.

“I will too,” Chance said.  I could hear the emotion in his voice.  “I will too, I’ll be with you, okay Lainie?”

Her broken wail shifted tone.  She threw herself into his arms, and he hugged her.

I was only barely able to push down the vicious jealousy I felt, seeing that.  She had family.

I turned away, looking out the window.  In the doing, I glimpsed Mary, who had made her silent entrance.

“Traps disarmed,” Mary said.  “I’ve removed some of the etched guides I put into the wood, too.”

“Good,” I said.

“You said you’d lose,” Mary said.  Back to the accusatory.

“Couldn’t break away,” I said.  My voice sounded like an old man’s, with all of the requisite tiredness.

“I came here to contribute.  I wanted to end him, for Lillian.  Then you, what, you fought him?  You told me to stay back, look for an opportunity, think about how to tackle the problem, and you went and fought him yourself?”

“I had help,” I said.

“I don’t understand what you’re thinking, Sy,” she said.  “Why?  Why all this?  Is it Gordon?  Are you doing what you did with Jamie?  Trying to be some golden warrior, tackling problems head-on?  Are there other reasons?”

I couldn’t give her an answer.  I glanced out the window.

She reached forward, putting her hands on my shoulders.  Her face was too close to mine.  “Look at me, Sy.”

I did.

There were tears in her eyes.  Seeing them made tears threaten to well up in mine.

“I’ve never seen you like this,” she said.  “I’m asking because I care about you.”

My already ravaged voice was rendered hollow.  My mouth moved, but the words didn’t come.  Not on the first try.

“I care about you too,” I managed.  The rest of the words followed without my bidding.  “I love you, Mary Cobourn.  You’re my family.”

She let the distance between us close.  Her forehead touched mine, resting there.  Her eyes were closed.

If I ask, she’ll come with me.

How long ago was it, now, that I was told I should be more selfish?

Lillian would understand, given time.  She had the others.

“Mary, I-”


We’d interrupted each other.  The rest of my words went unsaid.  I’ll explain.  Just hear me out.

“You first,” I said, the words heavy, the choked-up feeling threatening to send me off into another coughing fit.

“Sy,” Mary said, she straightened, hands on her hips.  “If nothing else, you have to tell me how you managed to do it.”

I opened my mouth to speak, and only a cough came out.

“How did you kill him?” Mary asked.

“He’s alive,” Candida said, before I could stop her.

“What?” Chance, Mary, and Lainie all said at the same time, with minor variation.

“He’s alive.  He’s just, not there anymore,” Candida said.  “A syringe, right into the eye.”

“Syringe?  The anticoagulant?” Mary asked.  I saw her eyes move, the thoughts clicking into place.  “Wyvern.”

“Wyvern,” I said.

This time, when she seized my shoulders, it was forceful, fingers digging into flesh.  “Are you an idiot?”

Now Chance and Lainie seemed just as frightened of Mary as they’d been of me.  Lainie had seemed to forget to cry, and was staring at the ongoing dialogue.  Candida seemed to be realizing that she’d said something wrong.

“It’s part of the plan,” I said.

“The plan?  Sy, they’ll do a checkup, they’ll find the wyvern, and they’ll know it’s you!”

“They’ll think it’s Fray,” I lied.

“You don’t know that.  Your disappearance, the timing, the- no, this wasn’t the way to do it!”

“It makes sense,” I said.

“No, Sy.  If they even suspect you, it’ll tie our hands, they’ll start questioning everything!  This-” her voice broke a little.  “We don’t have much time, Sy.  A handful of years.  Two to five, with the rest of the Lambs.  If they cancel the project-”

“They won’t.  They can’t.  They need the Lambs to hunt down the biggest threats to the Academy.  There’ll be bluster, and threats, but they’ve mostly tied their hands at this stage.  They don’t have enough smart special weapons.”

Her fingers continued to dig into my shoulders, suggesting how little I’d convinced her.  “You can’t be sure.”

“That is one thing I’m positive of,” I said.  “I wouldn’t have done it this way otherwise.”

“If they cancel the Lambs,” Mary said, again.  She didn’t finish the thought.

“They won’t,” I reassured her.

“All I want, is to be a Lamb.  From the very beginning, with Percy, I thought I would be part of something bigger, part of a team.  Then Percy let me down, and you raised me back up.  The rest of you, you helped me become something I’m proud of.  Even better than what Percy could have done with me.”

“Are you proud of working for the Academy?” I asked, knowing full well that I shouldn’t.  “The Crown?”

“I-” she started.

I could push.  I could make her side with me.

I didn’t push.  I let her organize her thoughts.

“What you said about Lillian, about wanting her to be something great.  I want that for her too.  I believe she can change things at the top, where they need to be changed.  I won’t pretend I’m pretty or good at heart.  Lillian is the one good thing.  The one light.”

“You say that even knowing that they sabotaged her?  They wanted to take her black coat away from her?”

“Yes,” Mary said.  “They can try and try again.  She’ll have me at her back.  She’ll have you.  Helen, Jamie, Ashton, Duncan.  We’ll find a way.  We killed nobles.  We can find a way forward against stupid bureaucracy.”

I nodded slowly.

I could see the light in Mary’s eye.  The passion.  She believed it.  That was where she belonged.  Lillian belonged with the Academy and Mary belonged with Lillian.

I spoke with careful deliberation, lying through my teeth.  “They’ll think the formula was Fray’s, because it was imperfect.  It wasn’t prepared with the same doses and quantities the Academy would use if they were giving me my dose.  They’ll think that if I had a dose of wyvern and used it, then I would have used an Academy dose, not the imperfect dose that Simon brewed.”

Mary, going by the expression on her face, clearly didn’t believe me.

“Trust me,” I said.


“Trust me,” I said, again.

I prayed she wouldn’t speak up again.  I wasn’t sure I could ask her to do it a third time.

She didn’t make me.  She still looked obviously uncomfortable as she sat beside me, looking out the window.

Her hand found my bandaged one, and she squeezed, very gently.  Her thumb rubbed back and forth along the back of my hand.

Candida was staring in my general direction.  Not quite at me, but in my direction.  She’d heard everything, and unlike Chance and Lainie, she had something of an idea of what was happening and who the Lambs were.

Mercifully, she was silent.  She’d opened her mouth once already, and in the doing she’d spared me from asking Mary to come with me.  I would thank her for it later, but until I did, she would likely see it as a mistake, an overstep.

Chance and Lainie, meanwhile, were silent.  Lainie’s wide-eyed stare at me was filled with emotion.  Blame, fear, dependency and horror.  There was less life in her eyes than there was in Candida’s.

And Chance… Chance was quiet.  Tension stood out in his neck and shoulders.  His focus was on some point a thousand yards off, his mind at work as he wrapped his head around his new reality.  One day, perhaps, he would blame me.  Or perhaps he’d think back to when he’d picked us out, thinking it was his choice, and he’d blame himself.

I counted the seconds in my head, because I was impatient and simultaneously didn’t want another second to pass.

I felt the rumble, the movement of the train along the tracks.

Chance held the bags in one hand and supported Lainie with the other.  Mary helped Candida to her feet.

From the look of it, the train was all cargo.  Things for a celebration tomorrow, perhaps, or bags for the nobles who had arrived while I dealt with the Baron.  As a group, we all made our way to the train.  I let Mary take the lead with Candida, and kept an eye on Chance and Lainie, walking beside Lainie.

“The train is going the wrong way,” Mary said, looking back at me.

“It’s fine,” I said.  “We get out of here first, and we get home second.  We’ll be able to drop these guys off and see them on their way.”

Mary nodded.

Candida said something, and Mary responded.  I didn’t listen and I didn’t hear.  My ears and the space between them were all full of noise.

I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t.  I needed to be able to see.

Falling a half-step behind Lainie, so she wouldn’t see what I was doing, I reached behind my back and I drew the pistol I’d taken from the Baron’s soldier.  Holding it at my hip, so my body helped further block the view of the weapon from Lainie and Chance, I pointed it at Mary.

Almost, I almost got so choked up I started coughing.  It would have been disastrous.

“I’m going to retaliate,” Mary the Phantom whispered to me.  “Unless you kill me.”

The real Mary walked on, oblivious.

Passing it behind my back, I put the gun in my other hand.  The fingers were damaged and weak, the bandages made for padding that made it harder to get my finger inside the trigger guard, and it was closer to Lainie.

I aimed it, glancing around the surroundings.  We weren’t in plain view of the train.  We had to round corners to get there.

Tears flooded my eyes, and I blinked them clear.  It left me only a moment of visibility before I would be blinded by my own biology once more.

My thumb pulled the hammer back, and it clicked.

Mary turned, whirling on the spot, hair and skirt moving around her.  I had to pause a fraction of a second, to ensure I had the shot.

I didn’t even see the knife before it flew out of her hand, embedding itself in my shoulder.

I’d tipped her off.  She’d had an inkling of suspicion.

But she’d played with kid gloves, made assumptions.  The knife was in my right shoulder, the gun was in my left hand.

I pulled the trigger, and saw the spray of blood.  Mary toppled before she could throw another knife.

She collapsed onto the road, and I hurried to point the gun at her again as she reached for the bottom of her shirt.  Her right knee was obliterated.  The bullet had gone in the back and out the front where the kneecap was.

But the hardest thing to look at, above the pain, the damage I’d done to beautiful, graceful Mary, was the look in her eyes.  So much anger.

“Don’t,” I warned her.  My voice went high, “Don’t make me shoot again.”

Her hand moved away from the bottom of her shirt.

“Thank you,” I told her.

Her mouth opened, her jaw chattering in the process.  The pain was already hitting her, then.

Why?” she asked.

“Because I’m not going home,” I said.

I watched her expression change.  I saw the pieces fall into place.

“Since when?  Gordon?”

“Yes.  Lillian’s black coat was the final straw, but I think I would have left anyway.”

I saw the pain touch her expression.  She brought her knee closer toward her chest, hands moving toward it.

“Don’t,” I warned her, again.

The pain remained, but she stopped reaching for the knives under her skirt and at her boots.

“The Firstborn,” she said.

“The Firstborn are with the families and the families are steering well clear of the train station,” I said.  “You’ll find a way onto another train.  And you know where Mcormick is, though that’s a bit of a distance to crawl.  You’ll live.”

“You’re a bastard,” Mary said, with more vehemence than I’d imagined.

“Absolutely,” I said.  “But I’m a bastard that tried to cover the bases.  I left a message for Jamie.  The story is that you saw me leave and you figured out why.  You left a message for Jamie, he’ll forge it, saying that you chased me.  You tried to stop me from killing the Baron.”

I suspected the gunshot wound hurt me as much as it hurt her.  I heard her make a small sound of pain.

“They’ll be suspicious.  Knee injuries are a pain to fix, and they won’t be in a rush.  The Lambs will be questioned, but with the Baron and the Duke removed from the picture, it should be just the Academy that’s focused on you.   With all of the key pieces that are in play, the Lambs are too valuable.  But a couple of months, half a year?  They’ll keep you guys out of the picture.  That’s enough of a head start for me.”

“I’m supposed to tell them that you got the drop on me?  While I was tracking you?” Mary asked.  The anger was there.  Fury like I’d never seen before, even when Percy was in the picture.

“Tell them I got lucky,” I said.

She shut her eyes.

I took hold of Candida’s wrist, and I backed away, keeping the gun leveled at Mary.


I froze.

“You won’t ever get the drop on me again.  You know that, don’t you?”

I nodded, blinking away the tears.

I turned away, fleeing the scene.  My companions were only with me because they had no place else to go.  We found our way onto one of the cargo cars, and they, Candida included, sat as far away from me as they could.

I love you, Mary Cobourn, I recited the words again, in my head, as I pulled the knife free of my shoulder.

Previous                                                                                                                    Next

134 thoughts on “In Sheep’s Clothing – 10.19

  1. Ummm…. The Baron is alive.

    Mission failed.

    Seriously, I know Sy is sure that the Baron is brain dead from the Wyvern… but I have to imagine that Nobles take some pretty serious drugs as a matter of course.

    There is no way this doesn’t come back to bite him on the ass. It’s super irrational for Sy to leave any possibility of the Baron coming back. I

    It’s like that dumbass moment in Harry Potter where Voldemort boinks Malfoy’s mom.

    Sy should have at least started cutting some stuff up on the Baron’s body.

    • In all honesty, there’s no way the Baron is coming back. No one wants him back.

      However…what happens when some doctor realizes that the Baron’s braindead body is unable to die? Candida was able to share her immortality by studying her own body–so what happens if the noble who gets a hold of the Baron’s body decides to study it too? This might have some terrifying consequences.

    • A wyvern-braindead immortal? So basically the Baron is a prisoner not only in his own body but in his own mind as well for all eternity? Leave it to Wildbow to invent fates much, much worse than death and leave it to Sy to enact them…

      • … Sorry, my well of pity for the guy has been all tapped out, if it wasn’t dug in the wrong place to start with. He earned himself this fate, however horrible. 😐

      • He sure as hell did deserve it. All of it. But the mere thought of such a fate sends cold shivers down my spine, no matter how deserved it all was… Being trapped like this counts among my greatest fears.^^’

      • I don’t think that qualifies as trapped so much as just gone, no? The impression to me as the reader is that he would lose his mind, rather than that he is rattling around in there somewhere, unable to re-assert control over his body and mind forevermore.

        I see it as identical to death for the person involved (a.k.a. if it were to happen to me, I wouldn’t find it worse than death), but it would be hell on family to see that happen.

        Fortunately, he has none.

      • Not all eternity. Even discounting random events and being killed/mercy killed from others, the earth will eventually be destroyed by the sun.

    • i think he is braindead, or atleast has Alzheimer. Any physical damage can be restored, but memories and experience, they cannot. Remember when Sy took his dose. he had to fight really hard to keep his self mostly intact.

      • They mentioned way earlier that the brain is one of the things the academy doesn’t delve into very much. It’s why the Lambs Project had to fight for proper funding and they didn’t get their full initial team. I highly doubt they have the medical science required to restore massive brain damage.

    • People sure keep saying this, but it just doesn’t seem likely. Sy IS the most resistant person to Wyvern, and he said the dose was twice what he could really handle. Besides handling the damage wyvern does to your brain isn’t about being resistance to it’s chemical effects, but apparently how to actually about how to use your brain while under those effects.

      This is it. Baron’s gone

      • The honour of that title actually goes to Frey. She’s been outdosing Sy for years,

        I’ve been taking the doses for seven years, and have been matching or exceeding your doses for four of those years.

        Genevieve Fray (Stitch in Time – 4.4)

    • Wilbow’s biggest trick was making the in-universe propaganda work on the readers :p

      Nobles are not as above it as it seems, its an actual plot point. And the Academy’s most advanced brain experiments are the lambs, heck , a partial reason why they created is to research future upgrades for nobles. Plus, no matter hiow much immunity you build, too much will kill you. I mean, yeah,assume you geyt immunity, you can handle twice as much as normal? 10 times? 100? Sy wasn’t a wyvern user, he was Academy’s stress test on Wyvern, nobody else has taken his doses except Fray, the nobles wouldn’t risk it, And he gave the Baron double what the most immune or second most immune person on the planet could handle So no, the Academy can’t fix him, at least until they make major advancements on the field of brain rwhich isn’t foreseeable in the next few years.So he ain’t coming back.

    • Not necessarily typos:

      ->As it was, I kept my eye on the Baron and kept my ears out for trouble.
      So Sy got his ear fixed up by Candida, so it makes sense he uses ears, but maybe check if that’s what you intended to use there.

      ->Laboriously climbing to the ground, so I knelt there, I swept my hand along the stone floor, brushing up the dust.
      I have no clue what “laboriously climbing to the ground, so I knelt there” is supposed to mean.

      ->It was very possible that she weighed twice what I did, and she wasn’t exhausted and hurting to quite the same extent I was, but in the end, we managed to drag the Baron around until he lay between the first and second pews on the far end of the church.
      I don’t think that “but” works there. Being able to drag the baron does not negate that Candida was NOT exhausted.

      ->I raised myself up, indicating where she should put it, and then lay down on top of it, the blade running between my arm and my ribs.
      It took me multiple reads to understand this sentence here.

      • After a bit of thought, I think I recognised what was wrong with “I raised myself up, indicating where she should put it, and then lay down on top of it, the blade running between my arm and my ribs”, and the problem is still there in the revised version.

        Don’t mind me if I forgot some aspect of grammar, or I’m using the wrong verbal tense, but there is a tense incongruence between “raised” and “lay”. It should probably read “and then laid down on top of the blade”.

    • Mary, Chase, and Lainie
      ~Mary, Chance, and Lainie
      Guessing Chase wasn’t on purpose as Sy refers to him as Chance in the next few lines.

      just as frightened as Mary
      ~just as frightened of Mary

  2. …you know, for a long moment, I really thought he was going to kill Mary for real there. I sat there and didn’t dare to read any further for a solid two to three minutes, when Sy trained the gun on her… Even though I couldn’t think of any good reasons WHY he should do that. I just somehow didn’t put it beyond Sy.
    The reason for my reaction MIGHT be that I am just a wuss, but I’ll choose the more elegant explanation and chalk it up to great, heart-wrenching writing. Now excuse me, I’ll have to fill up a whole bottle of fan-tears by myself for Wildbow to consume on a delightful summer evening.

  3. What a sad tangle of relations organically emerged. Sy chose to give happiness to Mary, not to himself.

    I’d like to know what his new companions think about this scene.

    Otherwise – this chapter as the one before is a masterpiece. It seems you don’t need escalation of conflict to make things shine. I feel embarrassed.

    This is one of those chapters in Twig that hit you in your head and in your heart – be it in the positive and/or negative way. I might be dense but I see only now that those memorable chapters couldn’t as incredible as they are without foundation of previous chapters that silently lay out to the table possibilities, tools and emotions. But ‘memorable’ chapters somehow knit those tools into something that has an impact.

    • I want to read all of Mary’s thoughts.

      If Sy is still reading her 100% correctly, she is MURDEROUSLY pissed at him.

      • Hopefully the interlude (if this is the end of this arc) switches to a Lamb perspective, to see how they all process Sy’s departure. I almost want Sy to become the new Fray, an enigmatic force that the Lambs hear whispers of, and have Lillian be the new PoV character. That’d be neat.

  4. And… right in the feels for maximum damage.

    On a side note, Wildbow, you kept bouncing back between “Lanie” and “Lainie” during the arc. I know she’s a minor character but it’s quite noticeable.

  5. I don’t have much to say. Uhm… I’m pretty sad though :< So yeah. Sad.

    I wonder if Lainie, Chance and Candida chose to stay with Sy, rather than Mary, or felt they were compelled to. Mmm… I guess they might be better off with Sy, but he… must be something beyond bad in their eyes now.

      • I was expecting them to stop by Mccormick’s house and pick up his daughter, too. That way when they get Drake we’d have a six-person team of three boys and three girls. Back to the basics of the Lambs.

  6. That was heartbreaking. I knew it was coming, but still… Sigh now Mary really is going to try to kill Sy. He loves the lambs, but he’s had to break all their hearts now. Well Lillian and Mary’s at least.

  7. That was a nice chapter, even if you have to wonder what’s going on through Sylvester’s head when it comes to long-term plans for himself and others.

  8. No ‘this is the end’ and ‘this is my next project’ announcements? Unless there’s another full arc coming this is the ideal place for the story to stop. (I first typed ‘end,’ but either way it’s already ended. Anything after this is its own little short story which happens to be set in the same universe…again, unless there’s something arc-worthy that I missed.)

    • You are evil if you think the story should stop here. 😥

      Which…isn’t totally out of character for Wildbow with individual chapters, but I do think he tends to wrap things up in as satisfying a way as possible. And this is not satisfying at all.

    • Wildbow mentioned on Reddit that (as of maybe an arc ago or so, can’t remember exactly when) we’re only about halfway through the story. So, the story is pretty far from over, though likely more than half.

    • If it was a traditional novel, I would agree that this is a stellar place to stop. But serial format means you can just keep on going, and the Lambs’ story is far from over.

    • Arc-worthy? I can think of three things off the top of my head:

      The primeval ‘sickness’. It’s a rather significant issue – a sickness that has been *designed* to cause as much harm to humans as possible.

      Also, the rebellion is still in force. Does the crown get overthrown? Baron was just a symptom of a bigger problem.

      Sy is probably going to go find Fray now, but what do the other Lambs do? Are they all going to be content to stay under the academy’s thumb and fight Sy?

  9. Wow, Sy. Just plain wow. Of all the things that you could have planned, you went with shooting Mary. You deserve Mary’s wrath now

    • Necessary evil. How else would she accept his defection otherwise ?
      Despite the damage she took, she was still largely capable of overpowering him in any direct confrontation, then bring him back to Lambsbridge.
      Then the investigation pinpoints the Wyvern, and the Lambs are dismantled just in case it wasn’t Fray.

      Sometimes you have to go for the harder path. Gunwound is an acceptable way to incapacitate her non-lethally that doesn’t ruin her credibility and further consolidates the forged backstory. Anyone who interrogates Mary will witness this boiling rage she’s feeling about it and clear her of any doubt.

  10. Wildbow, you made me cry again.

    It sounds like the story has to be wrapping up soon, unless there’s something I’m missing…

    • Wait what? Why are you assuming that this will already end? We’re just at the end of Arc 10. There are still a lot of things left like: the spores the primordial made, the Fray business, Lord Infante stuff (I have a feeling that he’s going to be a recurring character now), the other Lambs’ expiration, the ongoing war between the Crown and the rebels, and other stuff that I can’t remember.

      If we’re following Wildbows’ standard story length, we’re just at the 1/3 of the story.

      • Wait, but isn’t Sy basically done now? Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions but this looks a lot like the end of the road for him, since he’s scapegoating himself to protect the other lambs

        • Main character doing something shitty to his or her friends and then leaving them in order to protect them is sort of a recurring theme in Wildbow’s works you know… This is just about halfway or something on the way to Sy becoming The Ultimate Power That Trumps All Other Powers, I think ^^.

          • I hadn’t thought of it in that way! haha it seems a bit more “final” than the other times it’s happened. I’ll take back what I said earlier.

          • Yeah, but not his throat.
            Admittedly, she probably thought she could handle him if he dropped the gun, but…

        • Sy on the run is even more dangerous, in a manner. Now that he has a way to make imperfect Wyvern, and keep his edge, he can go farther and form more connections, making him more and more dangerous.
          Unrelated, but did anyone else find it interesting how his MaryPhantom was wrong?

  11. Am I the only one that was bothered by the writing of this chapter? The self proclaimed bastard does the noble thing and doesn’t try to take any of the lambs ( instead leaving them with people that barely give a damn about them). The social manipulator doesn’t use his talents instead opting for brute force against three femme fatale. I get why it worked but I just envisioned Sy talking instead of betrayal. Then the worst thing to me. THE MISSING CHANCE FOR MARY’S CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Having her question whether she would side with Sy or the others would-be fantastic for her characterization and growth. Instead Wildbow takes the opportunity from her. We know what will happen now between them cause it is the same situation as Mary and Percy. I’ll be the first to admit I am looking forward to Sy vs the lambs but I think there were better ways to lead into that storyline. So my real question is why wouldn’t you take this golden opportunity for character development Wildbow?

    • Personally, one thing I was a little confused by was that Mary seemed more upset about what she’d have to say about Sy leaving the lambs than she was about Sy actually leaving the lambs. Not sure if that was intentionally written that way, or if she was deflecting the anger elsewhere, or just that *Sy* imagined it that way, but it threw me off for a moment.

      • She’s very in sync with Sylvester. With the shot and his proclamation that he wasn’t going back, she already sees the outlines of his plans. He has this theme of forcing plans at inopportune moments, making choices for others, and this is one of those moments. She can’t do anything productive for either of them by fighting him while her kneecap is downed and after she’s already been tossed around by the final Twin.

        So, yeah, she’s not on board with his plan to abandonsave them, but he kinda has set up the pieces so that she has to let him abandonsave them. She makes peace with that part of it, the part that it’s not worth debating at this point, and goes on to the next part: how will this work? How will it be believable?

        That Sy chose for her to be fallible, to be weak? That goes against her character, and it’s very much a dig that Sy might make during a mission that is going well, an insult she can return. Using it for his stupid plan adds insult to injury, and seems spiteful, especially to her “success/failure”-conditioned mind. She latches onto that and becomes even more furious, which Sy notices, because it highlights her powerlessness even more than it has already been highlighted.

        I don’t think she’s more upset by it, but she was made more upset in addition to how upset she already was, and she doesn’t have the time to express that nuance. She only has time to glare and vow to Sy that he won’t catch her off guard again.

        I’m not sure if she even sees this as betrayal, so much as she is just angry Sy keeps making decisions for other Lambs. This is very much Sy’s modus operandi always, and it’s something she has adapted to yet simultaneously detests. I might be projecting a bit, but that’s why I think there is no use of the word “betrayal” in the entire chapter. Neither Sy nor Mary sees it as that. They both understand the game Sy is playing, acknowledge that it could well work, and see it as respectively tragic and infuriating.

        I feel like I’m projecting so much here, but that’s my read on the situation.

    • Eh. Sy is a self-proclaimed bastard, but truth behind it has always been that he truly cares about his ‘family’ and would nobly sacrifice himself for them, to the point where they had to make a special rule just to restrict how much self-sacrificing he’d do.

      This is pretty spot-on for his character, really. That’s part of what makes reading through it so hard, because you know he’s going to do it but you don’t want him to do it.

      As for Mary… again, eh. It would’ve been character development for her to take a stand in that sort of situation, but it was also character development for Sy to resist his initial impulse of asking her. And if he’s going to leave the Lambs and continue to be the POV character, the development would be better spent on him, lest our narrator become terribly boring in short order.

      • I wouldn’t really call this ending development. Character development typically comes from choices that need to be made in the story. Sy takes away her opportunity to choose, stagnating her development.

        I think jacuzziant was on point in his analysis of Mary’s reaction but reaction does not equal development. I would say it is a betrayal to Mary because he is going against her wishes to keep them altogether for the time they have left. Sy decided that he cannot bear losing another lamb so it is in direct conflict from what they both want. Since Sy was on her side and now isn’t leaving on good terms it could be considered a betrayal.

        At Aname for focusing on Sy’s development over Mary, why can’t we have both. Sy had developed plenty as a character throughout the course of the serial. Wildbow has done a magnificent job with the constant growth of Sy. Mary might be getting less pages dedicated to her but I’ll eat my socks if she doesn’t play a significant role in the remainder of the story. She will probably be the one spearheading the hunt for Sy and could very well be a secondary antagonist. If this is the case why wouldn’t you want as much development for an antagonist as possible. I don’t think development is going to happen now. She’s going to default into her mode like she did with Percy and think only of the kill. While we did see development in her actions with Percy I was hoping that her plotline with Sy could move down a different path. As it is set currently for her to do anything other than hunt down and murder Sy would be an out of character moment with little to no foreshadowing for how any other result could occur. So far in the story character interactions and choices have been synced incredibly with character development. This leaves no room for possible outcomes when it comes to Sy and Mary without another character’s interference.
        TLDR Mary will try and kill Sy with no deviation possible because of how the writing is set up.

        • In all fairness, Sy’s modus operandi often *is* taking away people’s decisions from them- give and take, forcing them into situations where he make them bend. Besides, in his head, all this is a given since his thing is to manipulate and predict behavior. In other words, perhaps it’s less that Mary doesn’t have the opportunity to develop but that Sy takes it away from her, possibly due to a self-fulfilling prophecy on his part. And that’s very much in line with both his character and the relationship between Mary and Sy. Sy’s a bastard but he’s a noble bastard when it comes to the thing he cares about – which right now is the rest of the Lambs. And Sy has always had the upper hand with Mary so it makes sense that he’d force things here and angle it so that he was the one in control, not giving her any leverage.

    • The self proclaimed bastard is, for anyone who has been paying attention, an egocetric altruist. His very reason for being a bastard is “so that others do not have to”, he takes hard decisions for the same reason. He thinks he must do everything, that he must constantly sacrifice himself for others, and that he is the only person who has a choice. It is a theme that , despite being hardened , merciless and brutal, he always acts for others. Even his most ambiguous actions are because he prioritized some others over other others.

      The social manipulator used his talent. He took away her choice to make a decision, forced her to do what he thought was best, sacrifice him, whether he wanted or not. Truly, it is a sigh of a very talented social manipulator to recognize that the borders between “social” and “physical” are illusionary. He used a very physical manipulation technique, not a physical technique.

      If you haven’t noticed, Sy nipped that kind of character development you are asking for from the bud, by, you guessed it, shouldering the whole decision in his shoulders, something totally in character for him. Its actually amazing writing, even if it needs to sacrifice an oppportunity, but amazing writing tends to sacrifice opportunities to up the antes and blindsight you.

    • That is a very real possibility that one or all of the lambs will be featured in the enemy chapter. I think the only other option would be Infante but the lambs would fit better into the story structure as we will not be able to get any information as to the lambs reaction outside of an enemy chapter.

  12. I’m not even that shocked. I mean, we all knew it was going to end like that. But I must admit I didn’t expect him to actually shoot Mary.

    Is the next arc the one where the perspective switches to someone else, while we’re left to wonder what Sy does?

  13. Sy is finally going in the direction I wanted him to.

    But not in the way I wanted him to. Which is not a bad thing, in fact it’s a good thing. Well if you ignore the hurt Mary ;_;

  14. Man, that was beautiful. Sylvester really showed how far he’d be willing to go to protect the Lambs. Even if if meant hurting them. And I’m certain that the Baron’s rapier is going to be relevant later on. It’s a Noble’s weapon after all.

    And for everyone thinking he’s going to join Fray, I’m not so sure. Fray wouldn’t mind having Sylvester, I actually think she’d like having him. But what about the people that are working with her? And anyone else get like a Rakki Ryuu like vibe from her?

    Also, what IS Sylvester going to do about Wyvern and how is he going to take care of himself? And what is Sylvester going to get that lets him fight against everyone? Perhaps something from his past that he doesn’t know about?

    • About Wyvern, didn’t he “update” his Evette mental phantom with knowledge by watching the Wyvern being made?

      • Given Sy’s memory issues it’s an open question whether he can memorize something that complicated. I suppose he could have taken notes.

        • Or, he could use the train ride to fiddle with his brain parameters to fit the current situation.
          Longterm memory to keep his Phantoms and formulas, less teamwork and more bastardish selfishness.

  15. It’s really sad that Sy gets his throat slit enough that his doctors have specifically built countermeasures so he can still be useful. I agree with Candida, that’s no way to live.

    • It is, in a very literal sense, a better way to live than getting your throat slit and not having countermeasures for it.

      And, really, it’s Sy. He’s pretty much begging for a throat slitting all the time. The only surprising part is that people haven’t taken him up on it more often.

  16. I want a Jamie enemy chapter and now that Mary and Lillian are out of contention as love interests …SYMIE FOREVER!!!!!

  17. Okay, guys, we need a quirky new name for Sy’s gang of dysfunctional kids who are only around him because they have no other choice. Remember, children gangs are animal-themed, so something like “Lambs,” “Mice,” or “Wolves.”

    How about “Rats?”

  18. Probably won’t happen, but anyone remember ubj Tehr qvrq onpx ba gur bvy evt naq ab bar xarj hagvy nsgre vg jnf bire? V qba’g guvax Gnlybe rire QVQ svaq bhg.

    Three arcs later, what if Sy finds out for whatever reason, Mary never made it back to the Lambs?

    • No no no no no no no no no no no no ;w;

      Hey, uh, guys, how do we hide this comment from Wildbow? I know. Uh… Rainbows! Puppies! Flowers and candy and unicorns and other saccharose stuff! There is nothing that would interest you here!

      • Silly fox!
        Wildbow isn’t drawn to despair, he makes it!
        Seriously, please don’t pay attention to this wildbow Sy just can’t take it.

    • Can anyone please tell me how to decypher this? I’ve seen a few of these posts and never understand what they mean. Thanks in advance

  19. They will be pissed, but won’t see it as a betrayal, but rather as a sacrifice they don’t want forced on them.

  20. What with performing a tracheotomy and killing people while blind I think that Lainie and Chance are gonna be just fine with Candida/Emily to look after them, even if Sy doesn’t stick around.

  21. Well. No other way this could have gone, I think. Not without killing Mary.

    Time for the next part of Sy’s life to begin… Ah, of course, it’s interlude time. So cruel! 😀

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