After an evening of recovery and deep thought, Rhys had come to a conclusion that, while he was still far from peak condition, he couldn’t afford to wait for another opportunity to strike. Descartes was their leader, he had to die. He had some powerful help in the form of Taxia, she was the muscle and evidently hard to control. Why had Descartes saved Rhys? Was it because such a public display would have broken their greatest weapon, anonymity? Or was there something else at play that Rhys couldn’t see yet?
He couldn’t waste time speculating.
The morning sun began to peek over the buildings of Newtown as Rhys followed the trail left after his fight with Taxia. He was not able to sense her except when she engaged her powers fully. This ‘stealth’ ability troubled him, but nevertheless, she had left some residual markings behind. In his mind’s eye Rhys followed specks of orange and yellow light, footprints of sorts. Yun was simultaneously making contact with Samantha and John. This would no doubt confuse them, as Yun was a dead-end to their investigation. Still, they had key evidence of Descartes’s operations, and Rhys couldn’t let that go cold.
He spent the morning tracking his prey and was not surprised to find it leading back to one of Descartes’s known operations. A warehouse in the industrial section beyond Newtown’s centre into Leith. The buildings became smaller, but newer, primarily twentieth century. Buses and automated cars moved early morning commuters, but pedestrians, blasting their warm breaths into the cold, were starting to emerge as the sun peaked higher and the morning fog began to dissipate.
Rhys checked his wrist, a message arrived from Yun, an address. Yes, as expected. The warehouse was large. It was effectively several connected warehouses that took up a modest city block. It would take a while to search, but Rhys took the risk of maintaining his senses at minimal range. There was evidence of creature movement, some past, some present. Taxia’s line took him to one corner of the facility. Getting into the grounds was simple; security was lax. After all the warehouses were likely to be individually locked. Breaking into the warehouse in question would be a more significant challenge. Peering into a window, notably smaller than the others as it was evidently for office space, Rhys knew he was onto the right track. He saw a man, battered and barely conscious.
John? Samantha’s partner? How could he be here, now?
A figure moved around the room, Rhys ducked and withdrew his powers not wishing to tempt fate. When he looked again, the man was gone, but a hatch on the floor was closed in a hurry. Not locked. Underground. Naturally.
Using his sense again, he found him. Descartes. He was not below ground. No, that wasn’t the place for him; he was special. He was not far, on the other side of the facility. But the bruised man, John.
Samantha’s voice came back through Yun’s recording and Rhys’s memory. John had departed from the meeting yesterday. Samantha and Yun had continued to talk. She had expressed concern for John’s safety. There had been some close calls.
‘He’s a good man, married. It was my idea to investigate, you understand.’
‘So you feel responsible?’ Yun had replied. A pause. ‘Yes.’
Descartes’s people must have picked up John while Rhys was busy with Taxia. He weighed his options. Rescue this man, bust the operation but Descartes gets away, or go for the head of the snake?
The stink from the underground hive made Rhys’s nostrils flare.
‘So, what did he do?’ The silent man asked, his hard liquor still untouched on the table in front of him.
‘Oh, you’ll find out,’ the stranger replied, his Russian accent standing out the more he spoke. ‘Another drink,’ he smiled a gold-toothed grin.