The wicked heroine, p.78
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       The Wicked Heroine, p.78

           Jasmine Giacomo


  The white-eyed man stepped back from the gold-and-glass device, tucking his smooth hands inside the enormous black sleeves of his robe as the last vestiges of ethereal blue fire faded before him. His black eyebrows caterpillared together, and his pale gaze swept the curved roof of the opalescent green cavern, before they lit on his subordinate, a step below him on the hematite dais.

  ‘My master, what news?” the bald man asked, bowing his head and staring at the reflective silvery steps, avoiding those white eyes. His master’s eyes did not scare him, per se, but every time he saw how easily the man handled his power, controlling even the most difficult of magical items, he felt a thrill of awe at the degree to which his master had dedicated himself to his work. Awe, followed by jealousy.

  If his master could see the jealousy in his face, he would never see another sunrise.

  “It appears to have worked as we intended, in the end,” his master replied in his whispery voice. “Ha’Hril is devastated. The sea floor ruptured from the island northward, far enough to cause a tsunami of excellent size. The waves even managed to destroy their ship as planned. She will be alone now, and no port or ship for a thousand miles survived to convey her back to the east. She must now come to us alone, and suffer our wrath.” The man paused, and sniffed in annoyance.

  A thrill of fear shot through the subordinate; had he somehow offended his master? Did he suspect?

  “M-master?” he asked hesitantly, not needing to fake the quaver in his voice. “Is something amiss?”

  “My plan has succeeded, and yet…” He twitched his black robe around his chest irritably. “…And yet, the key does not move as I wish.”

  The other man waited silently, shivering away his adrenaline. Once he could trust his voice, he asked, “What are your orders, master?”

  “We will need,” his master said, displaying brilliant teeth against his light brown face, “more sacrifices.”

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