â€œI donâ€™t think I like this very much.â€ Twice-Breathing Millia leaned against a rooftop, comfortably hidden behind her Underling Invisibility from the prying eyes of any who considered themselves superior to her. It was a source of reassurance for her that Serafin could always see her without effort under it.
â€œThe fact that weâ€™ve been following a mysterious akuma around for a day and a half, waiting for them to do something, or the fact that weâ€™re relying on a Dragon-Blooded officer to keep them away from their target?â€ Leaning easily on the sill, Serafin shifted position to remain hidden. Below and across the street, they could just see the window to Sesus Oramakosâ€™s suite. Within, the akuma in a Dynastâ€™s skin was lounging about, dressed in full ceremonial armor and appearing perfectly at ease, exactly as he had since the surveillance had begun. Sometimes, he yelled at a servant. Occasionally, he went and bothered Tyr.
What he was not doing was taking any sort of active steps to confront the General â€“ instead, he seemed content to wait for Kitanoâ€™s return. It was immensely frustrating.
â€œA bit of both, really.â€ Millia poked her head over the rooftop and studied Oramakos. Testing had confirmed that he was fully affected by her Charm as long as she did not do anything to actively bring herself to his attention, and she preferred it that way. â€œAlthough we were lucky that Tyr believed us so easily. I mean, we were overturning a lot of the doctrine that his life wasâ€¦â€ She trailed off, turning to look at Serafin suspiciously. The Lunar coughed.
â€œI may have, slightly, put a Glamour on him.â€
â€œOh, it wasnâ€™t a big one!â€ Serafin crouched down and gestured dismissively. â€œI justâ€¦ nudged him. A bit.â€
â€œFair Folk magic! On a Dynast!â€ Millia rubbed her forehead. â€œA high-ranking Dynast!â€
â€œThere are Fair Folk in the area. No one will notice.â€ Serafin spoke reassuringly. â€œBesides, it was really very small.â€
â€œWhat did you do?â€ The words came out from Milliaâ€™s downcast face.
â€œWhen I told him that we would tell him the truth, Iâ€¦ boosted it. He couldnâ€™t have disbelieved us if he wanted to.â€
â€œYou canâ€™t just go around controlling peopleâ€™s minds, Mother!â€
Serafin rolled her eyes. â€œRemind me which of us works for the Bureau of Destiny.â€
â€œThatâ€™s different. Everyone should have a choice. We justâ€¦ make sure that the choice that is most attractive to people is the right one.â€
â€œMm-hm. So it would be better if Tyr chose not to believe us?â€
â€œYes.â€ Millia paused. â€œNo. Thatâ€™s not fair.â€ Crossing her arms, she turned to watch Oramakosâ€™s suite, and then sighed. â€œWhy do you always win arguments?â€
â€œBecause Iâ€™m right, honey. Anything new?â€ Serafin smiled brightly, leaning back against the wall and looking up at the sky.
â€œNothing. We might as well be watching a rock.â€ Serafin sighed, and settled back to continue her watch. The two lapsed into silence for a few minutes, quietly keeping an eye on the area. Millia saw no sign that Oramakos was paying any attention to anything, and she was about to make a sarcastic comment to that effect when he abruptly raised his head and looked towards the window.
â€œMother. Somethingâ€™s happening.â€ Serafin moved from laying back at rest to fully alert in a moment, glancing over the edge of the roof. A moment later, there was a faint buzz of Essence, and a small metallic beetle materialized just to her right. The Lunar snatched it out of the air out of reflex, and Millia glanced over. â€œIs that Tyrâ€™s messenger beetle?â€
â€œYep.â€ Serafin opened the beetleâ€™s carapace, sliding out the small piece of paper, and read it aloud. â€œFair Folk attack at Hattas Redoubt. Kitano enroute to armoury; meeting him there. Keep Oramakos away. â€“ Tyr.â€ She looked up as Oramakos slid the window of his suite open, glanced backwards into the room, and easily jumped the two stories to the ground, landing on hands and knees in the street. Rising, the Dynast started jogging towards the edge of town. â€œToo many civilians here for a pitched fight. Any quiet neighborhoods between here and there?â€
Millia nodded. â€œShouldnâ€™t be many people in the Ferns this time of day.â€
â€œThen we take him there. Letâ€™s go.â€ Serafin jumped to the next roof, following the path that Oramakos was taking along the ground, and Millia followed. Soon, the two were leaping from roof to roof, trailing Oramakos as he jogged.
â€œThis is weird.â€ Serafin glanced over at Milliaâ€™s statement. â€œHeâ€™s heading straight for the Hattas Redoubt. How did he know thatâ€™s where Kitano was? More importantly, why isnâ€™t he heading towards the armoury to cut the General off?â€
â€œHe must be assuming that Kitano is going to be holding the line. It would be the logical assumption.â€ Serafin frowned. It was the logical assumption. So why was the General not following it?
â€œThatâ€™s fine, but he has no way of knowing where the General was.â€ As Serafin started to open her mouth, Millia cut her off. â€œAnd itâ€™s not Charms, because if it were, heâ€™d know that the General isnâ€™t there. Weâ€™re going almost perfectly away from the armoury right now, and thatâ€™s where Kitano is heading.â€
Serafin frowned thoughtfully. â€œItâ€™s almost as thoughâ€¦â€ Her eyes widened, and she cursed under her breath. Grabbing for the paper, she looked to Millia. â€œQuill! Now!â€
Confused, the Sidereal slid out her prayer strip case, passing an ornate quill to Serafin. Leaping across a gap between buildings, Serafin slid the quill across the blank side of the paper in smooth arcs, flicking it dry and spinning it in a loop, then dropped it back into the beetleâ€™s open carapace. The wings clicked shut, and with another buzz the bauble faded from existence.
â€œWhatâ€™s going on?â€
â€œItâ€™s a trap.â€ Without waiting for a reply, Serafin dove from the roof like an angel of death. Her hands slid into her coat, coming free with a pair of elegant moonsilver baneclaws, and as she dropped she angled towards Oramakos. In a single, elegant motion, the Lunar slid over his shoulder, catching the back of his head with a gleaming silver spike even as she propelled herself back upwards. The baneclaw slid easily through the Dynastâ€™s head, and his eyes widened as he fell forwards, Serafinâ€™s weapon coming free.
There was the sound of armour hitting the cobblestones. By the time that the startled peasants had turned towards the noise, there was nothing left but a faint trace of mist in the air and a suspicious green stain across the ground.
Landing on the roof, Serafin turned to a shocked Millia. â€œThat wasnâ€™t the Lunar. He knew we were watching. He left a double to fool us. Heâ€™s already gotten to Kitano!â€
â€œSaturn take him!â€ Millia kicked the wall. â€œWe have to get to the armory, and now.â€
Serafin nodded. â€œI warned Tyr, but who knows if he can stop that thing. You have that mouse-trick ready?â€
â€œThen weâ€™re off.â€ Serafin took three steps forwards, shifting and flowing into the shape of a hawk, and took wing from the roof. Millia took a running jump, and twisted her hands â€“ a strange saddle of bluish light formed beneath her feet, casting out to land across the hawkâ€™s back. Impossibly small, it nonetheless held Millia perfectly as she landed astride the miniature bird, and the two Exalts took wing towards the armory, praying that they were not already too late.