Preyuna kept up a steadily calm façade as she escorted Raven, Sammy, and Deliosa to the monitor room. But it really was just a façade. Her mind was roiling with irritation, panic, and worry.
If it were just Raven with me, it would be easy enough to distract him while I did my magic on the monitors. But what am I supposed to do with three witnesses? One of them is bound to notice me magicking the monitors. And I can’t just block them from following me into the room. That would look far too suspicious. I could distract them with fey mind tricks, but again. Suspicious. And the question ‘What am I trying to hide?’ would inevitably surface. So, no. I need to resort to something more subtle. Practical.
She smiled and her mixed emotions rolled away.
I know exactly what to do.
Raven sniffed the air. “Is Ambrose here?”
Preyuna quickly weeded through all of the possible answers to that question. “Not now. He was here earlier, but he left. As a matter of fact, you just missed him.”
“Was Barbara with him?” Sammy asked.
“Yes.” She smiled and she made it the most convincing, most genuine smile. “I’ve never seen so much love between a couple. It was quite cute.”
Deliosa gave her a questioning look, but remained silent.
Her continued silence irked Preyuna, but she refused to show it. She remained deliberately pleasant. I can only hope my deliberateness isn’t too obvious. “Such a very lovely couple.”
“Indeed.” Raven said.
Sammy linked fingers with Deliosa. She smiled at him and he smiled in return.
Preyuna noticed Sammy’s lack of response and it intrigued her. “Do you disagree with me?”
“No.” he replied. “They are a very good match. And they clearly love each other.”
“That is not the same thing as agreeing that they’re a lovely couple.” She stopped outside of the monitor room.
He regarded her with serene neutrality. “I thought it was.”
Preyuna wasn’t quite sure how to take that. His expression and tone of voice didn’t give her any helpful hints. And his mind was closed off to her. She managed to resist the urge to narrow her eyes at him. “The guard who is on monitor duty tonight resents having visitors enter his work space. If you don’t mind, I will go in first and explain the situation to him.”
Raven searched her expression. “Perhaps it would be best if I came in with you.”
No. No, it really wouldn’t ‘be best’ at all. She smiled at him. “Now, why do you say that? Do you think I can’t convince him?”
“Indeed not, Your Majesty. I simply thought it might help ease his mind.”
“Really, there’s no need to worry about that. I can ‘ease his mind’ just fine on my own.”
“I imagine that is so.”
“How were you planning to do it?” Deliosa asked.
Oh, so she CAN speak, after all. How lucky for her. “I was going to talk to him. Were you expecting a different answer?”
“You are queen of the fey. I expected some mind trickery.”
Preyuna’s smile turned more genuine. “That is a reasonable thing to expect, I suppose. But I have found that sometimes words can go farther than tricks. If you all will excuse me…?”
“Certainly.” Raven said. “After all, I do not want to linger here unnecessarily.”
“Of course.” She turned and entered the monitor room.