Minty's scream echoed through the warehouse long after she had stopped. Craven Lorne pulled her to her feet and picked up her stricken arm, holding it delicately above the wrist. “Let's go,” he told her. “Someone will have heard that.”
“Are you not going to kill me?”
“Are you listening to me? I'm trying to save you.”
Craven sighed. Why? That was the question, wasn't it? Why was he risking everything to save her? He wanted to put her back, to chain up her remaining arm and leave her there. Her, cocking her head to the side – like a confused puppy, too stupid to get out of its own way. And now she was—“What are you doing?”
Minty had bent in half at the waist and seemed to be playing with her feet. Of course. Only she could pick a time like this to scratch an itch.
“We don't have time—”
“I'm tied to the floor, Craven Lorne,” she told him simply. “I cannot go.”
Craven crouched down to untie her and fumbled with the knots.
He didn't hear Voss's footsteps until it was too late. “What are you doing, Craven?”
Craven Lorne fought to urge to hide. He finished untying Minty's ropes.
“I asked you—”
“I heard you,” Craven barked, and again he had to fight, not to slap his hand over his mouth or beg for forgiveness. “I'm letting her go.” Something occurred to him and he asked, “How did you get her here?”
“You're working with Frisco? Voss, he's crazy. He'll—he'll do anything. And you let him—We can't kill her. We can't.”
“We talked about this,” Voss said.
More words than he's spoken in a long time, Craven thought. And come to think of it, shouldn't they have heard his cane when he came in? How long had it been since his injuries healed? Craven could see it clearly now, a flood of lies, cascading down the walls, filling the warehouse. They were wading in them.
“Yes,” Craven Lorne said slowly. “We talked about this. And I was going to do it. I was going to do this for you. And you brought in Frisco in behind my back. You couldn't trust me, could you, even to do this one thing.”
“Look where we are, Craven. Of course I couldn't.”
Craven could feel his fists clenching and had to remind himself not to crush Minty's arm in his hand. “You could have. But you didn't listen! I told you so many times, so many ways—I loved you— I would have done anything for you. But it wasn't enough. None of it was ever enough. You just wouldn't listen.” Craven Lorne slumped forward, exhausted.
“Craven,” Voss said, his voice suddenly honey sweet, like he was coaxing a child. “She has Diamond Dust.”
Craven stared, at Voss, at Minty, at swirl of sparkling mist that was trailing out of her arm and floating on air currents up toward the ceiling. It was supposed to be a myth. White Dust was rare, but Diamond Dust was impossible. It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
Minty, who had been standing silently since Voss came in, merely nodded yes to Craven's unasked question.
“So you see,” Voss was pleased, sounding like his old self. He let his sentence trail away. Of course Craven saw.
“She really has Diamond Dust?” Craven asked, knowing the answer.
Voss took an easy step forward. “Yes.”
“So this is why you wanted her. You could be more powerful than—”
“We could be more powerful.” Another step.
“And the others? Are you going to give it to them – to Frisco?”
Voss waved his hand lazily. “Of course not. You're the only one I'd ever share this with. You've always been the only one.”
Craven tightened his grip on Minty's arm. “It was never about revenge, was it?”
Voss chuckled. “Revenge. No. That was just an added bonus.” He took another step.
Craven lifted Minty's arm like a bat and swung.