The wizard turned around to find Police Chief Saba Colbshallow standing very close. Unconsciously, his hand reached up, even as the incantation for an amnesia spell came to his lips. Then he noticed Saba’s hand in his pocket, the shape indicating that a pistol probably accompanied the hand.
“I… I was hoping to leave unnoticed.”
“Why? You haven’t done anything that should concern me, have you?”
“Of course not.” His eyes were suddenly moist. “It’s just time to go.”
“I thought you were going to help us with our wizard problem.”
“Don’t you know? Can’t you see?” Coote’s voice cracked. “You don’t have a wizard problem.”
Saba frowned. “We shot one. Arrested a couple more. That seems to have put a damper of public disturbances,” he allowed. “Of course we’ve got a few in jail. Still, there are quite enough to keep my men on their toes.”
“Fools! They’re fools!” Coote grabbed the police chief by the lapels even as he broke into a fit of sobbing. “They don’t have enough art in them to feel what’s coming! It’s coming! It’s coming and none of us are going to survive!”
Saba grabbed the wizard by the wrists and pulled him around the corner of the ticket booth.
“Go on about your business,” he barked to the few other passengers turned audience members. Around the corner of the building, with nobody in sight, he looked deep into Coote’s eyes. “What they hell are you on about? What’s coming?”
“The dragon? It ate one wizard, and nobody’s seen it since.”
“Not the dragon.” His voice became a whisper. “It’s mother.”
“What they hell are you talking about? That dragon was raised from an egg by…”
The wizard squeaked.
Coote began shaking. Saba kicked open a side door of the office, throwing the man inside and then following him. A middle-aged man in a railroad uniform was sitting in the only chair, sipping a cup of tea. Saba pulled out his pistol.
The man dropped his teacup, which shattered on the floor, and ran out. Saba shoved Coote into the recently vacated chair.
“Senta’s not dead?”
“No,” cried Coote. “I mean I don’t know if she is or isn’t or was or whatever. But whatever it was… that she was… it was their fault! And now she’s killing them all!”
Saba slapped him across the face, knocking off his hat.
“Listen. Tell me what’s going on and I’ll let you get out of here.”
The wizard nodded.
“Who are they?”
“And what is The Zenith?” asked Saba, through clenched teeth.
“It’s a secret extra-governmental organization of wizards.”
“Another secret magical cabal? Like the Reine Zauberei?”
“No, not like them. The Reine Zauberei were trying to ensure the purity of the master race. The Zenith is, well, mostly just about making sure that Brech interests are secured.”
“Yes, it’s the exact bloody opposite. Are you one of them?”