Chapter Six.

Give an example of a crime for which Meph has been blamed.

The Garlysle watched the house. He was taller than most, with raven-black feathers that melted into the night. His blue eyes were unusual. Most garlysles’ eyes were dark. His cut through the inky-black air as he moved around to the back of the house. A window was open on the second floor. As agile as a cat, he scaled the drainpipe and looked through the window. There were two beds; a child in each one. One girl. One boy.

The window creaked as he opened it all the way. Startled by the noise, the children sat up in bed. Their eyes widened when they saw the figure there. The girl opened her mouth to scream but not a sound came out. The boy dove back under the covers.

The garlylse entered the room. “Esa Lapis,” he murmured with a wave of his hand.

Both of the children became very still as their rose-petal skin hardened into granite.

The garlysle walked past them, creeping downstairs. The sounds of laughter floated out through a door to his left. Without a sound he entered the room. Inside, a man and a woman had their backs to him—the man in an armchair and the woman stoking a fire burning in the hearth. Turning around, the woman saw the garlysle first, the poker clattering to the floor as she brought her hand to her mouth. The man whirled around, then shot to his feet, moving in front of the woman.

“Meph! Wh-what do you want?” he gasped. “Y-you’re not allowed to be here, you know. All garlysles will suffer when Groq hears about this. I-if you leave now, I won’t say a word to anyone—I promise!”

At this, Meph threw back his hawk-like head and laughed. “Ah yes, dear uncle Groq. Still doing his best to keep everything in order. Surely you know by now that I care not for his rules. Soon it will be I who makes the rules. But for now …”

Withdrawing his wand, he rested his cold blue eyes upon the man. “Time for a little message.”

The man froze, his skin hardening into the same granite edges as his children’s had done moments before.

The woman stared at Meph, eyes wide with terror.

“Please!” she whispered. “I beg of you. Do what you want with me, but spare the children—I beg you!”

She shrank back as Meph drew near to her, bending down until his face was level with hers.

“Your children have already been spared,” he snarled. “Spared a lifetime of delusion and lies by all of you puppets!”

He lashed out the last word with so much fury that the woman fell over backward.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself!” he thundered. “But as it is,” he went on, suddenly calm. “You may tell the Queen of Glendoch that I have eliminated your husband’s position of Keeper of the Archives,” he eyed the man and chuckled. “Along with the Keeper and, in its stead, created a new position.”

He enclosed the woman’s neck with his taloned hand and lifted her up into the air. Dangling from its hand, she clawed at its talons, gasping for air.

“The title of which shall be Speaker of the Archives and the objective of which shall be to release the secrets of the archives for all of Glendoch to hear. How about it my dear?”

Meph flung her to the ground and stormed out, leaving the woman sobbing in a heap on the floor.

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