Defender of the Empire 2: Facades

Free Defender of the Empire 2: Facades by Catherine Beery

Book: Defender of the Empire 2: Facades by Catherine Beery Read Free Book Online
Authors: Catherine Beery
HAVE BEEN TRAPPED IN THE LOUS-ECI’DALB FOR A LONG TIME. WHEN I WAS LAST FREE, THEY WERE PROBABLY YOUNG CHILDREN AND NOT SHADES. NOT YET.
                  I slumped. It seemed Admiral Wingstar really was the only one who had actually known my parents.
                  SORRY, LITTLE ONE, Kylesst murmured. I could tell that he meant it. I nodded and continued searching through the files. There was a report filed by the Shade who had led the recovery team. My mother’s Spectral, a snake named Sylth, had gone to share the sad news that his Shade had died. His return was what sent the recovery team. He led them to where she had died. The sad part was, she had been left there to rot. Amber was found to have been pregnant when she died, which was a detail previously unknown to the Order. The investigating Shade, a Paul Grayson, didn’t seem too surprised to find that out. The two were a married couple and they had been gone a month shy of a year. A lot could happen in that time period.
                  What did bother Shade Grayson was that she had been killed while pregnant, and it was obvious that the baby had been cut out. Who took the baby? And where was Joseph, because there was no sign of him. Any doubts about Joseph’s integrity were shattered when Sylth explained that it hadn’t been Joseph who had killed Amber. She had been mortally wounded when they were ambushed. Amber had died in her husband’s arms. Sylth was not surprised that the baby had been taken, as he assumed Joseph had done what he could to save the child.
                  The recovery team returned Amber’s body to her family, and she was buried on her homeworld of Forestrium. No leads had been found to point the investigating Shades to Amber’s murderers, which was another point that strongly bothered Shade Grayson. The Shades might not have be able to find anything, but the Spectrals should have been able to. But they couldn’t. Finding nothing, they had to return to their previous duties.
                  What could do that? I asked Kylesst. What could keep Spectrals from finding something?
                  AN ANCIENT ENEMY, Kylesst replied. SOUL SHADOWS COULD ERASE EVIDENCE OF THEIR PRESENCE SOMETIMES, ESPECIALLY IN A CROWDED PLACE LIKE CORONAIUS. IF THEY WERE INVOLVED, THEN IT IS NO WONDER THAT YOUR PARENTS WERE CAUGHT UNAWARES, AS IT SOUNDS LIKE THEY WERE.
                  How do you figure that? I asked, scanning over the report again. I was afraid that I had missed something between the lines.
                  Kylesst chuckled at my reaction. PARENTS MAY SEEM DISTRACTED BY THE UPCOMING ARRIVAL OF A CHILD, AND IN MOST CIRCUMSTANCES THEY ARE BLISSFULLY SO ENGAGED. THAT SAID, PARENTS ARE MORE AWARE OF WHAT COULD POSE A THREAT TO THEIR CHILD THAN MOST WOULD BELIEVE, ESPECIALLY IF THAT CHILD IS A FIRST. CONSIDERING WHO AND WHAT YOUR PARENTS WERE AND WHERE THEY WERE, IT WOULD NORMALLY BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR SOMETHING TO SNEAK UP ON THEM.
                  If that is the case, why were they there? Why didn’t they leave when they knew I was on the way? I asked. And I will admit there was a lot of wistful pleading in my mental voice. If they had left Coronaius before the ambush that Kylesst was sure had trapped them they would still be alive. I would have known them and wouldn’t have to beg others for any scrap of information about them. As much as I loved Aunt Sylvie, I often wondered what it would have been like to have parents like some of the people I knew did.
                  LITTLE ONE, Kylesst murmured in a soothing tone, THEY WERE SHADES. IT WAS THEIR DUTY AND HONOR TO CONTINUE WITH THEIR MISSION. THEY WERE NOT THE FIRST SHADE COUPLE TO CONTINUE A MISSION EVEN IF THEY WERE EXPECTING. I’M SURE THEY WILL NOT BE THE LAST. I shook my head and Kylesst continued. WOULD YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR PARTNER IN DANGER WHILE YOU WENT HOME BECAUSE YOU

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