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“The tree bitch knows what we’re doing to the Oracle. Been talkin’ reckless.”
“I’m aware. Keep your voice down.”
“What the hell do we do?”
“We find another.”
“Oracle? Seriously? Because they’re so fucking easy to come by, right?”
“She’s hardly our first.”
Cerese pulled me onto her lap as the voices beyond the reinforced door turned up the volume, not caring what we heard. That was the scariest part.
Nothing to hide now.
I wrapped my arms around Cerese’s waist, pressed my face against her shoulder.
“You know what we went through to get this one.” The one arguing against my imminent disposal let out a laugh flirting with the wrong side of sanity. “Lopez still has panic attacks every time the trees move. This is Florida. We have breezes almost nonstop. The trees are always fucking moving.”
“And that’s why we Baker acted him,” the first voice said. “He’s got a nice room. And remember that cute boy nurse? I’d get committed for a piece of that.”
“He’s also got a list of meds half as long as my arm to keep him from remembering what a pissed off dryad can really do.”
“Which is why ours is fucking choke-collared, jackass.”
Cerese shuddered and I clutched her tighter. The fitted chain around her throat matched the ones around her wrist, preventing her magic from reaching for the trees surrounding the house. Kept her natural form suppressed. Made certain she couldn’t protect me as a Guardian was meant.
“Just put the Oracle on the boat. Take her to Bermuda. And get. Rid. Of. Her.”
“No,” Cerese whispered. Our bond had been forced. Our friendship was real.
“Will scream until we take her memories. And then we start fresh. Just like always. She never knows the difference.”
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