Home > Prodigy (Legend #2)(11)

Prodigy (Legend #2)(11)
Marie Lu

* * *

We get back to the living room seven minutes late. Razor and Kaede are waiting for us. Tess sits alone on a corner of the couch, her legs folded up to her chin, watching us with a guarded expression. An instant later, I smell the aromas of baked chicken and potatoes. My eyes dart to the dining room table where four dishes loaded with food sit neatly, beckoning to us. I try not to react to the smell, but my stomach rumbles.

“Excellent,” Razor says, smiling at us. He lets his eyes linger on me. “You two clean up nicely.” Then he turns to Day and shakes his head. “We arranged for some food to be brought up, but since you’re having surgery within the next few hours, you’re going to have to keep your stomach empty. I’m sorry—I know you must be hungry. June, please help yourself.”

Day’s eyes are also fixed on the food. “That’s just great,” he mutters.

I join the others at the table while Day stretches out on the couch and makes himself as comfortable as he can. I’m about to pick up my plate and sit next to him, but Tess beats me to it, seating herself on the edge of the couch so her back touches Day’s side. As Razor, Kaede, and I eat in silence at the table, I occasionally steal glances at the couch. Day and Tess talk and laugh with the ease of two people who have known each other for years. I concentrate on my food, the heat of our bathroom encounter still burning on my lips.

I’ve counted off five minutes in my head when Razor finally takes a sip of his drink and leans back. I watch him closely, still wondering why one of the Patriots’ leaders—the head of a group that I’d always associated with savagery—is so polite. “Ms. Iparis,” he says. “How much do you know about our new Elector?”

I shake my head. “Not much, I’m afraid.” Beside me, Kaede snorts and continues digging into her dinner.

“You’ve met him before, though,” Razor says, revealing what I’d hoped to keep from Day. “That night at the ball, the one held to celebrate Day’s capture? He kissed your hand. Correct?” Day pauses in his conversation with Tess. I cringe inwardly.

Razor doesn’t seem to notice my discomfort. “Anden Stavropoulos is an interesting young man,” he says. “The late Elector loved him a great deal. Now that Anden is Elector, the Senators are uneasy. The people are angry, and they couldn’t care less if Anden is different from the last Elector. No matter what speeches Anden gives to please them, all they’re going to see is a wealthy man who has no idea how to heal their suffering. They’re furious with Anden for letting Day’s execution go through, for hunting him down, for not saying a word against his father’s policies, for putting a price on finding June . . . the list goes on. The late Elector had an iron grip on the military. Now the people just see a boy king who has the chance to rise up and become another version of his father. These are the weaknesses we want to exploit, and this brings us to the plan we currently have in mind.”

“You seem to know a great deal about the young Elector. You also seem to know a great deal about what happened at the celebratory ball,” I reply. I can’t hold in my suspicion any longer. “I suppose that’s because you were also a guest that night. You must be a Republic officer—but without a rank high enough to get you an audience with the Elector.” I study the room’s rich velvet carpets and granite counters. “These are your actual office quarters, aren’t they?”

Razor seems a little put off by my criticism of his rank (which, as usual, is a fact that I hadn’t meant as an insult), but quickly brushes it off with a laugh. “I can see there’ll be no secrets with you. Special girl. Well, my official title is Commander Andrew DeSoto, and I run three of the capital’s city patrols. The Patriots gave me my street name. I’ve been organizing most of their missions for a little over a decade.”

Day and Tess are both listening intently now. “You’re a Republic officer,” Day echoes uncertainly, his eyes glued to Razor. “A commander from the capital. Hm. Why are you helping the Patriots?”

Razor nods, resting both of his elbows on the dinner table and pressing his hands together. “I suppose I should start by giving you both some details about how we work. The Patriots have been around for thirty or so years—they started as a loose collection of rebels. Within the last fifteen years, they’ve banded together in an attempt to organize themselves and their cause.”

“Razor’s coming changed everything, so I hear,” Kaede pipes up. “They’d rotated through leaders all the time, and funding had always been a problem. Razor’s connections to the Colonies have been bringing in more money for missions than ever before.”

Metias had been busier over the last couple of years in dealing with Patriot attacks in Los Angeles, I recall.

Razor nods at Kaede’s words. “We’re fighting to reunite the Colonies and the Republic, to return the United States to its former glory.” His eyes take on a determined gleam. “And we’re willing to do whatever it takes to achieve our goal.”

The old United States, I think, as Razor continues. Day had mentioned the United States to me during our escape from Los Angeles, although I was still skeptical. Until now. “How does the organization work?” I ask.

“We keep an eye out for people who have the talents and skills we need, and then we try to recruit them,” Razor says. “Usually we’re good at getting people on board, although some people take longer than others.” He pauses to tip his glass in Day’s direction. “I am considered a Leader in the Patriots—there are only a few of us, working from the inside and architecting the rebels’ missions. Kaede here is a Pilot.” Kaede waves a hand around as she continues to inhale her food. “She joined us after she was expelled from an Airship Academy in the Colonies. Day’s surgeon is a Medic, and young Tess here is a Medic in training. We also have Fighters, Runners, Scouts, Hackers, Escorts, and so on. I would place you as a Fighter, June, although your abilities seem to cross into several categories. And Day, of course, is the best Runner I’ve ever seen.” Razor smiles a little and finishes his drink. “The two of you should technically be a new category altogether. Celebrities. That’s how you’re going to be most useful to us, and that’s why I didn’t throw you both back out on the street.”

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