Book 2 - Text Updates 017
Queen Jillian made it only a single hex beyond Jetstone's walls before a Thinkagram came in. She wasn't sure which of her two patrons it would be. She hoped for Don. Cruising with her forces above the main road out of Jetstone, she took it on the fly.
"I was calling to congratulate you, Jillian," said the voice in her head, a clear baritone unaffected by the rush of wind around her helmet. "But I see there's a change of plans in the works? What should I know here?"
Jillian rolled her eyes. "You were calling to congratulate yourself. Your plan, remember?"
"Ah perhaps," said Charlie, with a little amusement. "But my plans don't always work out, especially when I'm taking more of a consulting role."
"Now you tell me," said the Queen.
"At any rate, the spell is cast, and the prize is caught."
Charlie waited for a moment, then added, "In Jetstone's airspace."
When she didn't say anything, he also added, "So I suppose I'm wondering why you're leaving the city."
"I'm not attacking Gobwin Knob's flyers, Charlie. At all."
Duncan, flying close enough to overhear, raised his eyebrows. Jillian looked away from him, but she also felt the Turnamancer's grip on her shoulders shift.
"I see," said Charlie, still calm and casual. "Surprising. Any reason?"
"You wouldn't understand," Jillian mumbled.
"I'm in the business of understanding," said Charlie. His tone was serious, but not unkind. "And also of Thinkamancy. I believe I know what new wrinkle we're talking about here. I just wish you'd said something about it in the planning phases."
"It was none of your business."
"You know that's untrue, Jillian," said Charlie. "This operation and all its parameters are my business exactly."
The Faq forces crossed hexes. She glanced around, but there was nothing remarkable. Just more broad road and a token stack of Jetstone stabbers. She said nothing to Charlie.
"Well," he continued, "I suppose just tell me what you do plan to do next. I'll figure something out from there."
"There's still a column of about thirteen hundred infantry on the other side of the bridge, right?" said Jillian.
"Not for long," she snarled.
"You'll need help with that," said Charlie. "And it can't come from me."
Jillian frowned. "Why not? Riding in right now with me would be good for you. The Royals see you wipe out a major ground force, with Stanley's Chief Warlord in it, they'll probably accept you as an okay ally."
"It's not only the Coalition I have to worry about. I also can't let Gobwin Knob know I'm working against them."
"What do you care? Stanley hates you anyway."
"I said 'Gobwin Knob.'" said Charlie darkly. "I didn't say 'Stanley.'"
Jillian tried to think of what he could mean by that. "What, Wanda? I just parleyed with her. If you hadn't had me under nondisclosure I could've turned her. She doesn't hate you, she'd probably work for you."
There was a long, long silence. The stack flew nearly across the entire hex. Jillian thought maybe the Thinkagram connection was broken, but she hadn't felt the usual little pop.
Then she heard Charlie's voice, for the first time sounding stressed. "That's extremely interesting information, Jillian. We'll talk about it later, but I've got a developing situation. Please don't attack the column alone. I'll try to get you some help. Goodbye."