Afgu cursed, got a hand loose and grabbed the guard’s gun.
Ice flicked out a punch spell.
The sharp mental flash of a Oner’s death. . . . Afgu folded, a trickle of blood from the hole in his forehead as the body hit the ground.
Everyone looked at Ice.
Ice shrugged. “I think he’s killed enough people already.”
Izzo nodded. “Too many. Thank you.”
The Prime Councilor shrugged. “Well. He went down fighting.” And walked away.
Ajki thumped his shoulder. “Saved everyone from setting a precedent. And while Keiq’s in the room, don’t ask Emre if he set that up.”
Ox snorted. “In front of the world. One!”
Ice retreated. Spotted Enno and Ettw talking to Onca and Eppa. Keiq was sitting quietly, taking everything in, and he sat beside her. “Well. That pretty much cemented my reputation.”
She leaned until their shoulders touched. “Added to your mythos. Can’t wait to see what you do next.”
“Woodwork. Lots of woodwork.”
No one seemed inclined to arrest him, so they wandered outside and found a shaded bench to sit on.
"It's funny, all this going on, and mostly I keep thinking about restoring an old disaster. Pity the Drei aren't as easy to fix."
Fix. Restoring. Returning it to . . .
Ice pulled out his comm and tapped in Xen Wolfson's number.
"Xen . . . if you can't destroy that gene complex, can you restore it to it's natural, unmagical, unmutated state?"
A long silence.
"That's . . . possible. Hard, mind you. Destruction is always easier than building. And natural genes, gene complexes, are so less straightforward than the artificial gene complexes . . . I'll talk to Lady Gisele about it."
Ice clicked off and stared at the comm. "Surely there's more to this 'Destroyer' nonsense than a random, casual, thought. I mean, I can't be the only one who's wondered about a genetic engineering solution to the problem?"
Keiq snorted. "The only one so close to the subject? Who is restoring a house for inspiration? Who can pick up his comm and call Xen Wolfson?"
"Can't be that easy . . . all right, a thousand or more Worlds won't be easy, no matter what, but still . . ." Ice stood up as he focused on President Izzo with all three of his directors in tow walked up.
"Ice, Isgu says we need an inquiry as to the legality of you killing Afgu, which is ridiculous, but we need to go through the forms."
"Oh yes, especially now." Ice shrugged. "Here or Paris?"
Ox snorted. "Paris. There's no one here who is unbiased, one way or the other."
"True. Well . . . while you lot set it up, am I under arrest, or may I work on my house?"
Ajki started laughing. "House arrest seems appropriate. Senior investigator Keiq? Keep an eye on him. And I think I'll send the Wrecking Crew to . . . make sure you aren't using any dangerous magic. So be sure to show them everything you do."
Izzo laughed at that. "Free training, eh?"
Ox pursed his lips. "Clearly an IR case, but since he's PrezD, I just may send some fellows along as well."
Ajha just shook his head. "I have quite enough scary people already, and people to train up more. But Ice, when they've satisfied the forms, I'd like you to take a look at our mapping project. Since you supposed to be the Destroyer of Bunnies. Might trigger a thought or two."
Ice glanced at the comm still in his hand. "Actually I just passed one on to Wolfson." Shrug. "Maybe that'll be the one that works."
So they all piled into the stretch limo and they talked genetics all the way to Paris.
House arrest never looked so good.
17 Jumada 1422 yp
"And finally, I can finish those stairs."
Keiq nodded against his shoulder. "As soon as you get out of bed. And I suppose dinner ought to happen sometime. And . . . I took a peek in that bag. You really do have an entire mahagony tree in it. So, can you cut an eight meter long slab for a table top?"
"Oh, now there's an idea. Not, mind you, that I've ever made furniture."
Keiq snickered. "Well, if you ever get fired again--mind you, they'd have to be insane to let you run around unsupervised--consider taking it up. The price of the tables I've been looking at is breathtaking."
"Well, if I make a mess of it . . . we'll have to wait until after the inquiry to go shopping." Ice stretched. "So . . . I'd better go figure out where to put the mahagony."
Like every tree he'd ever felled, it was a lot bigger once it was flat on the ground, rather than he'd thought, when it was standing. He'd cut it up above the burly roots, and then half excavated them, in anticipation of beautiful wood. Then getting the long bars of the dimensional bag around them, and then around the end of the tree trunk . . . which had been strange as he reached the first branches and the bars had snapped out of his hands and engulfed the whole crown like a hungry whale sucking down . . . something no sensible whale would ever eat.
"How the hell I'm going to get it out is anyone's guess." He walked out and eyed the stretch from the side of the house down toward the barn. It's long enough, I just need to figure out how to maneuver it around all the branches . . . good thing I cut and stripped a bunch of the leaves and twigs before I bagged it . . .
He turned at foot steps behind him. Luv, Wlvu, one of the Wrecking Crew, escorting Tanya.
"Ice, may I borrow a horse? I need a nice long ride."
"Sure . . . umm, I've lost track, have you closed on your house?"
"In three days." She wrung her hands. "I'm a little nervous about it."
A wry smile, fading into a frown. "What is that?" She poked at thin air a few cems in front of the long bars he was holding like a walking stick.
The huge tree hit the ground with a crashing thud.
Running footsteps from all over, slowing as they took in the tattered tree laying there.
Keiq raised her eyebrows.
Ice looked from the tree to Tanya. "You know, I think you need some lessons in dimensional magic. Take a ride, and I'll ask Rael if she's got anyone who can teach you, or whether you need to go to Embassy."
Tanya looked from him, to the tree, and back, looking horrified. "Did I just break a bag of the Prophets?"
"Oh, umm no. This is a new one. Was. Whatever. Doesn't really matter, I was just using it to move the lumber. Well, timber. Whatever." He looked around. "Every one accounted for?"
:: Horses? Are you all all right? ::
:: Yes! ::
:: Where did the tree fall from? ::
:: It's huge! ::
:: Why is it red? ::
Ice finished counting all of Oljo's Wrecking Crew and grinned. :: To be pretty. ::
"So, how good are you guys at slice? I happen to have an excellent opportunity for you to work on control . . ."
Once they'd figured out how to carefully limit the reach of their slices--Tanya watching avidly--and cleared a path to the trunk, Ice put on a demonstration, slabbing the truck for the first eight meters . . .
Keiq snickering. "Ice! Do you know how much that weighs? And it's green wood, it's going to warp!" She ran her finger along the surface of the center cut. "It's gorgous!"
"So, shall I show off with a bit of levitation?"
Oljo looked at the slab. "Well, I heard about you and the Ponies levitating the whole house . . . so yeah, I want to see this."