The long, thin drink of water in the straight, sharp, black suit and black leather half boots was waiting for me at the end of the alley, the glow of his usual roll-your-own sitting somewhere between the shock of blonde hair and the tie. The half brother of my half brother had called for help and I was not what he’d expected or hoped for. Unfortunately for Rume, Drang was the other side of the continent dealing with his own affairs.
“Zemane.” His greeting was cool but he didn’t blow his smoke in my face, which was a good sign. All I know about what he puts in those cigarettes of his is that it isn’t taxable or illegal, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t kill a horse – Rume has an unusual constitution. “I’d hoped he was back.”
“He wrote that things were taking longer than expected,” I offered. “You said you needed help so I came instead.”
He looked me up and down. I didn’t have our mutual relative’s physical advantages so I made up my lack with equipment. I could tell from his expression that he wasn’t happy and that if I hadn’t shared a pregnancy as well as a mother with Drang he would have sent me home. “Change of plan. You’re bait. I need to catch this guy. We go to the top of the building separately, you wander around calling my name. He jumps you and I catch him. I need him alive,” he looked at my hardware, “So restrain yourself.”
“Okay to what?” He stubbed out his cigarette and threw it in the bin.
“Everything. Let’s do it.” I looked at him with what I hoped was the expression that Drang had told me annoyed him.
We did what Rume said and I did get jumped. By some sort of half-wolf, half baboon, half man thing. Trust me, having that on top of me was as bad as it sounds. Rume was as good as his word, he caught him – a kick to the head laid the creature out and the last I saw of it, it was being locked, hogtied, in the back of a police van. I’d also seen Rume hand over a chain of handcuffs to the senior policeman who turned up: it looked like our target had been collecting police trophies.
I was still sitting on the parapet making sure my ribs were intact when Rume came back over to me.
“Thanks,” he said, “You didn’t ask what this is about?” The question was there querying my motives.
“I trust you.” I stood up to stretch. “I don’t need to know your motives every time. You’re one of the good guys.”