“What do I intend to do with him?” Mayin repeated the Ambassador’s question. “I am not required to do anything with Oberxiao Huhn, sir, and with that luxury in hand I intend to take my time in deciding what to do about the situation.”
“A fair answer,” the Ambassador acknowledged. “I have wondered, as a matter of personal curiosity, how did you hide the trigger that Jan-li tripped to set off that explosion? I always thought he was too sharp eyed to get caught by anything obvious.”
Mayin regarded him, the rest of the table, then the maimed man standing beside her. “Oberxiao Huhn didn’t trigger the explosion, Ambassador, I did. I knew someone would be pursuing me at that point and I intended that the pursuit would end there.” There was a sharp intake of breath from the civilian-clothed young man at the table, and Mayin added, drawing herself up, “I am a Shadow in the Dark and I intended to kill.”
“As was proper, Lang Mugou, and no-one is trying to corner you about it now.” He glared at the Ambassador’s aide and put his left hand, the one that was still his own flesh, on her back in what he hoped she would accept as a supportive gesture, “Allow me to return you to your brother and his wife with the hope that we may dance again later.”
Mayin let him guide her around the dance floor back to her brother, Edan, and his wife, Ley. “Lang Mugou?” She was gentle in her questioning with an element of surprise behind it. “Where did that come from?”
“It was what we called you,” his hand was still warm on her back, “before it was decided that such naming of our enemies inflated them in our minds. We changed to numbers but I think you deserve to be more than Three Nine Seven.” She looked at him sharply, “Particularly as you blew me up.”
“So was that a nickname or a title?” She could remember some of the names they’d had for identified but unknown enemies.
“Both,” he said. “It would look well, I think, on our family genealogy.”
“You seem confident that you can persuade me to marry you,” Mayin remarked as they reached the table she was sharing with her brother and sister-in-law.
“I appreciate you,” he replied calmly. “That departed gentleman from earlier seemed to lack the ability to do so. I am confident that you would fit better into a household with me than into one with someone like him.”
This is followed by Logic Fail (2).