He breathes out with a faint sibilant sound of air through his lips.
‘Soon, it will be mine,’ he says softly.
There is a shape in the soft shadows at the edge of the room. It moves, develops into a lithe silhouette.
‘Ours, you mean, surely,’ it says.
He does not turn from the view, but blinks softly. He does not want her to see any reaction from him: he finds her tiresome. He plans to betray her at the earliest opportunity.
‘Yes,’ he replies after a pause. ‘We will raze it to the ground and rebuilt it on our own principles.’
She quietly pads up to him and advances her head near to his, so her chin is almost touching his cheek.
‘You don’t need to make such a fuss over the evil genius thing,’ she whispers.
He lowers his arms slowly. She has killed the moment. She will pay, he tells himself.
‘Perhaps not. But with an opposition that is so…’ he shakes his head.
‘Hapless?’ she suggests.
As he chuckles slowly, his mouth curls into a sneer.
‘It just invites a certain type of… response.’
She moves to sit on the desk at the end of the window. She picks up a paperweight, then turns it in her hands. Her legs swing under the desk, only perceptible as an recurring glint in the dim light.
‘So remind me.’
She is playing a familiar script. The paperweight, a polished stone sphere, passes from hand to hand.
‘Trust. That is the first point of attack. We undermine the bonds between them.’
‘How very psychological of you,’ she says. She grins in the dark.
‘Yes, I rather thought so.’
‘And to have this opportunity presented to us – we’d be fools, remiss even, not to act at this time.’
‘Both Morgan and the Prolix absent, yes. The others are left weakened.’ He places his hands on his chest and breathes deeply to feel them rise on his ribcage.
‘Everything is in place,’ she says.
‘Yes,’ he replies. ‘Those I have sent to infiltrate their group have gained sufficient trust.’
‘Those?’ she asks, perplexed. This is unexpected, but she is pleasantly intrigued. ‘There’s more than one?’
‘I may have forgotten to mention some of them,’ he says, turning to her and shrugging. ‘An oversight.’
His tone irritates her.
‘Anything else slip your mind?’ she asks. Her voice is still soft, but there is a thread of menace in it.
‘A few minor details.’ He takes a few steps towards her. ‘Here, pass me that paperweight.’ She does so. He bobs his hand a few times, feeling the heft of it.
‘Nothing important.’ He slowly swings his arm backwards. ‘The slight matter of a large explosion.’ Abruptly, he hurls the stone at the window.
To the woman sitting on the desk, it seems that at the exact moment the glass shatters, the city glows brighter. The skyline erupts, and nearer to their vantage point, she sees whole buildings explode. It all happens at the same time.
Her composure lost, she gasps, and the light from the city in flame is reflected on the skin of her cheek and in her eyes.