Blaze of Secrets (Asylums for Magical Threats 1) - Page 74

The words echoed inside Gio’s mind, much like they had all afternoon. Even though Millie Ward was falsely pronounced dead and being transported to a secure location, her accusations lingered.

Gio shook his head to clear away the thoughts. The woman was gone and now under someone else’s care. Once his acquaintance informed him that Millie had agreed to live under a false identity, and let her go, Gio would never have to deal with her again.

The panel on his desk buzzed, signaling that someone was outside his door and wanted to talk to him. Gio pressed a button and said, “Yes?”

“Sir, it’s Ramirez, with a progress report.”

His retrieval team had captured Jaxton Ward earlier this morning, and Ramirez was in charge of getting information out of him. Sources said that Ward was a first-born activist, suspected of working with DEFEND.

Gio pressed a button to unlock his door and said, “Enter.”

Ramirez walked in and quickly closed the door. “The prisoner is still being uncooperative, but now that the escaped first-born has been secured, I have a new strategy I wanted to run by you.”

Kiarra’s successful capture was news to him, but Gio was careful not to betray that fact. He’d deal with the information lapse later. “What do you have in mind?”

“The prisoner is protecting the woman. From all accounts, he drew the retrieval team away from her so that they would follow him. I think he cares for her.” Gio waved for the man to continue. “If I can show she’s being abused, her life on the line, he will probably do anything to guarantee her safety.”

“Even though the first-born’s life is protected by the AMT Oversight Committee, but he won’t know that.”


While Kiarra had broken the law and first-borns could be sentenced without trial, there were limits to what he’d allow. “Tell me what you have in mind.”

“A few bruises and maybe some ripped clothing, but nothing more.”

Millie’s voice filled his mind: Why does she deserve it?

No, this was different. He could justify Ramirez’s request because Kiarra had broken the law. “Fine, but have someone else rough her up so you can establish a ‘good cop, bad cop’ scenario. That way she might be more cooperative with you later on.”

Ramirez nodded and left to carry out his plan.

Gio was not going to feel guilty for following the law. Kiarra had escaped and resisted capture. Without making an example out of her, others would try to follow suit. The AMT Oversight Committee and, most importantly, his father would make Gio the scapegoat if he didn’t follow through. And any opportunity to learn more about the pediatrics facilities and the AMT-conducted experiments would disappear.

He stilled. When had learning more about the inner workings of the AMT become more important than repealing Article I?

Keep lying to yourself.

The woman. She was partly to blame for this. Without her mistreatment, he probably never would’ve gone sniffing around the AMT records, nor discovered information about the breeding program. Still, he couldn’t be too angry at her; her pain had opened his eyes. He still struggled with the newfound image he was starting to get of his father, but Gio hesitated to deem him guilty without all the facts.

All he knew was that in order to continue to have access to privileged information, he needed to find out about Kiarra’s capture and analyze the report. He needed something to tell his father.

He checked his email and scanned the report on Kiarra’s capture. The basics were there, but at the end, the man who’d taken point hinted at something important, something too risky to be shared over email. Gio sent a text message to arrange a meeting; the man replied right away to confirm the time and place.

With any luck, he could ship Kiarra back to the Cascade F-block within the next few days and have a new assignment from his father soon after that. The longer it took to get Kiarra out of the same facility Gio stood in right now, the greater the chance of Gio meeting Kiarra. As he’d learned with Millie, reading or hearing about a beating was one thing, but confronting it face to face was another. He couldn’t afford to think of Kiarra as anything more than an escaped first-born.

Chapter Thirty-One

Jaxton grunted as a fist connected with his stomach, and then again, before the interrogator backed off and waited. But despite the pinpricks of light hovering at the edges of his vision, Jaxton forced himself to appear nonchalant, as if he hadn’t been beaten to a bloody pulp the day before. He’d learned quickly that the AMT interrogators took advantage of the slightest sign of weakness.

And he needed to stay strong if he wanted to help either Kiarra or his sister.

Kiarra. Hopefully she’d arrived at the safe house without incident. No doubt the AMT interrogators would’ve used Kiarra against him by now if they’d caught her. But since their questions had mainly focused on first-born activist groups, and not her whereabouts, he was going to assume she was safe until he found out otherwise. Kiarra was resourceful; no doubt she’d contacted Aislinn and was already planning a rescue mission.

Or so he hoped.

Whatever might’ve happened, Jaxton needed to focus on finding a way to escape; he wasn’t much good to anyone whilst he was tied to a chair.

His wrists were tied behind his back with a nylon rope that also stretched to his ankles. The position was not just uncomfortable, it made escape nearly impossible without a weapon. Anytime he’d been left alone, Jaxton had tested his bonds, but they weren’t loose enough yet to slip his hands out of the rope.

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