A smile spread across Corinn’s face as his lookout reported what he had seen. This was just the icing on the cake after the news of Aven’s death. He wasn’t completely sure of what it all meant, but it did point to an unstable Raven. She was devastated, as the boy was telling him. It had been days and she was still in deep mourning.
Raven wouldn’t be thinking clearly. She could be impulsive and have her guard down. Of course, she could be reacting differently and be even sharper than usual. She could make many mistakes, or work flawlessly. The woman had never before lost a member of her following to another’s hands. Of course, Aven had had to execute a handful for disloyalty, but that had been on her orders.
No, Raven had never lost anyone that close to her before. And now to lose her closest friend and adviser? It was also rumored that the man had been Raven’s lover. There was no evidence of that, but he didn’t doubt it was true. They were too close to not be lovers.
He didn’t know how Raven operated while grieving, but he was sure it would put him at an advantage. Her mindset would be different and it might be easier to get at her and stab a knife through her own heart.
He smiled at that thought. Ever since the girl had proclaimed herself a Thief Lord he had been itching to get rid of her. But she was tough and well protected. No one got to her unless they were allowed, and no Thief Lord had ever gotten close to her with so much as a sharpened stick.
“My Lord?” the boy asked uncertainly as Corinn’s smile grew and his eyes sparked with a light he hadn’t seen before.
“Good job, boy,” was Corinn’s only reply.
He pulled out a silver coin and flipped it to his lookout. The boy turned it over with awe, forgetting the odd look on his Thief Lord’s face. Never before had he ever been paid for any of his work. He couldn’t believe he actually held real money in his hands.
“Good work, kid,” Corinn repeated when they boy hadn’t moved. He turned away from the boy and dismissed him with a wave, clearly indicating he was done with the kid.
Only the sound of footsteps told him the boy had left. Like Raven and Deryk, he was based underground. His network wasn’t as extensive as Raven’s, but it was mostly because his following was smaller than hers, so they required fewer caverns and less space.
Quin emerged from the shadows he usually hid in. He was a silent one, and that’s what Corinn liked about him. He understood all of his orders and only offered his advice when Corinn demanded it. The man followed his words to a T. That had been a problem with his last adviser. Pyner had been too focused on the “advising” part of being his adviser.
“What do you think?” Corinn asked, not looking at his adviser. “Do you think now would be the time to go after her, attack her, bring her down?”
“The woman is unstable,” Quin said, his voice soft and silky, not too different from Corinn’s own oily voice. “She could be capable of anything.”
Corinn nodded. “Yes. That is true. I thought the same.”
“Would you like my advice?” Quin asked.
Corinn turned to him and blinked. “Yes. I would, actually. What would you do?”
“I would survey her a little longer, perhaps another day, but no longer than that. We cannot give her too much time to recover. If we are to strike, now would be the time. Of course, we must be careful, so we must have a closer eye on her.”
The Thief Lord nodded and folded his hands over his lean stomach. “I thought that, too. We can’t wait too long, but we do need more information. Quin, it’s been far too long since you last served as a shadow.”
A smile spread across Quin’s face. “I would be happy to follow the woman.”
Corinn nodded. “Good. Keep watch for her and follow her closely whenever she exits her caverns.”
Quin bowed to his master and murmured, “As my Thief Lord wishes.”
And that’s exactly what Corinn loved so much about the man.