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“Where?” Daniel slipped the night vision over his eyes and followed where Guilt pointed. Nine figures, taller and bulkier than elves or dwarves, stalked through the planted bamboo grove running from the central plaza up to the aviary. Humans! He let the thought slide, finding it entirely too comfortable in making such a proclamation. Still, the question of what they were doing and who they were remained. “I didn’t think there were any humans involved.”
“Xander has a few remaining. The ogres took care of most of them. There should not be any others here,” the gargoyle snarled. Unlike the other races, he could see perfectly at night, so he noticed their armor, their guns, and their distinct manner marking them as government agents. The temptation to fly away and not look back grew stronger. Dealing with the king and queen was one matter, one he had no qualms with facing, but the government took matters to new levels. Too many of his kind withered and died under federal interdiction while being blinded by false claims of protection. He had no trust in the men darting through the trees but didn’t want to risk a confrontation with them either.
“It is DESA,” he said, backing deeper into the shadows.
Sara asked, “What’s DESA?”
“A clandestine government department answerable to no one,” the gargoyle divulged. “The Department of Extra Species Affairs. They hunt us, contain us, and regulate everything our species does. They are very bad people.”
Daniel had never heard of them, but that didn’t really surprise him. In Afghanistan, he’d worked with more people that officially didn’t exist than he could have imagined. There were government departments by the dozens he’d never heard of before the war, and that frightened him. People that don’t exist can get away with anything. No wonder these guys hate humans so much. We’re still hunting them, still trying to be the overlords.
“Do we engage, or will they ignore us?” he asked, suddenly more concerned with their chances of getting to the princess. Once again the tables had turned, leaving him with the wrong cards.
“It is bad enough they are here; do not risk open confrontation with them unnecessarily. It is a fight we cannot win.”