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amaliaverdezoto > The Selection > 71 Inteiru Expota - Confrontation
"Aisha, where's Aisha?!" Ada exclaims as she runs into the Casino. The remaining members of her team are with her, but not any of Hina's team members.

I'm not sure how to deliver the bad news to her. We had some time to think, but don't know if we should respect Aisha's wishes and make something up or tell the truth. Marin and Ruby aren't going to respond. And I'm sure Hina is going to leave it to me to make the decision. I have to say something before Ada tries to barge through the security.

"She's not here," I say.

Ada grabs my shoulders and yells, "Where is she?!"

Her desperation makes me inclined to tell the truth. If it were me, I'd want to know the truth no matter how harsh it is. I'm certain the truth rather than a lie would upset her and the others. It's less of a hassle for me if I get it over with, and it's not like I have a good relationship with any of them. There's no reason for me to be considerate of their feelings. But, we are working together to find leads on the masked men. I can't have them dwell on this for too long. The fact that Aisha isn't here can only mean one thing. They aren't stupid.

"She decided to go with Floyd."

"Why…why would she do that?" Ada asks, and then her eyes widen. "Did she lose another wager?"

"Not exactly…" I hesitate.

"Then what? She wouldn't leave us behind after we had an agreement."

"She said she's sorry. She was wrong to make wagers involving you and the others without discussing it first, so she's taking responsibility herself."

"No, that can't be true," Melody says.

"I agree; she knows us well. She wouldn't have made the decision in the first place if we would be against it," Doris says. "She would never feel guilty like that."

"She couldn't have forgotten that I agreed to help too," Ada says. "What really happened?"

"Look. Aisha really didn't want me to tell you because she knew you would disagree. Floyd retook a personal interest in her after she refused his offer of the new wager. He wanted to get to know her one on one."

"That can't be right. That bastard said he was in a hurry," Ada says.

"That was just a trick to force a decision out of us faster. Aisha re-evaluated the situation and felt it was easier to settle the 20 gold bet herself before the offer expired. She's gonna try to seduce him and get the information we want while they're intimate. That's the truth."

Ada lets me go and looks down. She squeezes her fists, cracking them a few times.

Just like that, I shut everyone up, even though it's a lie. It's so easy to get away with it too, when I'm not dealing with the Xog. The trick is to stretch what they're expecting by only a little.

Deniz walks forward and puts a hand on Ada's shoulder. "Aisha's a strong girl. She'll be fine. It doesn't look like we can do anything now."

Hina walks by my side and then says, "He's right, Ada. We need to move forward with our plan without her. Nothin's changed."

"I know…but Aisha. When will she be back?" Ada asks.

I shrug my shoulders and answer, "Not sure. Floyd didn't say. We can always come back tomorrow and check on her if we have time."

"Yeah…"

"So, did you guys find anything useful?" I ask while keeping my voice down. I glance behind me, and the Dwarf at the reception is staring right at me. Don't want him to overhear what comes next.

Everyone understands and silently huddles around each other.

Deniz informs, "We found an unusual spot with higher security."

"Unusual, how?" I ask.

"It's off to the side, and it's just a plain wall. There doesn't seem to be anything else of importance there. We think it's a secret entrance they use for hauling in large goods."

"Like a shipment of Aerkins?" Hina asks.

"Could be."

"That's good to know but doesn't really help us," I say. It's obvious there would be a way to smuggle Aerkins into the underground city without the risk of someone catching sight. It could be a good rou

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