Sky is not sure if the other officers begin to leave before or after he gives them a nod of dismissal, but they clear out almost before he can rise to offer the newcomer tea. Mayumi, however, slips past the barrister to prepare the tea. “Please…Observer Nanã. Have a seat,” he says.
The woman sits on the better of the two mismatched, saved-from-the-rubbish-heap chairs, and studies Mayumi as the Bunny uses the hot water to steep the tea and begins to pour. Ewá Nanã keeps silent, both in word and in expression, but her still face, equal parts beautiful and handsome, betrays subtle but intense curiosity to Sky’s eyes. When May serves her a cup with absolute formality, the two of them momentarily lock eyes and Sky worries for a moment that Mayumi might slip up, but the Bunny freezes for only a single heartbeat before she turns away to impassively refill Sky’s green porcelain cup and then, at a nod from him, withdraws, closing the door silently behind them.
Ewá Nanã raises her wooden, handle-less cup to her mouth and gazes at Sky through the steam rising from it as she blows gently on the liquid and then sips. She smiles momentarily at the taste and then sets the cup on Sky’s desk. “That was Mayumi?”
Sky nods. “Do you know all their names?” His voice is cold towards her.
“Not the youngest. It wasn’t in the records.”
“Tulip,” Sky says. “She awoke to her own name just after the death of Archon Nekh.”
“She is the one they say fulfilled the prophecy,” the lawyer says. “Though there is some disagreement over that.”
“She did nothing of significance,” Sky insists. “She bears no responsibility–”
“Inspector,” Ewá Nanã interrupts, “I am not here to prosecute these Bunnies. I have been asked to observe, and to question.”
“Asked?” He studies her with his divine senses that allow him to detect the relational chains of connection between people, objects, even organizations. “You are not an employee of the Council?”
“I am not.” Her voice is dry. “From my understanding, members of the Council could not agree on any of their usual Observers. Archon Math proposed going outside the established power structure.”
Sky stares at her for a long moment. “And what does this observation entail? I have to admit, I have heard of the Council’s Eyes, but I’ve rarely had reason to cross paths with them.”
“I am an independent investigator,” she replies. “My remit is to make certain that the Council has a clear and unbiased understanding of the situation, so that appropriate action can be taken. With no repeat of the hasty, unwise decisions that led up to the death of Archon Nekh.”
“Decisions made by Archon Nekh, yes. Attempted assassination of the accused and of the Guardia officers tasked with protecting them. Violating the sanctity of the Curia itself. I understand,” says Sky, abruptly changing subjects without changing his tone, “that Eyes of the Council are generally students of Law.”
She nods, unphased. “I am a Voice to the Courts Dei and Popula for my clan.”
“Dei and Popula? That is unusual, isn’t it?”
Her expression stays carefully neutral. “As a demigoddess, I live with a foot in both worlds, mortal and divine.”
Sky nods. “And as a member of the Candomblé clan, that flexibility is rightly valued rather than disparaged, as it is in many divine families.”
She arches one eyebrow at this. “You know of us.”
“Few clans are independent enough of the Urbis Caelestis’ power structure, and yet still regarded as trustworthy enough for the Council to turn to for an independent investigator,” Sky replies. “And your name – well, I have been living in Three Rats for weeks. I know most of the local deities.” Candomblé…interesting, Sky thinks. It is a religion widely practiced in Three Rats, though adapted as a vehicle for worshipping the local gods – a mix of Brazilian orixas and Hindu devas, both independent of their respective clans, plus other random gods who had wandered in and settled down in the time since the two neighborhoods had broken away from Earth and fused together on coming to rest near the base of the Urbis Caelestis.
She nods. “And my name sounds similar to theirs. I see.”
“Any particular reason they haven’t joined the main body of your clan, in the time since they arrived here?”
She looks slightly uncomfortable for a moment. “I would not know. If they wish to remain independent, that is their decision.”
Sky looks at her in silence. She returns his cool gaze with equal coolness. As the coolness begins to move toward true frigidity, the Inspector says, “I assume you will be speaking with Sergeant Alma’s lawyer, and Sergeant Gwydion’s as well.”
“Neither of them has elected to procure a Voice of Defense, from what I understand,” she replies.
Sky knits his brow. “What about the Death Clan, then? Don’t they have an army of lawyers?”
“I have just come from meeting with the Senator. Death has accepted me as a neutral observer. He knows this will keep everything within the upper ranks of the government. No public free-for-all.”
“And it keeps his bone-white hands clean,” Sky mutters with disgust. “If Alma loses…”
Ewá Nanã nods. “Yes. He is distancing himself from any potential backlash. Inspector, those markings on your face…”
He touches his face, feels the heat of the tattoos rising, beginning to appear. “It…is nothing. And Archon Math? Is he not procuring defense for his nephew?”
She shakes her head. “As far as I know, he is not. But then, he is himself an Archon.”
Sky takes a long breath and feels the heat fade. “So why are you here?” he grinds out. “Why even talk to me? As I’m sure the report states, I arrived on the scene after the event. I’m not a witness.”
“As their commanding officer, you will be able to testify to your sergeants’ characters.” Ewá Nanã takes another drink of tea. “You will also be present when I speak with any of your officers here, such as Sergeant Machado, whom I understand helped escort the Bunnies part of the way to the Curia. And when I speak with the other Bunnies.”
Sky frowns. “You will see that they are harmless. And that Sergeant Alma was acting to protect them from being murdered.”
“Perhaps,” Ewá Nanã says. “Now come. We must proceed to Archon Math’s estate. We are meant to meet your Commander there, and I am to speak with your sergeants.”