Once Cora and Abi had gone, Theo pulled Jesse aside.

“You felt that, right?”

Jesse thought for a moment and shook his head. He had felt it but wasn’t sure. It made no sense to jump to conclusions, especially if it could scare the girl away.

“She’s marked. I’m telling you, man. If I could feel it, you had to have felt it.” Theo’s voice was low. Myra and Shelly were nearby picking up the cards and cups to head downstairs, and Jesse didn’t want them to overhear.

Not only had Jesse felt she could have been marked, he also sensed the colorful wisps of light that rose off a freshly marked person. Theo was able to sense the mark around Abi only because of his own nature as a Champion. But that didn’t make it her mark.

Abi’s was faint, though, like a thin mist surrounding her. If her body was transitioning, it had either just started or was just finishing.

The odd thing about her had been her age. She was much older than those who typically transitioned. He had never seen or heard of anyone marked that late in life. Different was dangerous where he came from.

Jesse reached into the bucket for a water bottle then busied himself opening it slowly. Myra and Shelly would never admit to it, but they always acted strange around anyone if they found out too soon they were Marked. It had been months since Jesse worked with either girl on the outside, but they couldn’t seem to act normal around a lead. Shelly gave weird stares, obviously trying her hand at sensing the colorful steam, or Myra clung to them too much, being too nice for her own good. It was best neither girl was made aware until he knew for sure.

His job required delicacy. If a Marked wasn’t approached at the right time, it was possible Jesse could lose them. Especially at Abi’s age.

“What do you know about her?” Theo asked. The others had moved downstairs and they no longer had to whisper.

“Not much. Just the little that Cora mentioned. I think we may be on to something, but I wouldn’t bet on it yet. I tried to throw a comm to her and I didn’t feel or see any response.”

“Well, if she’s not an oracle herself…” There was warning in Theo’s voice.

“She’s been near a powerful one,” Jesse finished. And he didn’t like that. No oracle had that strong an aura without having honed their abilities with an elder. Whoever it was, this powerful oracle was either a member of the King’s Army or with the Brotherhood. And there was only one known brethren in Logan’s Bluff. “I think we should keep an eye on her.”

“Agreed.” Theo picked up a few chairs and left Jesse staring up toward the stars.

Uneasiness settled in Jesse’s stomach, one he had learned long ago never to ignore.

He needed to find out whose side this oracle was on and prayed they weren’t already sworn to the King’s Army.


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