I couldn't believe Azraal's body language. The cocksure demon who'd gloated over his victory a few minutes earlier had seemingly accepted his defeat and sat pitifully in this hellish jail cell, looking weak and humbled.
"He'll be basically human for the next few hours," Gavsot's soldier said, sensing my curiosity. "He'll have limited strength and no telepathic abilities whatsoever. Every five hours a guard will stab him again with that same potion, effectively rendering him powerless until we choose to release him."
"What's in the potion?" I asked.
The guard began to explain, but General Gavsot interrupted him. "You don't want to know," he said simply. Then he motioned for us to leave the cell. When I stepped into the dark, winding hallway and the cell door closed behind me, I suddenly realized that our crazy little plan had actually been a success.
"General Gavsot," I said authoritatively. "I want to thank you for your assistance. One of the greatest threats to my reign has been captured, and I couldn't have done it without you."
Gavsot gave a stiff, formal bow. "Of course." I thought I detected a slight tone of respect in his curt response.
"If you'd like some more heads to bust," I added, "perhaps you'd like to keep the Department of Transportation in line for a while. You know, make sure they don't try to mount a rescue?"
"With pleasure," he replied, and turned as though he was about to get started on his new assignment immediately. Then he stopped.
"If I might make a suggestion, my Lord," he said hesitantly, speaking with what sounded like my formal title.
It took me a moment to realize he was asking a question. "Uh, yeah, of course," I said. "What's your suggestion?"
"You may want to consider installing a new Director for the now-headless Department of Transportation," General Gavsot said. "One of your supporters."
"Oh," I said. "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Thanks."
Gavsot gave another quick bow and headed off down the corridor. I glanced at Gus. "So should I find a new Director?" I asked.
Gus shrugged. "Gavsot's right," he admitted. "But you kind of have a problem." I raised my eyebrows to prompt him to speak further.
"You don't have any supporters to install as a Director," he said candidly.
I chuckled. "Yeah. Well, I guess I'll have to find one."