"Hey!" I said sharply as the general tugged the bloodied weapon from my flesh. "Ow!"
The reality of Gavsot's apparent betrayal was setting in slowly. I felt my brain working too slowly to come to an important realization. I could sense that what had just taken place was shocking in a significant way, but the gears were turning sluggishly and I hadn't processed what I'd witnessed. Instead, I squinted at him in confusion and whined, "What was that for?"
Gavsot stepped back from me, appearing just as perplexed. "That certainly had a rapid effect," he murmured.
I slumped against the dirt wall to clear my swimming vision. The weakening sensation coursing through my body felt very familiar to me. Even with my cognitive functions in slow motion I realized that Gavsot must have shanked me with a knife that bore human blood. If this unfolded the way it had when Azraal had done the same thing to me, I'd be unconscious within a few seconds.
Satisfied that I was incapacitated, the general approached one of the masked figures. The other immediately and gruffly blocked his path.
"I would like an explanation of what is happening here," said the one who must have been the Leader. He spoke softly, but his voice still carried an unmistakeable air of authority.
"I would like to propose an alliance," Gavsot said.
"An alliance?" the Leader repeated cautiously. "What would you offer to my organization?"
"I will provide the backing of the full might of the Department of Enforcement," he replied with pride.
The Leader gave a slight nod toward his goon, who immediately afforded the general a little more personal space. Spreading his arms wide enough to lift the bottom hem of his cloak out of the dirt, the Leader asked simply: "Why?"
I passed out before the general could answer.