"Tithenai!" I blurted. "You're here!"
"Here I am," she confirmed with one of those dry, homely smirks of hers. Then, inevitably, she added, "Once again. I'm torn into pieces. Can't deny it, can't pretend."
As she spoke, the Leader turned around and glared at me. He seemed to be under the impression that a nasty look mostly hidden behind a mask would be enough to make me go away. "You should not be here," he growled.
"Yeah, well, neither should you," I replied with forced flippancy. "I mean, this is clearly some kind of secret lair for your plot to overthrow the king of Hell, which has to be some kind of treason or something under the…um…Articles of, uh…Articles of Damnation."
He was still glaring. His chest was heaving and his clenched fists were trembling. His body language was reminiscent of a cartoon character who was about to turn fire engine red and start blowing steam out of his ears. Behind him, one of his shrouded goons appeared to back him up.
I continued babbling nervously. "You know, article five…section eight…paragraph two…the, uh, anti-mutiny clause? Not ringing any bells?"
I was met with more enraged silence. "That's okay, man," I assured him. "I was just making that stuff up anyway. Listen, I'd better get out of here. I'll just take the psychic and be on my way." I reached out for Tithenai.
"Don't you fucking touch her," he snapped. His speech was quick enough and sharp enough that I instinctively froze when I heard it.
I drew my hand back and grinned up at him. "How fast is your draw?" I asked.
"What?" he barked impatiently.
I was maybe three feet away from Tithenai. The Leader and his henchman were probably two yards past her. If I were to reach out to teleport her away right now, he'd need some fantastic reflexes to stop me in time. I let a moment pass before rocking suddenly forward and swiping for Tithenai's arm.