Artesius frowned as he read over the information that the archives had, not only on Anderson, but also on Dwyn, his family and associates. The bodyguard was the latest in a long line of guardians for the boy’s family. The man’s uncle guarded the boy’s father. It had been this way for centuries. The boy’s father had been involved in shady dealings in his youth but after his education was complete seemed to have a change of heart. Since that time, he’d been involved only in endeavors that were helpful to others. The boy himself was virtually unknown. This didn’t shock the centaur in the slightest. The boy was only twelve, after all and hadn’t had a chance to make much of a mark on the world.

Just for a bit of equity, Artesius also looked into the elf’s past. The daughter of an important family, she’d been cosseted and pampered for most of her youth. Something changed the typical pattern of nobles though and instead of marrying well and settling down to raise a family, she’d enrolled in the Defenders Academy. She’d taken top marks throughout her schooling and had achieved a respectable rank since joining the force.

“What are you doing?” Ari asked peering over his shoulder. “You’re checking up on me.” She scowled at him as she realized this. “Why?”

“Just being equitable,” he explained. “I checked into the boy and his bodyguard, it’s only fair if I do the same for you.”

“You looked into us, did you?” Gwilym said. “Find anything useful?”

“You’re an old soldier from a line of old soldiers and the boy… has lived a rather unremarkable life so far.” Artesius shrugged. He hoped the human wasn’t expecting an apology.

“I have a feeling my life’s about to get more interesting,” Dwyn said. The tension in his voice made all heads turn toward him. He was backed against one of the shelving units staring down a faun who held a weapon on him.

“These humans are my guests,” Artesius said softly.

“Then you can come explain to the council why they’re here,” the faun said softly. He directed his attention to Dwyn as he added, “Come along, child.”

Artesius nodded once, hoping that Dwyn and his bodyguard both remained calm. He stepped away from the computer terminal and joined the faun, intentionally placing himself between the boy and the weapon. “There’s no need for violence. We only came to access the archives,” he said calmly.