Ryold shoulders his way to the wreckage; Wagner, the Squirrel Commander, meets him halfway.  “Do we have her?” Ryold asks.

Wagner stops him.  “She wasn’t there.  Just drones in the Royal Chamber.”

“But-”  Ryold shakes his head.  “No wonder they scattered when the Hive fell.”

Briawn is above him and then beside him, her bird adjusting its feathers.  “Ry.”  She’s breathless  “I’ve been checking the bodies of the wasps.  The carapace markings are wrong.  They’re from all over.  This wasn’t her Swarm.”

Silence descends.  The same thought rips through them all, and he’s running, calling for his bird.

The Nest.


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