“We’ve always gone our own ways, pursued our own interests, but…there has been a balance. A balance that is now upset.” The Azure Man exhaled, wreathing his head in blue smoke. “I’ve long had that balance as my interest, my reason. Hues are powerful, as I’m sure you’ve seen, and there is a greater balance at stake in the world which we are a part of.”

“You like to hear yourselves talk, too,” said Harry. “Don’t forget that.”

“Yes, quite.” The Man tapped a pale finger on his cheek. “You’ve let the Lady in Red draw living blood for the first time in decades, set the Green Couple fighting amongst themselves over your soul contract, turned the Yellow Woman’s madness back upon her, and managed to thoroughly, thoroughly piss off the Purple One, whom I count as my dearest enemy. Have I left anything out?”

“The part where I just want to go in peace and leave you Hues alone,” said Harry. “Maybe see Harriet one last time before they give her the chair.”

“That time has passed,” said the Azure Man. “The Hues of this city are in chaos, and they are demanding–or, rather, they will demand–action. I must give them something, even if it is an illusion or a scapegoat. You will do. Or, perhaps, your friend. Perhaps both. Convince me, one way or another, if you think you can.”

Harry fell into a stubborn, sullen, silence.

“Very well then,” the Azure Man said. “Hobson’s choice it is. You choose nothing, so that is what I will give you.”

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