“For as long as there has been GPS,” said Arthur, coming down the stairs to stand next to Gabsir, “there has been speculation about the secret.”
He was tall and grand, almost regal. He drooped some now, Branwen saw, from the burdens of age and duties, but still, she could see the strength and pride there, in the set of his broad shoulders and the power in his thick torso. But she saw fear there too, in the dark eyes. And something else—
“Yeah,” said Zara. “The secret. But it’s all just brewing. You know it. We know it. Try our homebrew. You’ll understand. The announcement doesn’t matter. Bring us on. Train us up. We’ll help you brew GPS so amazing, Guru Deep will have to change his mind. The public will force him too. They’ll be too in love with GPS again to let First Call die.”
Arthur stared at her. “What’s so funny, wannabe?”
“The secret,” Branwen said. “Do others always go on and on about a secret?”
“Why?” Arthur asked, his face close to hers. “Do you think you know what it is? Everyone else does.”
Branwen stepped closer. “The secret is that there is no secret. There is only finding the light inside the dark.”
That’s going to do it, Branwen thought. Impress enough that it won’t matter. Make him open the gates and give us a chance. At last.
But instead, Arthur stepped back. Anger clouded his face. “Oh, you think you’re so damn smart, don’t you?” He reached through the bars and pulled the six-pack through. “There is no place for you here. Never was. Never will be.”
Arthur went up the steps and stopped at the doors. “Go away,” he said. “Don’t waste your time here anymore.”
Gabsir scrambled to get back to the brewmaster’s side. Arthur raised his arm. Branwen could see the dark beer slosh inside the bottles. But she also saw a little hint of light, a gleam in the dark—
Arthur swung his arm down. The six-pack shattered on the ground.
Gabsir said nothing, only stared at the brewmaster. Without another word, Arthur went inside the brewery, Gabsir following, and slammed the door behind him. The beer bubbled and foamed as it soaked into the concrete.
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