"The Slayer is a tool. Our sacred duty is to wield that tool. Any one of us may be called upon to control her wayward nature, and so we must prepare. We must give our all. We must work both day and night. Our sacred calling demands no less." Professor Tuffnell's gaze searched the room as if he hadn't already chosen his victim. "Don't you agree, Mr. Giles?"

Rupert felt every eye on him. They all knew. Watchers were worse than old women when it came to gossip. He could almost see what they were all semesters earlier, driven by the outrage of idealistic youth, a young idiot had risen to his feet. "Bloody hell," he'd cried out. "Don't you ever listen to yourself? Even a Watcher needs a night off, now and then. Even a Watcher deserves a life. What else're we doing this for?"

He wanted to rise to his feet once again and with one cutting remark so clearly demonstrate the professor's malice that the cruelty of it could never be in doubt. But they all knew why the professor had called on him. Besides it had cost father, not in money but worse, in personal favors, to get Rupert accepted back into the Council. He'd promised he'd behave.

Wiping any trace of resentment from his face, Rupert answered. "Yes, professor. Absolutely correct."